11-02-2016, 08:05 #1
[EN] Google Fiber "replaces" "free" tier with paid optionsFebruary 10, 2016 | By Sean Buckley
Google Fiber is finally providing details about how it will price its 1 Gbps FTTH service in Atlanta, while adding some new elements to its broadband roster.
Similar to Kansas City and Provo, Utah, Google Fiber will continue to offer its standalone 1 Gbps symmetrical broadband service for $70* a month. It will also give eligible consumers the option to purchase bundle of symmetrical gigabit fiber and TV for $130* a month. Finally, the dual tier is priced at $120 a month for many grandfathered users in Kansas City and Austin.
One of the nuances of its Atlanta rollout plan is that Google Fiber has replaced its "free" 5 Mbps offering -- one that required a one-time $300 installation fee -- with a 100 Mbps tier for $50* a month.
(*) $100 waived installation fee with one year commitment
Google Fiber said that Atlanta customers who chose the Basic Internet 100 Mbps plan can upgrade to the Gigabit plan anytime, since the wiring and equipment will already be in place at their premises.
The one detail that's still lacking on Google Fiber's pricing is when it will actually launch the service in Atlanta. Potential customers can access an apartment finder tool and a projected installation map to see if their apartment is on the service provider's installation schedule. In addition, users can put their address into the website to receive updates on when the service will be coming to their neighborhood.
Gigabit broadband competition will heat up this year in Atlanta. Google Fiber is being joined by AT&T and Comcast, which will each deliver their own 1 Gbps services.
In Atlanta, the service provider revealed it is going to complement its own fiber builds by using existing network infrastructure like conduit and utility poles.
"We want to bring Google Fiber to as many residents in Metro Atlanta as possible, which is why we're building a brand new fiber network across nine cities in the area," Google Fiber said. "In addition to the construction that's already underway, we're connecting some apartment buildings in the suburbs of Atlanta using existing infrastructure so we can reach more people with gigabit speeds."
Lembrando que ...
ISPs have discovered that they can reduce the prices they need to charge users if they can sell some information to ad networks. This allows the ISPs to connect the data they’re in a position to harvest with a means of using it to pitch products to consumers, something the ISPs can’t do on their own since they can’t alter the information that goes to your web browser. Google taught this lesson to the ISPs by offering extremely low cost, very high speed Internet service so that they can harvest more information to use in their advertising auctions. AT&T notably followed by matching Google’s price – $70 for a gigabit pipe – on the condition that they can harvest personal information and sell it to advertisers. The same service is available with privacy for $100 a month. Most people choose the $70 plan, of course.
11-02-2016, 08:08 #2
Comcast's 1 Gbps drive could shake up AT&T, Verizon broadband plansFebruary 11, 2016 | By Sean Buckley
Comcast has made its intent clear: it's finally going to bring its DOCSIS 3.1-based gigabit broadband services to five cities this year, a move that directly challenges AT&T and Verizon and their FTTH buildout and pricing strategies.
Following initial launches in Atlanta and Nashville, Comcast will bring the service to Chicago, Detroit and Miami later this year.
Details about pricing and availability are lacking, but a company executive did confirm during a fourth-quarter 2015 earnings call that Comcast will be rolling out the service throughout a large part of its cable footprint.
"Concerning DOCSIS 3.1, as you know, we announced five cities yesterday, and we haven't priced the rollout yet," said Neil Smit, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, during the fourth quarter earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "But we -- the great thing about DOCSIS 3.1, it's a very efficient way to deliver gigabit speeds, and we'll be rolling it out on a widespread basis over the course of the next few years."
There are a few points that make Comcast's DOCSIS 3.1 service interesting.
For one, it's targeting all markets where AT&T is also offering its GigaPower 1 Gbps service. AT&T itself, the very next day after Comcast's announcement, said that it would expand GigaPower in four large metros.
But what's even more compelling from a capital investment point of view is that Comcast can deliver those gigabit speeds over its existing hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) plant. Unlike FTTH, the operator does not have to build out fiber and install facilities at each house or business to deliver service.
Comcast said it will equip customers with the services by having them plug in a new modem with gigabit capabilities once the speed tier is available in a particular area.
Still, Comcast's DOCSIS 3.1 drive isn't without its challenges. In order to get more out of their DOCSIS 3.1 deployments, cable infrastructure vendor Arris told investors during the recent Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference 2016 on Wednesday that cable operators will have to drive fiber deeper into their last mile network, upgrade to 1.2 GHz nodes, and split nodes.
Given the density of Comcast's HFC plant and the growing availability of DOCSIS 3.1 equipment, Comcast will be able to scale the service widely across its footprint at a rapid clip, driving new competition at AT&T's and Google's gigabit broadband programs.
As it moves its gigabit rollout forward, Comcast could use the DOCSIS 3.1 services to battle Verizon in its nine-state Northeast territory. Verizon's FiOS network will be concentrated in the Northeast after it completes the sale of its wireline assets in Florida, California and Texas to Frontier Communications this year.
Verizon has already well penetrated its existing markets with FiOS, and with no plans for new builds, the service provider is giving customers to the option to purchase a 100 Mbps symmetrical FiOS service for $69 a month. Of course, there are a few catches with Verizon's offering: it's only good for one year without a contract and customers have pay a $150 set-up charge as well as paying other related fees, taxes and equipment charges.
Given the demand for higher speeds, Verizon is also making 50 Mbps its FiOS broadband default speed.
These moves are part of Verizon's effort to protect its FTTH broadband base as FiOS growth levels off as it reaches saturation in its existing markets. Evidence of this trend was seen in its fourth quarter 2015 results. While it did add 99,000 new FiOS Internet subscribers, it was far lower than the 145,000 Verizon added in the same period a year ago.
Since the DOCSIS 3.1 gear runs on its coax plant, Comcast could use this rollout as an opportunity to win back customers or attract new ones in Verizon's territory who are outside of the FiOS footprint.
That may be an easy case for Comcast to make, but the pay-TV operator will have to play it right -- especially when it comes to price.
Consider the fact that Comcast's 2 Gbps FTTH Gigabit Pro service comes at a premium rate of $299 a month. Customers who take the service must commit to a two-year contract. They also have have to pay a one-time $1000 fee -- a price that includes $500 for installation and $500 for service activation.
If Comcast is serious about getting a large group of customers to buy their gigabit broadband e-services, the cable MSO will have to offer them at an affordable price.
By pricing them right, Comcast has the opportunity to force the pricing hand of AT&T and Verizon. Already, Google Fiber has been able to do this in markets like Austin, Texas, where AT&T offers GigaPower.
As Comcast reveals pricing and plans for broader DOCSIS-based services, it will be interesting to see how fiber-based broadband providers respond
11-02-2016, 08:09 #3
Dan Rayburn @DanRayburn 9 hours ago
HBO CEO says HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers. The growth of OTT is not what some suggest. These are real numbers, without hype.
11-02-2016, 08:40 #4
HBO Now slow to catch on with 'cord-cutters'Ben Fox Rubin
February 10, 2016
People seem to love HBO's "Game of Thrones" and "Girls." But maybe not that much if they have to pay to watch them.
HBO Now, the premium channel's online-only subscription service, was expected to be a big hit with people who are cutting back on cable subscriptions, but adoption of the new service for now looks to be underwhelming. The channel's CEO mentioned on a call with analysts Wednesday that HBO Now has brought in about 800,000 subscribers so far, well below the lofty predictions for the service.
With Wall Street expectations as high as 2 million subscribers, HBO chief Richard Plepler was forced on the defensive.
"I wouldn't say only 800,000 HBO Now subs," he said on the call, responding an analyst's question about the lower-than-predicted number. "We're just getting started, I think we're going to make a lot of progress as we put new content on and get onto new platforms."
HBO Now launched in April amid expectations that more consumers are dropping or cutting back on their cable packages and instead cobbling together their daily video entertainment with online options like YouTube and Netflix. Hoping to entice these so-called cord-cutters and perhaps tamp down online piracy of its shows, HBO came out with the standalone service for $15 a month, the same price as with a cable subscription. The fact that HBO Now isn't growing as fast as expected could mean that major shift in consumer habits is moving slower than predicted, or perhaps HBO isn't as popular with cord-cutters as many thought.
Still, Plepler may have a point, since the service's roll out took time. HBO Now was available exclusively on Apple devices for its first three months of existence. It came to Google's Chromecast and Amazon Fire devices in August, then reached Roku's streaming devices in October. Plepler said HBO Now still needs to launch on Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox, which he said account for 20 percent of viewing on HBO Go, the channel's streaming service that's only available with a pay-TV subscription.
On top of that, he said HBO still hasn't launched a handful of new shows that should draw in more cord-cutters. Those shows include projects from Jon Stewart and Bill Simmons, as well as a daily news show from Vice. HBO also plans to market HBO Now more aggressively, which should also boost subscriptions.
"I think we've made a lot of progress," Plepler said, later adding, "We see an enormous opportunity ahead."