Some Favorite Telecom Resources

Hello, telecom industry friends, former colleagues and contacts, and other readers.

As you know, it’s been a decade since I was last firmly ensconced in the telecom industry, at least to the extent it doesn’t overlap with the tech/IT industry, but it still represents a majority of my career, and I devour the latest news about it to stay abreast of developments. I don’t, however, blog about it consistently – as this is a side-project labor-of-love for me, I don’t blog about any telecom or tech concept consistently – so while I do hope you subscribe to this blog to allow my thoughts on topics of shared interest to find their way into your inbox, I thought it only fair to share a few of my favorite resources and encourage you to partake of them, too. To keep this short, I’ll start with three. Perhaps I’ll write a few sequels to this post in the future to help spread the wealth.

POTs and PANs

First up is POTs and PANs, the cleverly-named blog from CCG Consulting. With thoughts that seem to flow straight off the top of Doug Dawson’s head, this blog contains a wide range of telecom insights, thoughts on news events, and other well-considered, detailed musings of interest to telecom folks. A lot of them focusing on rural telecom, given Doug’s background. I met Doug early in my telecom career, at my very first job after grad school, and he was already an all-knowing telecom industry guru, a consultant widely revered in the industry with a seeming grasp of every nuance of the rural telecom industry in which I worked at the time.

In any case, POTs and PANs is always a fascinating read, at least if you’re interested in thinking deeply about the issues surrounding the telecom industry. And, of course, I am. Whether he’s writing about what’s happening at the FCC (“FCC to Tackle Rural Call Completion”), consumer trends in the industry (“Prices are Driving Cord Cutting”), wireless developments (“5G Cellular for Home Broadband?”), or more philosophical issues (“Public Networks and Privacy”), Doug’s writing in POTs and PANs is always a good read. It’s always time well-spent.

CommScope Blog

There aren’t a lot of large product vendor blogs that regularly hold my interest, but CommScope‘s blog is a rare exception. The topics span a broad range of tech and telecom, but it’s more than once that I’ve set aside one of CommScope’s articles to read later. (This is an advantage of subscribing to blogs via e-mail – they’re easier to time-shift. I find I return more often to a blog I’ve left in my inbox than to a link I’ve bookmarked.) Some of the definitional posts, for example, have remained set aside in an Outlook folder I return to periodically for years because they allow me to review the basics of topics I commonly encounter, particularly helpful to use as a starting point for discussions with those less familiar, but also useful in reviewing subject I circle back to infrequently. Articles I’ve set aside include “What is PON?” and “What is NFV?” Also helpful has been “Getting to Know Our Fiber Acronyms.” In addition, the CommScope Blog touches upon current trends, from technological trends, as covered in this post about 400 GbE, “The Next Big Thing in Cloud Data Center Networking”, to geographic technology trends, as noted in “How the MEA Can Embrace the Status Quo.”

Indeed, this blog uses many authors to cover a broad range of topics of interest to telecom and technology, from fiberoptics to wireless to satellite, often focused on the technology, serving up both the basics (because telecom is a big industry, and while we’re all experts in one or a few fiefdoms, we all benefit from some exposure to the other areas via articles written simply enough for us to understand) and the more detailed analysis. I subscribe to several vendor blogs, but I frequently notice how many of the posts that hold my interest come from CommScope’s.

Stephen Hardy’s Friday 5

If you know me, you know I don’t like streaming videos. The information is never provided at the pace or level of detail I want. They’re impossible to skim. I always prefer my information in text format, and if a website insists on auto-starting videos, since I surf with the sound off, I only notice if those videos cause the pages to load slowly or periodically freeze, and when that happens I find my information on a different website.

With all that lead-in, surprisingly, I actually enjoy Stephen Hardy’s Friday 5. It probably helps that I know Stephen. For my last couple years at KMI, it was owned by the same parent company as Lightwave. Of course, he’s still with Lightwave, currently serving as its Editorial Director and Associate Publisher.

Then again, that’s not really the point. Personal acquaintance can hardly overcome my disdain for receiving my information via video, but the Friday 5 is quick, to-the-point, and summarizes five stories that are actually interesting from the previous week. And the stories are fiberoptics-focused, which is one of my personal sweet spots within the telecom industry, so there’s that. The videos are about 5 minutes long, meaning there’s an average of a minute devoted to each story.

A recent Friday 5, the one from June 22nd, using the 5‘s countdown format, covered: 5) a cloud infrastructure spending market report, 4) a change in Fiber Broadband Association leadership, 3) Huawei faces national security concerns in Australia, 2) a change in ONF strategy, and 1) a research report predicting a decline in transceiver sales revenue as a result of ZTE issues. And that’s a typical weekly range of issues covered.

I don’t go to the Friday 5 web home, to which I’ve linked above, every week “unprovoked,” as it were. No, one of the Lightwave e-newsletters I receive directs me to it. But I do enjoy it… the once or twice a month I decide I’m in the mood for information via video. Given my predisposition toward text, that’s pretty darn good.

Conclusion

Those are three of my favorite telecom industry news sources. And as I was writing this, I thought of at least three more. Maybe I will provide a second installment later this year. For now, hopefully I’ve helped you find some new, interesting informational resources. I would recommend subscribing to those other sources if you’re a telecom industry geek like me. I’m sure you already receive my blog in your inboxes… don’t you?

Fiber deployments: June and July 2014

While analyzing the fiberoptics industry with KMI more than a decade ago, I became accustomed to following announcements of fiber network expansions.  I can’t seem to break that habit.  Here’s a small sampling of announcements from around the world over the last couple of months:

In Paraguay, TeleGeography reports about wireless carrier Tigo’s planned US$120 million expansion of its fiberoptic backhaul network.  The article notes that Tigo’s network currently spans 5,693 km.

TeleGeography also reports about Algerie Telecom’s plans to add an additional 20,000 km to its existing 57,000 km fiber network by the end of 2015.

Lightwave reports that Allied Fiber has opened up the first segment of the southeast portion of its planned national dark fiber network; the newly available segment is a 360 mile span from Miami to Jacksonville.  I’ll let you read Lightwave’s article for more info, including the fiber count and type of fiber installed.

In undersea cable news, I spotted a couple of recent announcements, as well.

As noted in this Light Reading article, Hibernia has recently begun construction on a 4,600 km Hibernia Express undersea cable connecting North America with the UK.

Meanwhile, per this InterAksyon.com report, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company is the lead investor in the 20,000 km Asia-America Gateway (AAG) undersea cable, connecting Southeast Asia and the Philippines with Hawaii and the U.S. west coast.

FTTH around the world: Some June and Early July Updates

Of course, FTTH news always catches my attention.

Total Telecom quotes FTTH Council Asia Pacific president Bernard Lee’s statement that the FTTH subscriber count in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to reach 100 million in late 2014.

In South Africa, TeleGeography reports that MTN SA has connected it first FTTH subscribers in Monaghan Farm, 30 km north of Johannesburg.  Telkom SA also announced its FTTH plans in suburbs of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town.  And Vumatel, in addition to its potential 2,100-home deployment in the Parkhurst suburb of Johannesburg, has announced plans to roll FTTH out to 200,000 homes across 100 locations in South Africa.

In the U.S., Lightwave reported about the progress of the municipal FTTH network in Loma Linda, California (all businesses and 1,600 houses are on-net, with 800 more home connections expected in the next 3 years) and the upgrade of Blue Valley Tele-Communications’ FTTH network serving 7,500 customers across 17 communities in Kansas.

Elsehwere in the U.S., Ethernut reports that a third neighborhood in Ridgeland, MS has passed C Spire’s 45% preregistration threshold required to qualify for deployment of 1 Gbps FTTH.

Richard Jones’ The Business of NGA/FTTX linked to a great telecompaper article noting that Telefonica’s 100,000 new Movistar customers in April and May bumped its total number of customers in Spain past the 800,000 mark.

And in Réunion, TeleGeography reports that Zeop has lit its FTTH network in Beausejour. Because how often do I get to mention Réunion Island?!

That’s just a sampling of recent FTTH announcements. So much going on in so many places! And yet, since I covered the industry in its early stages, I’m always drawn to industry updates.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the recent news excerpts assembled above.

And just for kicks, I’ll close this post with a “Throwback Thursday” link to a February 2002 CED article called “FTTx: An Unreal Reality Takes Shape,” which cited numbers from my 2001 KMI report on the FTTH industry (and in which I’m quoted).