CES 2016: Why the IoT needs fiber-optic broadband to succeed

There is a misconception that the Internet of Things requires a huge amount of bandwidth to the customer, and this panel continued to propagate that myth. 4K TV and telesurgery are not IoT applications. Most “things” connected to the network are sensors that require a small amount of bandwidth. Even aggregated, only a couple of Mbit/s of bandwidth is required even for video sensors. EBP mentions their SCADA network that consist of several sensors providing periodic small quantities of data in realtime. What is more vital to the IoT is latency and security more than broadband. Many IoT applications like SCADAs need extremely low latency in order to be effective. All applications require a focus on security. Many of the devices connected to the network will be inexpensive consumer devices made by several manufacturers. It is doubtful whether these manufacturers will have the expertise to implement adequate protection and encryption. The recent discovery of the vulnerability in the Ring doorbell is an example.

I can get by with a 56 Kbit/s modem for all of my IoT devices in my home if I exclude the video applications. Current network access technologies are sufficient to meet these needs. What is required for IoT are service classes different from best-effort to support the real time and near-real time applications. The fiber-based network is necessary to support the bandwidth and flexibility required over the long-term to support high bandwidth applications like multiple UHD video streams only my old colleague Kevin Morgan from ADTRAN properly addressed this need.


A panel of fiber broadband experts speaking at CES 2016 in Las Vegas this week said the Internet of Things (IoT) will not only benefit from fiber-optic broadband, it will require it. Continue reading

FCC Narrowly Misses Its Gigabit Deployment Goal

by Karl Bode

Back in 2013, then FCC boss Julius Genachowski issued a “1 Gbps challenge”: basically a pledge to ensure there was at least one gigabit network operating in all fifty states by 2015. As we noted at the time it was kind of a show pony goal; notorious fence-sitter Genachowski was simply setting a goal he knew the industry would probably meet with or without’s government help, so that government could come in at a later date and insist it played an integral role.

Well, 2015 has come and gone, and while there is at least one gigabit network planned for every state, we narrowly missed Genochowski’s goal by most estimates:


We combed through our archives and other online resources and, by our tally, at least one network operator has announced plans to offer gigabit service in every state. Not all of these networks are actually deployed or supporting service yet. But generally network operators don’t announce specific markets more than a year or two in advance of when they expect to deliver service.

Continue reading

High-speed Internet access impacts home sales


Locally and nationally, consumers are opting not to buy homes if they don’t have access to high-speed Internet. 

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the topic, and Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors President Travis Close said that residents in rural areas value high-speed Internet access just as much as people who live in city centers.

But access isn’t always available. There are still unincorporated areas of Hamilton County with limited Internet access.  Continue reading

Washington, D.C., Enjoys Fastest Average Internet Speeds in Nation, Report Says


The Internet is getting faster, according to the latest quarterly State of the Internet report from Akamai Technologies. Global connection speed increased 14 percent year over year, and as the IPv4 addressing space was recently depleted in North America, analysts recommend accelerating IPv6 adoption in the U.S. — now at 18 percent — to keep up the pace with leading adopters like Belgium, a nation that sees 35 percent of its connections occurring over IPv6.

While some areas of the world saw minor declines in broadband adoption, the overall trend still points toward strong growth, said David Belson, senior director of industry and data intelligence at Akamai Technologies and the report’s editor. Continue reading

Real Broadband Competition Would Kill Comcast’s Data Caps

Finally the concept of open-access last mile networks is getting more attention. We could debate the motives behind Comcast’s usage caps, but there is a good chance that they would disappear if there was service-level competition. Even in the wireless market where bandwidth resources are limited, carriers like Sprint still offer an unlimited data package. They do this to compete against Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless; it is a product differentiator. The open-access model does work and more cities should implement a variation that works best for their community. The infrastructure could be city, third-party, or carrier consortium owned or a combination of any of those options. In any case the most expensive part of the network will be a shared resource that will be economically justified because its’ usage will be maximized. Offering open access to all service providers on a non-discriminatory price basis will allow multiple service providers to enter a market to offer differentiated and competitive services.

by Karl Bode

We’ve long made the point that Comcast’s usage caps are just a symptom of the overall lack of competition. The caps, which even Comcast itself has indicated really aren’t financially or technically necessary, are little more than a glorified price hike designed to protect the company’s TV revenues from Internet video. And if customers in Comcast markets had the choice of other ISPs, they’d be able to flee to unlimited offerings. Continue reading

Boulder, Colo., Still Pondering Internet Options

(TNS) — A Boulder City Council operating at less than half-strength pondered Thursday night how the city can best make use of its existing fiber infrastructure to deliver improved Internet service, without assuming too great a financial risk.

There is no debating that fiber is the future of high-speed Internet, and Boulder is sitting on about 100 miles of it. But to get from where it is today to a fiber-to-the-home service that covers the city, Boulder is either going to have to do that itself, a la Longmont, or partner with a private company that would set up the last-mile fiber the city needs, or both. Continue reading