Archive for May, 2015

IPTV predictions PwC

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers’s Entertainment & Media 2012-2016 Outlook report, published in mid 2012, 52% of homes already have a device that would enable IPTV such as a connected TV, games console or set-top-box. It predicts that by 2017, more than a quarter of Australians will have signed up to an online television subscription service. This is roughly the same percentage of people currently subscribed to the FOXTEL pay TV service.

The company expects that ITV will provide an attractive alternative to the more expensive cable- or satellite- delivered subscription TV services, but its success will depend on what content IPTC offers. For example, niche content such as foreign language channels should work well in the IPTV environment. Consumers will come to expect the increased programming choice that IPTV can deliver. As with all media however, an ‘assisted’ experience will still be important.

The report predicts IPTV, other subscription entertainment services and new mobile media apps will drive growth of 18% in Australia’s media and entertainment industry over the next five years.

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Traffic lights and alarm system go M2M over the NBN

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

The Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) has funding to commission research into the migration of traffic lights and public alarms to the NBN fibre network if necessary.

Telstra may notify TUSMA that a technological solution does not exist for the carriage of public interest services (defined as ‘traffic light’ and ‘public alarm’ services) over fibre. If TUSMA is reasonably satisfied that a solution does not exist, TUSMA will either request Telstra or a third party for proposals to develop the solution. Any solution that is funded by TUSMA will be owned by TUSMA (unless agreed otherwise) and made available to all service providers on an equivalent basis.

By mid 2014, TUSMA had not been approached by Telstra to fund research.

A specific issue is that traffic light and alarm communication systems were depowered in a fibre environment. Solutions are being explored to ensure they were acceptable to NBN Co and to agencies providing the public interest services.

An aged healthcare facility in the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, has already migrated its alarm system to the NBN. The alarm functionality is provided over the NBN voice port. Access to the NBN for national utility purposes is possible through what is called the retail clause, allowing for access on a utilities cost basis.

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The content and set-top box monopoly

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Last year we reported on the 2014 TelSoc Charles Todd Oration from the former Chair of the ACCC, Graeme Samuel, when he warned against the looming content monopoly.

I thought about this when I read the news that Foxtel was offering access to its services without the need for a contract. Keen to legally watch the Game of Thrones (GoT) in a few binge sessions I thought ‘brilliant’ – only to find out that it would cost me $195, as I also would have to buy their set-top box.

So it is not just the exclusive content that creates this monopolistic situation; it is also the set-top box.

Going back in time a bit …. in 1996, yes 20 years ago, the then Minister for Communications, Michael Lee, indicated that he would use regulations to make sure that set-top boxes for pay TV would be compatible with each other, so that users only had to use one box to access the various services. However, after lobbying from News Corp, the decision that we ended up with two years later was totally the reverse and entrenched the possibilities for content and set-top box monopolies.

It is ridiculous that we now need a whole collection of set-top boxes in order to receive the various video entertainment services. Obviously people are not going to go along with this and it is easy to predict that those services that don’t require set-top boxes – or at least those that can combine as many as possible services over one box – will succeed. In the short term this will not happen in Australia, as at this stage Foxtel has the best content and will certainly not share it with other platforms such as Fetch (GoT is even not available on their own streaming service).

But all of these are rear-guard battles. Eventually open systems and videostreaming will win out. And the global content players will be the winners in the end, because of the rear-guard battles of the local players they are able to built up their own superior (open) business models and as they grow internationally they will be become more powerful and will be able to bid more for content rights than the significantly smaller national players such as Foxtel, Stan, Quickflix and Fetch. The big international boys will happily let the local ones fight between themselves as they are fully aware of the fact that none of them on their own will be able to compete with the Netflixes of this world. This is a pity for the local players but in the end their demise will be their own fault. Similar to the silly fights that Telstra engaged in when it tried to outmanoeuvre Google with its Sensis, BigPond and Foxtel services all competing internally with each other – and guess who won?

But all of this will take time and in the meantime we are stuck with these scattered content and set-top box monopolies.

This, of course, is also making it very difficult for new national players and innovative new services to enter the market as there is no common and open national platform.

With telco services now so commoditised through VoIP, Skype, WhatsApp and others, the one service customers are now most interested in over their fixed broadband connection is video entertainment, and for any player in this market without access to premium content (premium movies, TV services and local sport) it will be very hard to compete. The ACCC (as well as the FCC in the USA) has indicated it is watching this development and if the industry fails to address this issue internally external intervention will be unavoidable.

Paul Budde

See also:

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Smart streetlights for Queensland

Friday, May 29th, 2015

In response to an increased need for energy-efficient streetlighting products – particularly in relation to improved lighting quality, lower operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions – Energy Efficient Streetlight Trials were conducted in Queensland between 2009 and 2011.

A range of different lamp technologies were tested and the lamp technologies selected were indicative of the products available on the market at the time the trial commenced.

There were two separate trials.

One was in SE Queensland: Brisbane City Council, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Office of Clean Energy, Energex, Gold Coast City Council, Ipswich City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council

The other trial was in regional Queensland: Queensland Government, Ergon Energy Limited, Cairns Regional Council and Mount Isa Regional Council. The collaboration between the various councils involved secured the use of standardised technologies and the combined approach, of course, also provided efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.

In 2015 eleven Ipswich suburbs will be the first to be upgraded under the ‘Ipswich LED Street Lighting Retrofit Project’. Leichhardt, One Mile, Wulkuraka, Sadliers Crossing, Coalfalls, Woodend, North Ipswich, Brassall, West Ipswich, Churchill and Yamanto will be part of the upcoming project and about 2,500 LED street lights are being installed in the identified suburbs.

For cost effective reasons radio and Zigbee technologies were selected for the communication part of the project, WiFi was not a cost effective solution for this project. The use of proprietary technologies remains a problem in the M2M industry as it hampers interoperability. Nevertheless the streetlighting project has been designed in such a way that can facilitate smart water meters, carparking, direct load control, electricity meters, access or whatever needs to be connected within the 4000km road reserve.

Paul Budde

See also:

Australia – Smart Cities, Smart Infrastructure

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Cable & Wireless acquires Columbus International, extends Flow brand beyond Jamaica

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

The relative size and rapid expansion of the Jamaican mobile sector continues to underpin growth in the telecommunications industry. The merger between Digicel and Claro in 2012 strengthened Digicel’s dominance of the sector, and the company has since extended its 3G network across the island and is looking to add LTE. This will considerably improve access to broadband services, and raise the relatively low penetration rate.

In early 2015 Cable & Wireless acquired Columbus Communications, so consolidating its leading market position in the region. The existing Flow brand for pay-TV services in Jamaica has been extended to most of Cable & Wireless’s Caribbean footprint.

A number of regulatory measures have been in train, including the introduction of number portability and a system to monitor quality of service parameters for fixed and mobile telephony as well as internet services.

A new BuddeComm report contains overviews, analyses and statistics of the Jamaican fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets together with information on convergence issues and on the country’s fixed line incumbent and major mobile operators.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Jamaica – Telecoms, IP Networks and Digital Media

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