Quick Hits: Net Neutrality, Paid Peering, Wi-Fi Hotspots, and a Johannesburg FTTH Deployment

I’ve been a little buried lately and haven’t had time to put a lot of thought into another blog post, but lest you miss out on anything, here are a few interesting reads from the last couple of days:

1) Thanks to Todd Spangler’s Twitter feed, I spotted today’s FCC blog post about Net Neutrality by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

2) Also worth noting is Netflix’s “paid peering” deal with Verizon (along the lines of its deal with Comcast), as per this article on the Time website yesterday.

3) What’s so interesting about that?  Well, perhaps you missed the brouhaha about Netflix VP of Content Delivery Ken Florance’s blog post last week, accusing Comcast of “double dipping by getting both its subscribers and Internet content providers to pay for access to each other,” as quoted in this FierceCable article, which even shows an interesting chart of before-and-after speeds that was included in Florance’s blog post. If you’re curious, here’s the link to the original post in the Netflix blog.

4) Today’s CED article about the CableWiFi Alliance reaching 250,000 hot spots recalls my own post from a couple weeks ago about wi-fi adding value to a landline/cabled brand.  In this case, it added value is the ability to roam.

5) Many of you who know I have a special interest in FTTH – heck, it’s how I made a name for myself, at least among those who knew my work more at KMI than a decade ago.  So you will not be at all surprised that I’m adding this last piece.  Adam Oxford wrote this ZDNet piece about a FTTH pilot in Johannesburg that, per the article, “has laid claim to being the first to offer 100Mbps fibre to the home (FTTH) on the continent.”

That’s an awful lot of links for one blog post, but it’s been more than a week since my last post, so I guess I’m making up for lost time.

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.