DSL Tsunami over Europe: 40M Promised Vectored Lines

Vectoring_Map

Europe going DSL, not fiber, except Spain, Scandinavia and perhaps France. When Deutsche Telekom in September 2012 decided to abandon fiber and go with vectored DSL, it inspired the DSL tsunami. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands are now delivering 50-100 megabit speeds to tens of thousands of paying customers. Alcatel, Huawei, Keymile and Adtran have shipped at least 5,000,000 ports capable of vectoring, although the telcos aren't offering the service to most of those homes. 

   Almost no one believed John & George back in 2003 when they predicted 100 megabit DSL to 500 meters and more. By 2010, vendors including Alcatel, Huawei and ECI had lab test; by 2011, Austria and Belgium telcos had some results from the field. By September 2012, the trend was clear, as you can see from the excerpt below of my DSL Tsunami article. 

     Deutsche Telekom promised their regulator they'd be vectoring by the end of 2013. They are almost a year late and still moving slowly, with only 200K homes eligible. They target 3.5M by the ebd of 2014 and 20M more in 2015 & 2016. Anyone want to bet on this?

Read more ...

To Tap a DSL line, use Tracespan

Tracespan interceptWikileaks isn't all secret. Tracespan makes some of the best DSL test gear, so I shouldn't have been surprised to see them on a list of tappers at Wikileaks. Wikileaks' SpyFiles is making news with details of high-powered hacking tools shipped from the West to governments which abuse dissenters such as Egypt, Qatar & UAE. They identified $65M in FinFisher "weaponed malware;" there's plenty of money being made here. Alcatel, Siemens and the other western communications vendors were heavily represented, some leaked.

   I also found in the Wikileaks files the Israeli company Tracespan. The Wikileaks data on Tracespan was interesting but not secret. I found some of the files at http://www.tracespan.com/ipVDSLPhantom.aspx under "lawful intercept." I'm sure Tracespan cooperates with Israeli intelligence, which like the U.S. CIA or French sécurité extérieure is a "by any means necessary" outfit. (Think Iran-contra.) 

   The U.S./Australia Huawei ban may inspired more by the difficulty for U.S. spies than the danger from Chinese ones. 

Dado's $22M, Alcatel's $15M buy Ikanos time to finish chips

Provides time for node scale vectoring, G.fast. I'm very glad I don't have to write an obituary for Ikanos, home of a large team of respected engineers. $22M from Dado Banatao's Tallwood will keep Ikanos afloat, but it's the $15M Alcatel is putting in that points to a bright future.

    Alcatel remains the largest DSL vendor and has long bought from Ikanos, but many of their DSL chips have been coming from Broadcom. With 40M lines of vectored DSL on order in Europe and Australia, Alcatel wanted to make sure they had several suppliers. Ikanos has been developing a vectoring chip aimed at AT&T and other telcos that want to vector 192 ports in large cabinets. 

    Last year, I killed a story about Ikanos although I was confident it was accurate. Unfortunately, the chips they needed were taking longer than hoped. I listened to the CEO on the conference call and ran the numbers. I was convinced they were soon about to run out of money. There was a registration for a new financing but it wasn't clear whether anyone would put the money up. 

    I don't overestimate my influence but realized that if I published the article it might be the final straw for the company. I decided I didn't want to be responsible for putting 100 hardworking people out of work in a company that had earned my respect. This is not standard journalism practice but as owner I make my own choices.

Read more ...

Canada DSL Takes 2% from cable: U.S. 2% the other way

With most of Bell & Telus upgraded, Canadian cable broadband homes almost go negative. Glen Campbell of Merrill Lynch pointed me to CRTC data http://bit.ly/1voSz5q that showed the Canadian telcos beating the cablecos, who lost 1.3% of the market in 2013.  In the U.S., the results were the opposite, with cable picking up a point or two of market share. Telcos are beating cable in Canada, Britain and France. Cable is beating telcos in Germany and the U.S..

    The largest single factor is the % of homes upgraded by the telco. A strong majority have been upgraded in Britain and Canada, but fewer in the U.S. In Germany, cable is competing by offering twice the speed at the same price, easy because DT is only now getting serious about upgrading. Mike Fries and Liberty Global/Unitymedia KabelBW prefer to raise prices than to increase market share, so we'll see how that plays out.

    The U.S. telco figures are skewed by the AT&T/Verizon decision to kill all landlines to the majority of their territory, going wireless only to 20-30% of homes. They are treating those homes like the Romans treated the Sabine women so of course many are fleeing to cable. Where they have FiOS and U-Verse, they are doing fine, but in the other territories AT&T is doing so poorly they lost a net 50,000 lines in Q2.  

Read more ...

AT&T U-Verse slows when watching 2 TVs, trouble at 4K

4K for 699Doesn't always happen. AT&T U-Verse was designed so most customers can get 25 megabits. HD channels use 3-6 megabits each at AT&T, probably closer to three. When streaming 2 HD signals, a 25 megabit line cannot deliver AT&T's promised 16-24 Mbps services and TV. Two and more HD TVs are becoming common in the U.S. as prices plummet. Fry's is selling a 32" HD TV this week for $250.

    Fry's is also selling a 4K, 40" TV for $699. The day U-Verse turns on 4K TV, problems will become fierce.

Read more ...

From Lantiq: Intel deal "is great"

Lantiq"It's great for us," Christoph von Schierstädt of Lantiq tells me. I compared the company at merger with the hopes of a few years ago. http://bit.ly/lantiqbye Christoph is looking forward and writes,

"Honestly, I don't really agree that the Lantiq / Intel story isn't a good one. In fact it's a great proof of everything we did to bring the company back on track  - We made the company faster, lean and nimble. Dan Artusi installed four key principles which we are acting under since then: customers, speed, simplify, participation. He furthermore demanded and successfully installed the 'see a problem, fix it' mentality; means we all care for the success of the company and remove roadblocks faster. 

Read more ...

Germany chooses 100-150 megabit 35b DSL

Bruno wanted G.fast but DT chooses cheaper 35b.  February 2014. CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn startled the broadband world by suggesting they would deploy 500 megabit G.fast. Kabel Deutschland has been winning customers away by offering twice the speed of DT for the same price. BJ knows gigabit cable is close and he wanted to stay in the game. 25M homes were initially promised the upgrade and that's now been raised to ~30M, or 80% of the country.

A year later, his plans were cut back because of DT's financial problems. DT has lost billions on T-Systems, their computer outsourcing division as well as billions on T-Mobile USA. The losses in Greece and Eastern Europe are also high.  Over the last four years, they've paid more in dividends than their net profits. Debt is up by six billion. 

Read more ...

Vultures come out on the Qualcomm-Ikanos deal

Two hours after the announcement, Jim Baaker put out a national press release looking for clients to sue Ikanos, Qualcomm or their insurers. Since the price was reasonable - 50% above the previous share price in a tough market for chips - the suit has little merit. But the companies might enrich the plaintiff's lawyer to avoid the time and expense of a trial.

Read more ...