June 10, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

BellSouth's IPTV strategy may pay off

CHICAGO--A decade-old bet on fiber-optic cables could end up paying big dividends for BellSouth.

While other local telephone carriers waited until regulatory issues were ironed out before deploying fiber into homes, BellSouth plowed ahead and deployed more than 5.2 million miles of fiber. It was considered a big risk at the time, because regulators could have forced the company to share the network it was building.

Now that risky deployment is paying off. Today, BellSouth serves more than 1 million homes with fiber technology, which can carry far larger volumes of data than traditional copper lines, and expects to increase the number of customers it can reach with fiber by another 10 percent this year.

"The fact that they've been deploying fiber for several years could make them winners."
--Qaisar Hasan, analyst, Buckingham Research

That means that BellSouth, as it and all the other Bells fight for consumer dollars with an ever-growing list of competitors, is nearly ready to deliver data-intensive services such as Internet Protocol Television, or IPTV, to consumers. And with local customers dropping phone service for cellular phones and Voice over IP, or VoIP, the ability to deliver IPTV into the home could be a key to survival in years to come.

"BellSouth is in a very good position," said Qaisar Hasan, an analyst with Buckingham Research. "The fact that they've been deploying fiber for several years--and their choice of technology--could make them winners."

As the Supercomm telecommunications trade show wrapped up here at the giant McCormick Place convention center, it was clear that IPTV was getting plenty of attention from phone company executives. Many consider getting into the TV business a logical way to fight back against cable TV carriers invading their local-phone-service turf. But it won't be an easy transition, as BellSouth's success and challenges reflect.

The local carrier's future in IPTV hinges on two major factors: Its technology and the regulatory environment.

The local carrier's future in IPTV hinges on two major factors: Its technology and the regulatory environment.

For that elusive final connection into the home, BellSouth has committed to using Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line and similar ADSL2+ technologies, which will allow the carrier to offer about 12mbps of capacity on a single copper strand. Using a technique called bonding, which uses two copper strands instead of one, BellSouth says it can boost capacity to up to 24mbps. It is also considering working with very-high-bit-rate DSL (VDSL), which can deliver data as fast as 100mbps.

"The magic number for broadband bandwidth is

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Bellsouth
Now I understand why Bellsouth services are so despicable. Instead of ironing out their current problems, this company spends their resources in strategizing ways to enter in new markets. Meanwhile, their current customers suffer with lack of knowledgeable and speedy customer services to handle the innumerous and regular outages of Bellsouth services, billing discrepancies, special offers with the intent to trap customers into tricky contracts and the list is long. It seems to me that Bellsouths executives would profit more if they spent their expensive time in strategizing ways to fix their current problems and repair their disgraceful reputation as a service provider, instead of inventing new ways to delude consumers into using their despicable services. The level of consumer dissatisfaction with Bellsouth services is way too high for anyone to consider venturing in this companys new ideas of services. Bellsouth has a shameful credibility in Florida and I personally would never use them no matter how appealing.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
BellSouth comment from Christina B.
I absolutely agree with Christina B. regarding to BellSouth services and Customer Service Reps. Their policy is unfair, if not illegal to the residents of Florida.

I have been charged almost $2,000 in calls not made from my phone number, so I've disputed the charges and asked BellSouth to try identify from where the phone calls were made.

No acknowlegment or contact was made regarding my claims and BellSouth is still sending me the same letter over and over, asking me if I have to dispute the charges it should have to be made in a thirty day period, which it was.

I always respond their letter disputing the charges. They simply ignore me. I even told them if I would receive a proof that the charges belong to me, I would pay it. No response except for the same standard letter.

You need competion BellSouth, so you can start to care about your current customers and fight for their business. Gina C.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
Bellsouth
Now I understand why Bellsouth services are so despicable. Instead of ironing out their current problems, this company spends their resources in strategizing ways to enter in new markets. Meanwhile, their current customers suffer with lack of knowledgeable and speedy customer services to handle the innumerous and regular outages of Bellsouth services, billing discrepancies, special offers with the intent to trap customers into tricky contracts and the list is long. It seems to me that Bellsouths executives would profit more if they spent their expensive time in strategizing ways to fix their current problems and repair their disgraceful reputation as a service provider, instead of inventing new ways to delude consumers into using their despicable services. The level of consumer dissatisfaction with Bellsouth services is way too high for anyone to consider venturing in this companys new ideas of services. Bellsouth has a shameful credibility in Florida and I personally would never use them no matter how appealing.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
BellSouth comment from Christina B.
I absolutely agree with Christina B. regarding to BellSouth services and Customer Service Reps. Their policy is unfair, if not illegal to the residents of Florida.

I have been charged almost $2,000 in calls not made from my phone number, so I've disputed the charges and asked BellSouth to try identify from where the phone calls were made.

No acknowlegment or contact was made regarding my claims and BellSouth is still sending me the same letter over and over, asking me if I have to dispute the charges it should have to be made in a thirty day period, which it was.

I always respond their letter disputing the charges. They simply ignore me. I even told them if I would receive a proof that the charges belong to me, I would pay it. No response except for the same standard letter.

You need competion BellSouth, so you can start to care about your current customers and fight for their business. Gina C.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
Fiber to the Node will not float
BS did not take a risk when they elected to deploy fiber. What they did was simple and logical at the time. They already had copper to their homes and all they needed to do was extend fiber to the neighborhood and terminate on a DSLAM and tap into existing copper.This was a low cost alternative to what was really risky in Fiber to the Premise.
The risk they took and which will bite them big time in the next few years is :
1.betting that they can deliver 100Mbps plus over copper. The real world 30-40 Mbps max they will realize will not be enough to compete with Fiber to the Premise and future WiMAX based products.
2.Even more important that that and apparently under the analysts radar is the high OPEX cost of supporting Node based Electronics vs a PON infrastructure deployed in FTT Premise.

Watch what they end up doing in Greenfield deployments. I will bet they will end up going with FTTPremise either directly with Ethernet or with a PON (GPON) system.

OPEX folks is where it is at if these boys want to compete with the MSO who have minimal OPEX to deliver their Voice and VOD services.

Let's get soem analysts to really look into this and report back some real facts.
What si the cost of OPEX ona FTTNode vs FTTPremise over a 7 year period.

Jacomo
Jacomo
Posted by jacomo (115 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You sound pretty knowledgeable, but...
If and WHEN they need to convert to FTTP, it will be magnitudes cheaper than it is now. They will have other carriers, namely Verizon, to thank for that.

I think that they will go with a WIMAX solution before they dig for FTTP. It will be alot cheaper and easier to maintain and support.
Posted by (61 comments )
Link Flag
Fiber to the Node will not float
BS did not take a risk when they elected to deploy fiber. What they did was simple and logical at the time. They already had copper to their homes and all they needed to do was extend fiber to the neighborhood and terminate on a DSLAM and tap into existing copper.This was a low cost alternative to what was really risky in Fiber to the Premise.
The risk they took and which will bite them big time in the next few years is :
1.betting that they can deliver 100Mbps plus over copper. The real world 30-40 Mbps max they will realize will not be enough to compete with Fiber to the Premise and future WiMAX based products.
2.Even more important that that and apparently under the analysts radar is the high OPEX cost of supporting Node based Electronics vs a PON infrastructure deployed in FTT Premise.

Watch what they end up doing in Greenfield deployments. I will bet they will end up going with FTTPremise either directly with Ethernet or with a PON (GPON) system.

OPEX folks is where it is at if these boys want to compete with the MSO who have minimal OPEX to deliver their Voice and VOD services.

Let's get soem analysts to really look into this and report back some real facts.
What si the cost of OPEX ona FTTNode vs FTTPremise over a 7 year period.

Jacomo
Jacomo
Posted by jacomo (115 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You sound pretty knowledgeable, but...
If and WHEN they need to convert to FTTP, it will be magnitudes cheaper than it is now. They will have other carriers, namely Verizon, to thank for that.

I think that they will go with a WIMAX solution before they dig for FTTP. It will be alot cheaper and easier to maintain and support.
Posted by (61 comments )
Link Flag
 

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