BBWN Bites: 1.35M Video Subs Disconnect From AT&T in Q3
Also today, CityFibre passes 100,000 premises with fiber, US gigabit by the numbers, FCC's new accountability rules, Broadband Forum's quality measure advances, video-binging stats in the Limelight, Apple TV+ says 'Nyet' to dubbing and Canal+ closes door on video-on-demand platform.
AT&T's pay-TV business tanked in Q3, when it lost 1.35 million total video subscribers. That includes 1.16 million DirecTV satellite and U-verse IPTV customers and 195,000 AT&T TV Now subs. By the end of Q3, AT&T had 21.56 million pay-TV customers versus 25.15 million a year ago.
UK altnet CityFibre has passed 100,692 premises with fiber, estimates ThinkBroadband. The wholesaler's in the midst of Phase 1 of its £2.5 billion ($3.22 billion) initiative to deploy 1 Gbit/s FTTH broadband to 5 million UK premises in 37 cities and towns by year-end 2025. Vodafone partnered with CityFibre to sell to end-customers, as CityFibre works to pass at least 1 million premises in 12 cities by the close of 2021.
Today, 23% of Americans can receive gigabit services and 67.1% can get 500 Mbit/s service, according to the latest quarterly report from BroadbandNow. That's a large increase from the second quarter, when only 19.7% of the country had access to 1 Gbit/s and about half could receive 500 Mbit/s speeds, wrote BroadbandNow, which monitors providers' services and pricing.
The Federal Communications Commission on Friday (October 25) "approved performance testing procedures" for operators receiving Connect America Funds for fixed broadband networks in rural regions. These rules are designed to ensure taxpayers get what they're investing and rural Americans receive the fixed-access broadband infrastructure they expect and deserve, commissioners said. To accomplish this, the FCC modified the schedule for the start of testing by "basing it on the deployment obligations specific to each CAF support mechanism," creating a new pre-testing timeframe so carriers can familiarize themselves with testing without losing support for failing to meet these new requirements, and giving providers more flexibility to identify which customers should be tested and choosing the endpoints for testing broadband locations. This does not mean, however, operators should put white boxes in customers' homes, said Commissioner Brendan Carr in a separate statement.
Broadband Forum today announced the release of a paper on its Quality Experience Delivered (Broadband QED) initiative, which seeks qualitative measures operators can use to improve end-user satisfaction with broadband. As gigabit becomes more common, it's imperative the industry does not degenerate to a costly price war, Gavin Young, head of Fixed Access Centre of Excellence at Vodafone, told Broadband World News. Within nine months, Broadband QED has grown from a concept to a highlighted initiative at multiple conferences. Of recent note, Broadband QED was showcased in three demonstrations at Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam earlier this month. (See Vodafone: Use Quality Attenuation to Escape Gig Speed Trap and Broadband Forum Updates Quality of Experience Delivered Initiative.)
Fiber in the UK
CityFibre recently passed the 100,000-premises threshold, according to researcher ThinkBroadband.
Worldwide, people spent an average of six hours, 48 minutes a week watching online video in 2019, with 82% of online video viewers admitting to binge-watching, according to a new State of Online Video report from Limelight Networks. Viewers increased their bingeing, which grew 18% year-over-year to an average of two hours, 40 minutes in 2019, the study found. Americans, however, spent more than three hours on the couch, binge-watching online video. The 2019 study found that seven in 10 consumers subscribe to at least one streaming service (59% last year) and 72% use dedicated streaming devices (67% in 2018), the report said.
Apple TV+ will premier in Russia, but without the language-dubbing Russian audiences are accustomed to, according to a local news report. Instead, the video service will rely on local-language subtitles. Apple will offer the new premium video service as an app free for one year on new Apple devices, or R199 ($3.13) per month. That sits right between two of Russia's top OTT services -- ivi and Okko -- which charge R399 ($6.27) upfront for the app, and then between R99 ($1.56) and ($9.42) monthly, the report said.
French pay-TV operator's Canal+ will shut down Canalplay, its video-on-demand platform on November 26. The provider alerted customers to the change on its website, though the news could not have surprised them: After all, Canal's subscriber base fell to 200,000 from 800,000 in two years. Canal has teamed up with Netflix to offer a dual subscription to customers of its Cine/Series offering.
Streaming Pain Points Vary Depending on Geography
Buffering annoys most countries' subscribers, although French consumers find poor video quality the biggest pet peeve. (Source: "State of Online Video," Limelight Networks)
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.
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Here's where you can find episode links for 'The Divide,' Light Reading's podcast series featuring conversations with broadband providers and policymakers working to close the digital divide.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will present our Cable Next-Gen Europe conference as a free digital symposium on June 21.
Charter has sparked RDOF work in all 24 states where it won bids. The cable op booked about $19 million in RDOF revenues in Q1, and expects to have about $9 million per month come in over the next ten years.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will stage the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference as a free digital event over two half-days in mid-March.
Launch of 2-Gig and 5-Gig FTTP tiers in 70-plus markets puts more pressure on cable ops to enhance their existing DOCSIS 3.1 network or accelerate their upgrade activity centered on the new DOCSIS 4.0 specs.