Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2013

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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SERVICE PROVIDER STRATEGIES Q&A With Benoît Felten: Services for Next-Generation Networks Residential subscribers rarely switch providers for "more speed" or "more channels." To win customers, operators of advanced networks must ofer services those customers can't fnd elsewhere. " What would you do with a gig?" Google asked in 2010, and today, the world is watching the Google Fiber cities to fnd out exactly what consumers will do with a gig. In the meantime Google itself, like most other next-generation network operators, is ofering a stripped-down service bundle – big-pipe broadband plus online storage and a standard TV lineup. Benoît Felten, research director of Paris-based consulting frm Difraction Analysis, has long encouraged network operators to diferentiate on new consumer broadband services, rather than on features such as speed or content. (For a similar analysis applied to the business broadband market, see "Broadband is No Field of Dreams" in the November-December 2012 issue of this magazine, by Michael Curri and Doug Adams of Strategic Networks Group, another Paris-based consulting frm.) Felten distinguishes among core services, collaborative services and carried services. Te frst two categories include services necessary to attract and retain customers; the third category consists of non-key services. Network operators need to ofer all the services their customers consider essential, whether they provide them directly (core services) or develop and market them in conjunction with specialized service providers (collaborative services). Tey should avoid marketing non-key services. Residential Internet access is undisputably a core service for broadband providers. Beyond 72 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | that, each service provider will draw the lines diferently. An application that is essential to consumers in one time or place may not be essential in another time or place. Similarly, though some operators have a core competence in delivering a certain service (such as linear TV), others don't have and may not wish to acquire such a competence. What's important is that each operator determine for itself the services that it must carry and those that it must develop in-house. By using this approach, an operator can collaborate rather than compete with over-the-top service providers. Recently, BroadBand Communities had the opportunity to interview Felten about his most recent report on this subject, "Building the Optimal NGA Service Portfolio." BroadBand Communities : Your new report says, "Tere is no nextgeneration access (NGA) portfolio." Tat's a startling statement. Can you explain what you mean by that? BENOîT FElTEN: I'll admit to having been a little provocative here, but at the same time I think it's important that people stop hoping for a killer app that in and of itself will justify investing in next-generation access. An NGA network is a long-term endeavor that is undertaken for a variety of reasons; new applications (many of which we can't anticipate) is only one of them. Te fact of the matter is that most of the services that | May/June 2013

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