A Look Back at Aereo’s Interesting Final Year

The Source of My Policy Geekdom…

I wrote a couple times this past year about Aereo. This is mostly because I’m a bit of a telecom policy geek. My telecom policy geekdom all started decades ago, thanks to a class I took while studying for my B.A. in Telecommunications.  Telecommunications Law, I think it was called. The key thing I took away from that class, taught by the exceptional Professor Thomas Muth, was that it was often possible to credibly, honestly argue either side of a policy debate simply by interpreting the Communications Act of 1934 differently. I was working for telcos when that was replaced by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. What makes telecom law so interesting is that it is often up to interpretation, with case history sometimes providing a window into expected FCC and court decisions, but the Telecom Act often allows for changes in policy direction, if desired. And in the case of Aereo, there was even case history supporting opposing potential decisions.

…and How It Led to My Aereo Posts

So that’s what made Aereo so interesting to me; that’s what prompted two posts, first on April 8th and again on April 20th.  This was a situation in which both sides could find support in telecom laws and case histories; the main question was how those laws would be interpreted in this particular case.

The Unraveling of Aereo Since June, and the Beginning of Its Final Dismantling

I wasn’t blogging much, and therefore failed to publish any posts about Aereo, during the time period that Aereo was “deemed illegal” by the Supreme Court in June (as noted in this TechCrunch article) or when it lost its appeal to be consider a cable company in August (see this c|net article). Nor did I post in November when Aereo’s Chet Kanojia penned a final farewell to the company’s customers (which, at least for now, can still be seen on Aereo’s website).

Most recently, the company was in the news a couple weeks ago for a court decision allowing it to auction off its equipment (as detailed in this telecompaper article).

This seems to be the end for Aereo, but for the telecom policy geek in me, at least, it was interesting following the ups and downs of this potentially disruptive telecom business.

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).

Quick Hits (Fiber Edition): Metro Fiber Deployment, Fiber Leasing, FTTH Speeds, FTTH Penetration

Because of my years as an analyst with fiberoptics research firm KMI, I’ve always noticed fiber deployment articles and press releases.  Here are a few recent fiber network articles:

From a CLEC perspective, tw telecom is expanding its metro network in Nashville from  the city center out to the west side of the city.  This is in line with tw telecom’s November 2013 announcement that it had planned to expand its metro networks to 5 new markets and within at least 27 existing markets within a year.

Elsewhere, Shentel (Shenandoah Telecom) is seeing growth in its fiber leasing revenue.

Another carrier announced its intention to provide 1 Gpbs FTTH service, with Cox joining AT&T and Google Fiber in the FTTH speed arms race.

Turning to Europe, telecompaper reports on the growth of FTTH connection in Spain – 85% year-over-year in January to 650,000.  An interesting point in the article is a statistic about total fixed broadband connections (not just FTTH): A vast majority of new broadband connections were added by alternative network operators, with Telefonica and cable operators adding a much smaller number.

And while we’re on the topic of FTTH, though I don’t really have much to say, this is an interesting read I ran across recently that’s probably worth sharing.  It’s a bit of a chat about FTTH in Africa with some of the writer’s personal experience with an eye to history.  At one point, to put FTTH in Africa in context, it references a Google Africa Blog article that notes “only 16% of Africa’s 1 billion people are online.”  Again, this is a rather disconnected paragraph, but it’s interesting, nonetheless, and worth sharing.

That’s what’s drawn my attention the last few days, at least from a fiber perspective.  As always, the purpose of this blog is to share what I read and some thoughts about it with old friends and contacts in the telecom industry, as well as anyone I haven’t met who will find this interesting.  Obviously, today’s post was more news and less opinion.  Hope you’ve found it helpful.