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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72 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MAY/JUNE 2014 TECHNOLOGY Joris Evers, Netfix spokesperson, said that streaming in Ultra HD 4K will require a broadband connection that delivers consistent speeds of 20 Mbps or higher. "We are using HEVC H.265 to encode and deliver the new format. As a result, we can stream at a bitrate around 15 Mbps," he said. "We will continue our eforts to partner with ISPs to deliver the best possible Netfix experience." YouTube is also positioning itself to deliver Ultra 4K HD using Google's new VP9 video format, which can stream 4K HD at half the bandwidth other formats require. In August 2013, Google released Chrome 29.0.1547 with VP9 support. OTT is changing the way content is viewed, especially because of TV Everywhere. In this year's March Madness NCAA playofs, viewership on television dropped 10 percent for the championship game, but live video streams were up 30 percent compared with last year's championship game, reaching 2 million live streams. According to a 2012 OPASTCO study, broadband users now consume 5 to 20 GB per month on average, and heavy users consume 70 to 100 GB per month, with 10 percent of users consuming 90 percent of the bandwidth. Usage has increased eightfold in the last fve years and is predicted to increase threefold again by 2016. With the advent of Ultra 4K HD services, consumers who opt to purchase devices capable of supporting higher-resolution content will pay a premium for the higher bandwidth to keep the customer experience high. Te high price point for Ultra 4K HD TVs will make for a slow adoption rate and therefore a slow impact on current ISP networks. However, as television prices become more afordable, the demand on ISP networks will increase rapidly. What does that mean in terms of predicted network trafc? With Netfix currently accounting for nearly 30 percent of all Internet trafc at peak hours, Cisco predicts that, by 2017, OTT services will account for 85 to 90 percent of all Internet trafc. MEASURING THE FLOOD Now is the time for providers to begin educating their customers about how they are utilizing their broadband service. Begin by capturing statistics related to individual consumer behavior. Help customers understand how much information they consume hourly, both upload and download, and the trend over a 24-hour period. Consumption statistics are especially important in prime time (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.), when IP-connected devices are most active. Providing tools for consumers to view their usage statistics summarized by month, along with drill-down capabilities to view their usage patterns on any given day, is imperative. Consumers may be surprised by what is happening on their networks: Tey may discover unexpected network trafc late in the evening or early morning, which could mean that little Johnny is gaming online instead of sleeping. Tose who have unsecured wireless networks may fnd that their neighbors, or even people parked outside, are enjoying streaming videos on their dime! Consumers who have too many connected devices vying for bandwidth capacity on a limited pipe to the Internet could experience poor quality of service. Tey're likely to assume the problem is with the network provider – not with their usage. When they call to discuss their network challenges, providers who can respond by showing them hourly usage graphs can illustrate their problems and help sell the value of increasing their broadband plans to meet the demands of their connected homes. Summarizing month-to-date usage and displaying it on bills is another way to educate consumers about how they are using broadband services. ISPs considering charging a premium for the heaviest users might frst print usage statistics on bills for three to six months to educate all consumers. Plan a communication strategy to inform consumers about their current month's usage relative to the new plan; this will also ease the minds of the majority of customers, who will not be afected by the new broadband plan structure. Proper planning and execution will drastically reduce the number of customer calls inquiring about the new broadband plans. Providers can also inform customers before they exceed their capacity limits. Capturing and accumulating hourly usage allows providers to send customers notifcations when they reach 60 percent, 70 percent or 100 percent of their plans and inform them that they will begin incurring overage charges. Tis is not about setting limits with overages – it's about providing a better customer experience. It's about notifying customers when they are nearing their plan limits and providing tools for increasing their level of service. Accumulating granular usage data by customer can also be useful to providers. Mining overall network data and displaying the total Internet trafc by hour provides a comprehensive view of the entire network trafc. Drilling deeper to allow segmentation of information to the central ofce or a specifc node – and ultimately to an optical network terminal for monitoring and tracking heavy users – becomes a reality. Granular information may help determine whether a customer has a virus that is causing the heavy bandwidth demand or reveal that a business customer is using the Internet for backup during the peak hours of 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. By suggesting that the customer reschedule the backup process outside peak hours, the provider can begin to fatten Internet demand over the course of the day. Finally, as they accumulate information over 24 to 36 months, providers gain the ability to perform trend analysis for predicting growth in specifc network segments – a great help in planning future capital expenditures. v Mark Momerak is executive product line manager at NISC, an information technology company that develops software and hardware solutions for telecommunications companies and utilities. Contact Mark at 866-999-6472 or learn more about NISC's broadband measured service ofering at BBC_May14.indd 72 5/29/14 9:19 AM

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