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Verizon’s 5G Plans Play Role in Deployment of FiOS in Boston

 13 April 2016 | By M8trix Communications

Earlier this week, Verizon announced it would be investing $300 million over the next six years into laying 800 miles of FiOS cable in Boston, six months after company executives said it would not happen. The telecom’s presence in Bean Town will provide fresh competition for Comcast in a major market for fiber-to-the-home.

And the carrier’s ambitious 5G plans are one reason it chose Bean Town.

Verizon chose the East Coast town partly because of its proximity to its headquarters in Basking Ridge, N.J., where the telecom company has already started testing 5G. Back in February, Verizon revealed plans to conduct 5G tests at 28 GHz with Samsung in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. In December, CEO Lowell McAdam said it would begin pilot programs in Boston, New York and San Francisco early this year before starting to deploy 5G commercially later in 2016.

Simultaneously, Verizon is developing and testing 5G in the Boston suburb of Waltham at its innovation center. At the time of launch, McAdam said the 5G network would support speeds 200 times faster than the 5 Mbps principally available on the carrier’s LTE network.

The Boston FiOS deployment will allow Verizon to install antennas on utility poles. This will densify its network through small cells to increase coverage. The fiber will also act as a mainstay for the 5G network in the city, president of Verizon’s wireline network operations, Bob Mudge, recently told the Boston Herald.

It’s not yet certain whether FiOS would be used for backhaul for the 5G network or other purposes.

The nation’s largest carrier has recently been vocal about its 5G plans, promising to become the first U.S. operator to roll out next-generation services as soon as 2017. As a result, they have been experiencing criticism from various sources in the industry, including T-Mobile executive CFO Braxton Carter, who last month said that Verizon’s impatience to deploy 5G is likely because the carrier is experiencing challenges supporting ever-increasing data traffic on its network.

Boston locals have been supportive of the news that their city will soon hit the fiber optic fast lane, updating its copper lines in use now.

Verizon’s plan to string 800 miles of Fios cable will speed up downloads, lower bills and supercharge the city’s thriving tech sector.

“We can finally get to the 21st century,” said Boston University electro-physics Professor Siddharth Ramachandran. “This will push prices down and give people options.”

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AT&T Provides Unlimited Broadband, But at a Fee

13 April 2016 | By M8trix Communications

AT&T will shortly begin to offer unlimited broadband data without any caps. The telecom company is aiming to prevent customers fleeing to cable after being penalized for consuming too much bandwidth.

However, customers will need to spend an extra $30 a month to access the unlimited data plan.  A possible attraction is that a user can add TV service or switch unlimited home Internet data at any time, including in the middle of their billing cycle. Gamers and online video addicts will likely be the target audience who most sign up to the unlimited plan for the extra fee. Real-time gamers need a broadband connection to handle the latency-sensitive nature of those sessions.

Additionally, AT&T is raising the caps for its existing U-verse broadband tiers. It will also provide several warnings for users who go over their limit.

Users who exceed the caps will automatically need to pay for 50 GB of additional data for $10 each. Users who want to avoid the cap will have to pay $30 a month more, however, if you’re a DirecTV or AT&T U-Verse TV customer, AT&T will waive the $30 fee.

AT&T’s argument is clear: data consumption continues to rise as they connect more devices, stream more videos, and take part in other data-driven activities.

AT&T is not alone in implementing some form of metered billing on their broadband users.

Competitor Comcast has expanded its usage cap trials into Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and the Florida Keys. The cable MSO’s customers have to pay a $10 fee for every 50 gigabytes above their limit, as do AT&T’s customers.

Comcast customers participating in its metered trial markets also were given a new option: pay Comcast $30 extra to circumvent the company’s 300 GB cap, and get unlimited broadband.

Elsewhere, CenturyLink is exploring conducting its own trial of metered broadband usage later this year on its FTTH-based and copper products. Smaller providers such as Suddenlink, which is now part of Altice, are also exploring the idea of metered billing. Suddenlink has applied a 550 GB monthly cap on its 1 Gbps/10 Mbps offering.

Meanwhile, Gigamonster which offers unlimited 1 Gbps broadband services in multi-dwelling units, has no plans to implement usage caps, hidden fees or contract terms. The service provider has instead implemented Direct Routing technology, allowing customers to stream video from popular sites like Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, and YouTube. Bill Dodd, CEO of Gigamonster recently said that his company’s goal is to “get rid of everything that everyone hates about doing business with cable and ISPs.”

Level 3 & AT&T’s International Ethernet Expansion Threatens BT, Orange

13 April 2016 | By M8trix Communications

Level 3 and AT&T have intensified as competitive threats in the international Ethernet market to BT and Orange by persistently expanding their service offerings and presence in continents outside of North America, including Europe.

Level 3 has gained market share recently by increasing its fiber footprint in Latin America and Europe. The majority of its fiber — over 70 percent – is still situated in North America, Level 3 has 20 percent of its fiber deployed in Latin America and 10 percent in EMEA.

It newly announced an initiative to take Ethernet service into 27 new European markets where it has already deployed fiber. Level 3 said it intends to expand Ethernet into a further 15 EMEA locations later this year, but did not give a detailed timeline.

In addition to expanding Ethernet coverage in more markets, the service provider is extending its on-demand Ethernet capability in global markets beyond the U.S. allowing MNCs to adjust and provision bandwidth as needed.

Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group, commented, “Level 3 has basically been introducing its on-demand flexible capacity services into their international networks. We have seen it with Colt, Telstra, but other providers are right now evaluating whether they should do it with their domestic markets while others have not seen a need to put it into their global platforms.”

Likewise, Malone commented on AT&T’s growth of strategic services like Ethernet and IP VPN when its closest ILEC competitor Verizon has seen revenues slump.

“AT&T in a way looks like they’re taking advantage of some of the slump that Verizon is in,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group, in an interview with FierceTelecom. “They still have a pretty robust business within this enterprise segment and strategic services are growing in the mid-teens while Verizon are flat or slightly down.”

Malone added that this trend is being drawn-out into AT&T’s international customer base.

“AT&T has done a good job maintaining their customers and they have established good enough partnerships with their customers,” Malone said. “What they’re buying mostly is access lines to IP VPN services so Layer 2 and Layer 3 connections are being made as more than half are access to IP VPN services.”

As well as offering Ethernet access to Layer 2-3 VPNs, AT&T is providing even more connections to cloud services like data centers and Amazon AWS — two crucial services for large MNCs.

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