BBWN Bites: Amazon Attracts DT's Clauberg, Airtel's Batra
Happy New Year from BBWN Bites. We kick off 2020 with executive moves, as Amazon Web Services attracts industry heavyweight Axel Clauberg and Amazon successfully woos Bharti Airtel's Sameer Batra, Comcast scores à la carte reprieve in Maine, Cuomo vetoes New York State muni study, German regulators approve the DT/EWE fiber-optic partnership and much more.
Axel Clauberg, one of the best-known SDN and NFV executives in the telecom industry because of his knowledge of next-generation networking technology and willingness to share this expertise, left his role as VP and CTO at T-Systems International, the global services and consulting arm of DT Deutsche Telekom, in favor of a new gig at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He's now Solutions Architects Leader, Germany, at the giant cloud services provider, but told Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre it's premature to discuss what this role actually entails. (See Axel Clauberg Quits DT to Join AWS .)
In related news, Bharti Airtel's CEO for broadband services, Sameer Batra, left the Indian operator and joined Amazon as director of mobile business development, Economic Times of India reported today, citing Batra's LinkedIn profile. Former CEO of Airtel's retail business, Vir Indernath, took over as head of Airtel's broadband unit, ET said.
Late last month, US District Court Judge Nancy Torresen granted a preliminary injunction in favor of Comcast and its allies, blocking the implementation of Maine's anti-bundling, à la carte law. The judge based her ruling on Comcast's First Amendment rights and her finding that the state did not meet its burden of showing the law would "be likely to reduce prices and increase affordable access to cable. The State candidly conceded at oral argument that 'there may well not be enough in the... factual record at this point for us to have met our burden,'" she wrote, noting the high costs Comcast CIO Rick Rioboli said the cableco would incur -- and most likely pass along to Maine subscribers.
Saying it was well-intentioned but impractical and expensive, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently vetoed a bill that would have studied whether and how New York State could deploy municipal broadband in rural areas. The bill (which passed overwhelmingly in Spring 2019) would have created a business model for state-run broadband, despite New York's Broadband for All program, which pays commercial operators to serve rural residents. (See NY's Governor Cuomo Is in a Net Neut State of Mind.)
Germany's Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) recently approved Deutsche Telekom and EWE's plan to partner on the expansion of fiber-optic networks to customers in northwest Germany. These gigabit-capable networks will require "substantial investments," the government agency wrote and the pact between DT and EWE will lead to "significant improvements in the telecommunications markets in the region concerned and also in rural areas," Bundeskartellamt President Andreas Mundt explained in a statement.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) adopted ATSC 3.0, an IP-based digital video broadcast standard developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee. The new standard is designed for everything from 4K UHD video to mobile-delivered video signals.
Nielsen company Gracenote is helping on-demand video streaming service providers, smart-TV makers and cable and satellite operators deliver content navigation, search and discovery features via a global searchable, OTT guide. With the debut of a European edition of its Electronic Program Guide (EPG), Gracenote covers more than 200 catalogs in 13 markets including North America, Latin America, APAC and Europe. The OTT guide uses metadata and other identifiers to find common links between TV shows, seasons and episodes, related TV and movie genres, actors and synopses to present related content and create "next-generation viewer experiences in pay-TV and OTT services," Gracenote said.
Teaming Up on Fiber for Rural Customers
Stefan Dohler of EWE (left) and Dirk Wössner of DT seal the deal with a handshake.
Cable operators must prepare to comply with the Television Viewer Protection Act (HR 5035), which passed the House and Senate as part of a spending bill President Donald Trump is expected to sign. The law -- which applies to standalone and the TV piece of bundled plans -- allows residential subs to cancel service within 24 hours without penalty and requires cablecos to clearly state when any promotional rates end. Under the new law, pay-TV providers can no longer charge for equipment consumers don't use, such as billing for a cableco router even if customers use their own gear.
Helium, named one of Light Reading Mobile Editor Dan Jones's "IoT Startups to Watch" in 2020, earns crypto-currency from monitoring devices such as pet trackers and smart-water meters on its network. Called "the people's network" by company co-founders (Napster pioneer Shawn Fanning, along with Amir Haleem and Sean Carey), Helium is designed as an alternative to cellular IoT and expects to debut in Europe early this year. Although designed for consumer deployment, the involvement of Fanning and partial funding by Google Ventures could make this an interesting proposition for providers. (See Five IoT Startups to Watch in 2020.)
Surfing New Rules About Cable Services
If President Trump signs the Television Viewer Protection Act (HR 5035), as expected, pay-TV providers will face new rules related to routers, services and consumer protection.
(Art source: Image by Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke, Pixabay)
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.
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.