Friday, May 29, 2009

FTTP raises Xfone's ARPU to USD 175 (from USD 75)

From a recent Xfone press release:
FTTP is a key profitability driver for our Company and we believe there are significant opportunities for our services in select communities. Our ability to provide a voice, video and data "triple play" offering attracts customers who, because they are subscribing to three services rather than one, generate higher monthly revenue per customer. For example, Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), at March 31, 2009 for our non-FTTP U.S. customers approximated $75 per month, while ARPU for residential FTTP customers exceeded $175 per month with business FTTP customers exceeding $300 per month. Furthermore, these customers tend to stay; monthly business and residential FTTP had an attrition rate of approximately just 1% and 1.7%, respectively during the quarter.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

IBM launches stimulus fund for smart infrastructure

In theory, the business case for FTTH (and the like) is improving. Total cost of ownership is being reduced continually, broadband demand and traffic are growing, the cost of waiting is increasing, etc.

Again, in theory that should attract investors. Obviously, the crisis, a lack of regulatory clarity and the enormous amount of legacy assets still work against it.

All in all, it is pleasing to see IBM devote a $5bn fund to 'smart infrastructure investments' worldwide. Some corroboration of theory, at last.

In Europe and Asia-Pacific that could entail things like "Smart Grid, Health Information Technology and Smart Transportation", available to municipalities and businesses (a subtle endorsement of government involvement).

This ties nicely into more related news:
  • In New Zealand, one country among several in the region working toward FTTH, it has been noticed.
  • Optimum Lightpath is launching an Interactive Patient Care service for hospitals. It takes little imagination to see this extended 'to the home', as Orange seems to be thinking.
  • 3-D as a driver of FTTH is gaining momentum. There is talk of standardisation (also for a version sans lunettes) broadcasting is 3-D is starting to happen (Spain, US) and Futuresource is expecting a rapid take-up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

FTTH to stop urbanisation

Nice little clip from the BBC on Japanese FTTH.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

There has been a wide range of news around FTTH over the past few days. It is striking to see on how many fronts FTTH is gaining momentum.

  • DIY trench digging: already 80% of Lyse's customer base. But that's Norway.
  • Emerging markets: fiber coming to Lebanon, India, India again, the Philippines, Iran and Estonia.
  • Infrastructure-based competition: Swiss utilities are banding together and Swisscom is abandoning VDSL in larger cities in favour of FTTH.
  • Munifiber: UTOPIA is picking up steam. Focus is on businesses now and Integra Telecom is added as a business-oriented service provider. Meanwhile, FuzeCore launched a 100/100 Mb/s service at 147 $/mo in the residential market.
  • Business VAS: Eurofiber (a Reggefiber sister company in the Reggeborgh holding) launched a surveillance service with a third-party SP, DIT is beveiligen.
  • Separation: Telstra may be allowed to buy into the NBN (capped at 49%), by first contributing fiber assets in exchange for 20%. One condition would be for the company to be functionally (?) separated.
  • DOCSIS 3.0: Virgin is testing a 200 Mb/s service, but here is why it stands no chance against FTTH.
  • 3-D: Digital Hollywood wants it to come to our homes and indeed one consultancy expects up to 10% of homes to be upgraded by 2012. Meanwhile, the new Pixar film UP opened the Cannes festival.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Verizon to wholesale FiOS internet service

Verizon has closed a wholesale deal with DSL Extreme to resell FiOS internet (not TV or voice), which will be marketed as Fiber Extreme. Fiber Extreme will undercut Verizon's price points. The 50/20 Mb/s service will be sold for 100 $/mo, whereas at Verizon it costs 150 $/mo (or 140 if bundled with voice). It is available in 17 states.

Some remarks:
  • This is a WBA (wholesale broadband access) deal, not unbundling (ODF access, which is not really an option on PON networks anyway), which was killed years ago. Perhaps the new FCC could reverse that. Obviously, Verizon is trying to stop it, as is described here (free registration). Are they making nice with the FCC by doing this deal?
  • A wholesale deal makes Fiber Extreme not just subject to any pricing squeeze from Verizon, it makes the company much more dependent on Verizon for provisioning and innovation. Or so goes conventional wisdom. It is remarkable to see here that the deal comes without portal, email, content and security. Fiber Extreme will be bringing its own value-added services, including Google Apps Premier. And so goes unconventional wisdom: innovation is not only created at the active layer, it can be done at the services layer as well. In fact, new services, that fiber is so desperately in search of, are here today; they are called Web 2.0.
  • Will Verizon learn that wholesaling (and unbundling) will actually help it fight off cable?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What is Cyrte's plan for

Short follow-up to the previous post on the sale of

Why does a firm like Cyrte buy a well-established webstore such as One has to assume that the asset was shopped around. Did Cyrte manage to pay less than the True Value? I see three possibilities:
  1. Cyrte plans to create value by running in a better way. No chance. The Cyrte people may be smart at finance, but they are not in the business of running an online store. I know my Stravinsky, but that doesn't make me a composer.
  2. Cyrte scored a good deal and plots an exit by selling to a greater fool. Could be. The greatest fools can be found at the stock exchange, and the IPO climate seems to be clearing. Vodafone Qatar was successful and Skype is planned for next year.
  3. Interest in was minimal and Cyrte pensils in a sale to a trade buyer. This is the intriguing option. In theory, a party such as Amazon could always afford to pay more than Cyrte because of synergy benefits. One particular party comes to mind: the Media-Saturn-Holding, operating the Media Markt and Saturn stores in Europe and controlled by the Metro Group. The websites connected to these stores are not online stores, but that is changing. After the Summer, both chains plan to operate web stores.