Ultra-fast broadband networks: what services and business models can we expect?
IDATE has just published its new report “Services over FTTH/B”. Ultra-fast broadband (UFB) rollouts are making real strides. This report examines the different services being marketed by FTTH/B leaders, user applications and needs, and some of the most innovative solutions like connected TV, 3D video and OTT. It analyses what is at stake in this new stage of market development and the strategies of the players involved, then maps out different possible development scenarios.
“More innovative services will no doubt become increasingly common in the coming years”, comments Virginie Chaillou, senior consultant at IDATE’s Telecom Business Unit. “TV and video services (3D TV, catch-up TV, interactive TV), combined with the various devices in the home (connected television, multimedia players, tablets, smartphones, etc.) and their simultaneous use, are the main things driving the spread of ultra-fast broadband. At the same time, communication services like video calling along with other commercial and personal services like telemedicine and e-training, etc., are also expected to develop.”
Innovative services which ultra-fast broadband networks will enable
There are three main types of service that are currently available on broadband and ultra-fast broadband networks, each one being at different stages of development:
• TV and video services: 3D video and connected devices (connected TVs, tablets, etc.) will generate additional demand for bandwidth;
• person-to-person communication services: developments in how people communicate, combined with the popularity of social networking which is driving increased interaction between Internet users, which could speed up the widespread adoption of video calling;
• commercial services, which include e-government and personal services: in addition to e-training and e-health solutions for consumers, new services for exchanging, managing and storing personal content, i.e. cloud computing, are expected to consume more and more bandwidth, especially for uploads.
To this can be added services that are tied directly to managing subscriptions, traffic and network performance that customers may want to connect to, and which are accessed through their set-top box. These services are either included as an integral part of the subscription or marketed as add-ons, depending the extra features they bring to the table. A fibre connection allows ISPs to market a broader array of services which is naturally more appealing and an easier sell.
Other types of service can also be marketed when targeting business customers but, for the purposes of this report, we will confine ourselves to applications aimed at residential users.
Each category of service encompasses an array of more or less mature applications, and others that are only just emerging or still in the development stage. For the most part, the more veteran services do not require as much bandwidth as those being delivered on FTTH/B networks, since they were already on offer before ultra-fast broadband was deployed. But, as they develop, new services appear to be increasingly demanding of network performance, both in terms of speed and the symmetry of the connection.
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