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SURE! Blog

Broadband – Today, Tomorrow and Beyond…

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22

Mar, 2016

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Let us go back few years back when communications meant phone, fax and paging. Something called an internet has revolutionized the whole world with an electronic version of mail, which supported a little more characters more than telegram. Since then, people have taken internet, now broadband, for granted. So today, the words “broadband revolution” makes people look at me like man from moon. It is something that we have everywhere, from our houses to our offices, from the mall near your house to your regular coffee shop.

However, in addition to its much straight forward understanding, let us delve a little more into understanding the evolving business scenario of Broadband. Internet connectivity has been a silent hero in many other revolutions that are fast changing the world around us. Consider cloud computing, Internet of things and Big Data Analytics, the three most happening things today. Now, imagine them without internet. With critical dependency on connectivity, they are built around high speed connections. So are things like Social media and smart phones. Everyone appreciate the dependencies we have on the social media and smart phone in our daily lives. However, a deeper understanding of the broadband eco-system is required to know what really goes on in the world of internet.

As part of a holistic understanding of the current broadband markets, let’s discuss some survival needs of the broadband itself. With emerging perceptions of internet, the logic around which the monetizing is done is also an evolution. It is tough for operators and other stake holders have get their head around the changing trends which help them monetize their services without pinching their customers’ pockets. In the current scenario, we see a lot of innovation in terms of how services are monetized. Operators are currently charging customers application usage based billing, service based billing, mobile off-loading, etc. For a realistic picture of the current broadband market, there is all the need to understand

With the emergence of various services on internet, the connectivity market is adapting itself to the eco-system. Delivery of internet through Wi-Fi, Mobile Broadband (HSDPA, 3G and LTE) and Fiber together encompasses 90% market and understanding these modes of internet delivery helps in successfully addressing the challenges of 90% of the world internet users. Let us look at each mode of internet delivery and discuss the challenges.

Long Term Evolution – LTE:

Since the launch of the first network, LTE has never looked back. It is packed with everything that a modern mobile broadband is expected of. With speeds starting from 10 Mbps, it is now the most in demand technology and is expected to grow multi fold. The key differentiator for the LTE is that the user can get Wi-Fi speeds with 3G mobility. This introduces business opportunities which are customized for such a network. Today, things like streaming a video in a super-fast train, having a video conference with multiple parties on the go, multiple people accessing high speed internet through the same device, etc., are all possible through LTE networks. With the change in the perceptions, needs and adaptions, the business models are also evolving. Operator needs cutting edge solution stack to support definition of flexible billing for LTE networks, creative service definition, tolerant paying model, flexible product stack which can absorb value added services, customized partner network management, etc.

This is not a survival mechanism but the need of the hour to stay ahead of the competition. With the right partners, operators can unleash the full potential of such networks and customer satisfaction would be a simple by product in the pursuit of perfection.

Wi-Fi:

In the era of an ever changing technology markets, Wi-Fi has held on to its importance for a considerable time now. Contrary to legacy technologies, Wi-Fi is experiencing increased patronage across the world and it is not showing signs of slowing down in the near future. In addition to being a handy technology around the home, it has the potential to connect hundreds of users to internet in a public place using multiple routers in the same network. This is a business model that has been adopted around the world in many public places as this is one value add that improves the customer experience. The scenario of Wi-Fi business is by far the most creative and sophisticated wireless business delivery model. Companies around the world have come up with so many ways of providing internet including free, fully paid, partial paid with cash and rechargeable with purchases, free for certain users, etc. This also needs equally agile support systems like Wi-Fi Billing, AAA, OCS, PCRF, etc., to manage the monetization. These systems are expected to adopt to the business and handle business requirements seamlessly by bringing together multiple systems together.

Fiber:

Fiber has been nothing short of a revolution and a much a needed one to say the least. In today’s world where hosted enterprise applications and cloud solutions are competing with each other while running the world together, high speed broadband connectivity is an absolute necessity for both. With the enterprises increasingly demanding for solutions which consume extensive bandwidth, a simple connectivity just doesn’t do the job. These solutions need dependable, high speed supporting, scalable broadband connectivity and fiber happens to be the only option for these applications. With the increase of these applications, the scale of fiber production sky rocketed and resulted in substantial reduction in price, which in turn opened up the retail markets. Today, every country who is investing on in land infrastructure is adopting Fiber so much so that DSL and cable based technologies are being phased out. However, the retail market is very different from the enterprise market. Operators need to offer flexible and customized plans to make their services relevant to general public and effective management of these plans pays a critical role in how well the infrastructure is monetized and the role of billing, CRM and OSS solutions in this scenario has time and again proved to be critical.

Convergence:

This is an offshoot of decades of accelerated growth. With the emergence of a new technology, the legacy technology cannot be phased out immediately. The gradual phase out of legacy systems should be handled with due diligence which can result in successful migration from one technology. In addition to avoiding any revenue loss due to the migration, there are multiple business challenges that are to be planned for along with a mitigation strategy. This is where the solution provider’s experience in deployments and commitment to quality matters. Bringing together solution for one technology is a straight forward process but imagine a scenario where an operator is currently providing 3G broadband services and is planning to introduce 4G into his portfolio along with offering internet through Wifi hotspots for his customers. This scenario demands a deep understanding of all three technologies along with challenges in interdependencies. And then there is the question of how convergent is the convergence. Most solution provider support business level convergence but to offer a truly seamless experience for the end user, convergence should be built into the solution stacks like AAA , Billing, OCS, PCRF, etc., which interface with the network components.

With services delivered on internet ever growing both in terms of complexity and numbers, the solution stack that supports the operator in his business are increasingly gaining importance. Solutions like Broadband Billing, AAA and OSS stack don’t just integrate your legacy systems with your current business process but also decides how your will fare in the future. If we have learnt anything from the past 2 decades, it is the fact that the technologies will keep evolving and the users will continue to grow and wisdom is in embracing this truth.

By : Ramakrishna Mashetty

Ramakrishna Mashetty is The Chief Marketing officer of SURE! (a Magnaquest product).SURE! is an internationally acclaimed player in comprehensive end-to-end Subscription Business Solutions for PayTV, Broadband and Cloud Computing businesses – through deployment of Metered Billing, CRM, Service Fulfillment, Value-Added Services, and Managed Services.

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