Wi-Fi Hotspots as a Value Add/Customer Retention Strategy

When I was working in rural telecom a decade ago, I used to tell anyone whose ear I could reach that I thought wi-fi hotspots would be a great way to get people to value our local Internet service as they moved around town. I was concerned that the costs might be prohibitive in relation to the measurable benefits — particularly where competition was still sparse — but I figured it was a strategy that would prove useful at some point in the future. A family-driven relocation forced me to leave that company before that strategy’s time came, and I never did find out if my “earworm” dug its way into anyone’s brain there to resurface when the rural markets began to mature, but I was just reminded of my old strategic thinking by an RCR Wireless news item about Comcast hitting 1 million hotspots.

Tech-savvy consumers may be able to fearlessly navigate external wi-fi networks, but what percentage of the customer base simply wants its service provider-given e-mail to work, no matter where they are? And what would they pay for that, either as a rate premium or in the form of reduced churn?

Just my thought for the day; as always, sparked by an item in the news.

Cablevision’s Cloud-Based Multi-Room DVR… and How That Reminded Me About Aereo

It has been a while since I’ve followed the DVR specifics in the cable industry, but this Fierce Cable article about Cablevision’s new DVR product caught my eye.

Cablevision has been pushing remote-storage DVRs for years — I recall the discussion of its legality during my time following the cable industry while I was at NPRG (2005-2007).  And I couldn’t tell from today’s article which functionality in Cablevision’s DVR was new.  So I did a little more research and found the answer, I think, in a Multichannel News article — the ability to record 15 shows at once (up from Cablevision’s previous 10 shows and more than Verizon’s 12 shows).

But that’s not where my Googling stopped, as this reminded me of recent articles about Aereo, which relies on a 2008 ruling (and subsequent rulings as the case has advanced through the courts) as the basis of its claim of legality for its “remote antenna” and “remote DVR” service (as it’s described in the “So what actually happens when I use Aereo?” section of Aereo’s FAQ page).  And that reminded me of an article I had seen discussing how Cablevision seemed to simultaneously oppose both Aereo and the case against Aereo; of course, that’s an oversimplification of Cablevision’s position, which is why I included the link.  Whatever comes next, it will be worth following.  If you have been following this closely, then you’re probably yawning already, as you realize this paragraph is just a quick-hit highlight reel, but if you don’t already know about this and find your interest piqued, please use this as a springboard to do some of your own research in greater detail (and feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section).

And to think this all stemmed from a simple article about a Cablevision DVR product upgrade.

U.S. Fiber Penetration Reaches 39.3 Percent of Buildings (per Fierce Telecom article, citing VSG report)

U.S. Fiber Penetration Reaches 39.3 Percent of Buildings

Looking for some interesting content to kick the blog off — something to help me get my feet wet in the blogosphere.  For my old friends and colleagues in the fiberoptics and telecom carrier industries, this is an interesting data point.  (Click the title to see a link to the Fierce Telecom article about the VSG report.)

Indeed, fiber penetration is improving in the U.S., but building connectivity is still below half, according to this report.

Interesting quote in the article is about the movement of carriers to connect small and medium-sized buildings in greater numbers:

“The majority of new fiber deployments were focused on connecting medium and smaller buildings in the metro areas surrounding major cities across the U.S.,” said Rosemary Cochran, principal at Vertical Systems Group.

Beyond that, just a short quick-hit article.  As I get more comfortable with this blogging software, I’ll be sure to post any time I see something interesting (rather than looking for something to post, as I did tonight).

Thanks for reading.

Introduction to My Telecom (and Technology) Industry Blog

Hello, telecom and technology industry friends, colleagues, and contacts.  (And hello to readers I’ve never met, as well.)

As many of you know, my telecom and technology career has spanned more than 20 years, as an internal cost/economic/financial analyst and manager, external industry expert consultant, report-writing, trend-seeing industry analyst, and other related analytical guru-esque capacities .  I’ve spent 15-plus of those years working in telecom and several years primarily following the IT industry, with some global finance thrown in for good measure.  I have written reports outlining the fiber-to-the-home industry when it was still very young, detailing developing competitive local exchange carrier and fixed wireless (microwave and millimeter wave) markets, covered the cable triple-play industry at a key phase in its development, written about utility-based telecom technologies, to name a few industries.  I spent more than eight years working within the independent, mostly rural telco industry, where I was involved in the early stages of competitive tariff-writing and, later, metro Ethernet network deployments (among many, many products).

The purpose of this blog is to offer my thoughts about the telecom industry segments I’ve followed through the years and to ask my many great industry friends and contacts (and new contacts) for their thoughts.  Please keep discussions constructive; this blog isn’t the place for arguments, but an exchange of insights and ideas is encouraged.

I do still subscribe to and follow industry developments, so I hope you will find the items I share valuable.  I expect to mostly share links with short notes; I don’t expect to write volumes.  But we’ll see how this develops.

I’m glad to finally get this started.  Occasionally, in the industries I’ve followed through the years, I’ve read articles I’ve wanted to share and comment on and/or ask about; it will be nice to have this forum.

For old friends and contacts and new readers who want to see more about my telecom career, you can read more here: http://www.geoffwilbur.com/telecom.

So, let’s get started…