Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2014

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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MAY/JUNE 2014 | www.broadbandcommunities.com | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 51 that AT&T turned up GigaPower service in December 2013 – though it actually launched with 300 Mbps, the maximum speed its available customer- premises equipment supports. AT&T will upgrade speeds to gigabit levels later in 2014, with no action required by customers. GigaPower launched frst in areas that were already wired with fber to the home, but AT&T is now overbuilding some of its fber-to- the-node neighborhoods with FTTH, using GPON technology. "Sales are going great," Hull said. "Te initial feedback is very positive." GigaPower customers can choose between $70 per month and $100 per month Internet service plans. Te higher-priced plan buys more privacy; customers with the lower-priced plan agree to let AT&T monitor their Web activities and present them with targeted advertisements. Te company is testing customers' ability to opt in or out of the monitoring on the online sales site. Tough AT&T marketing focuses on such easy-to-understand metrics as the speed of downloading songs and movies, Hull believes home telepresence and other work-from-home applications will prove to be critically important. Later this year, AT&T will open a Center for Innovation in Austin, where it will work with technology companies, gamers, flmmakers, telecommuters and others to develop applications that will take advantage of gigabit speeds, Hull said. In addition, the company is experimenting with solutions for delivering gigabit speeds to multiple-dwelling-unit (MDU) properties that do not have fber cabling to each unit. To decide where to expand GigaPower, AT&T operates an online portal through which customers can register their demand. Population density, fast permitting times and reduced franchise fees also factor into these decisions. GRANDE COMMUNICATIONS A Texas-based CLEC, Grande Communications serves about 150,000 customers – one-third of them in multiple dwelling units. It uses a variety of technologies, most involving fber-rich or fber-to-the-home networks. After the company rolled out 110 Mbps service using DOCSIS 3.0, "We felt pretty good about ourselves – until last year," said Matt Murphy, Grande's president. Seeing the demand for gigabit service in Austin, Grande upgraded its West Austin network from BPON (an early fber-to-the-home technology) to GPON and began selling 1 Gbps symmetrical service early in 2014. "We've had a fantastic response," Murphy said. "Te speeds are unbelievable, there's no latency and we're not stressing the network yet. Tere hasn't been much change in usage. Wireless devices aren't up to gigabit speeds yet; people are asking for wiring upgrades for their homes." Grande ofers its gigabit service for $65 with no contracts, bandwidth caps or privacy impairments. One of its goals was to gauge customer demand for high speeds. Its 110 Mbps service never achieved a take rate above 5 percent because, Murphy said, it was priced too high. Take rates for the low-priced gigabit service, by contrast, passed 5 percent within two months. "It was important for us as a provider to roll this out as soon as possible," Murphy said. "Video service is on the decline because of content prices and bundling. … Pricing is getting worse and worse, leading people to get their video from other sources, which ofer better prices and à la carte programming. We partnered with TiVO for a programming guide, and now we bring online content to the TV and other screens. We just don't have that much interest in being a video provider anymore, so we need to replace that with other revenue sources. … We're changing how we think about what products we want to sell." Murphy added that the top diferentiator for a provider is superior customer service. Murphy said Grande intends to Deborah Acosta, Chief Innovation Ofcer, San Leandro, Calif.: The frst phase of the community fber network Lit San Leandro was fnanced by a local business owner. Now the U.S. Economic Development Administration is funding the second phase of the network, which will connect 120 businesses. A 500,000-square-foot technology campus was recently approved by the city. We transformed an old Dodge plant to a 3D advanced manufacturing plant with 10 new companies. San Leandro is attracting the maker community and working with US Ignite. Our goal is to build a technology and innovation ecosystem. Entrepreneurs, artists and schools all need to learn how to use the network. San Leandro has more development now than it's had in decades! Matt Murphy, Grande Communications BBC_May14.indd 51 5/29/14 9:17 AM

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