The 2018 IAMU Broadband Conference is March 21 & 22, 2018 at the Holiday Inn & Suites on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines, the same venue as the past two years. Sometime next week, the registration links will be available on the Events page at www.iamu.org, so we'd encourage you to start planning for two days of networking and education!
The City of Pella is joining the chorus of communities who, frustrated by gaps in current broadband service, are looking at a possible local solution.
On November 22nd, Pella issued an RFP for a telecommunications utility feasibility study.
The City of Pella is seeking proposals for a feasibility study for a municipal telecommunications utility.
CLICK HERE to view the RFP on the City of Pella website.
Pella is just the latest Iowa community to take a serious look at municipal broadband. New Hampton and Charles City are just completing feasibility studies. Decorah's feasibility study was completed in August. The City of Belmond is conducting a community broadband study to explore interest in a municipal network before taking the issue to the voters.
It probably will not come as a shock to most people in the industry, but Wall Street insiders are gloomy about the chances of Windstream and Frontier from staying out of bankruptcy.
According to this story Telecompetitor, the outlook is not good for the two companies, both of whom have a significant footprint in Iowa.
“The market anticipates that both these companies will go bankrupt in the not-too-distant future, judging by their sagging bond prices and nosebleed credit default swap prices,” said the researchers.
The report also questions CenturyLink's financial health, but says CenturyLink "has better prospects as a result of its recent acquisition of Level 3."
The percentage of households that subscribe to a linear pay-TV service, such as cable TV or satellite, has been slowly but steadily dropping over the past few years as more and more OTT options become available to consumers. The question for many operators has been how fast that market will continue to erode and when would it make sense to exit the business.
Market research firm The Diffusion Group has quantified the expected shift in a new report.
Consequently, legacy pay-TV penetration will fall from 81% of US households in 2017 to 60% in 2030, down 26%. At the same time, virtual pay-TV penetration will grow from roughly 4% of US households to 14%, up 350% but from a very small base.
The decline is not unexpected, but perhaps less than some might think. Indeed, operators who have anticipated dropping a video product from their broadband portfolio may want to reconsider whether doing so is prudent when 60% of consumers will still subscribe in 13 years.
The actual report from The Diffusion Group is available for purchase online, or you can read a summary of the findings on the PR Newswire.
Here at Broadband Bytes, we've often talked about the various OTT "cable replacement" products that are out there. Well, here's another article comparing the options from the website Tech Crunch.
As someone who has tried all of these services (and others), I can tell you that which is "better" is always going to be a matter of personal preference. None of these services are perfect; they all have shortcomings, missing channels, etc. But cord cutters continue to enjoy more and more choices as they look for an alternative to traditional cable TV or satellite services.
The Iowa Heartland Chapter of the SCTE has a great training scheduled in November, and we'd encourage municipals and other broadband providers to send their technical staffs to learn more about "All Things Fiber".
The training will be held on Tuesday, November 7th at IAMU in Ankeny and Wednesday, November 8th at Kirkwood Community College in Hiawatha. On each day there will be a morning session and an afternoon session; attendees need only attend ONE session at ONE location.
To make it even more convenient, two Iowa municipals - Cedar Falls Utilities and Muscatine Power & Water - are hosting remote sessions on Tuesday, November 7th. Both the AM and PM sessions that day will be "broadcast" live from Ankeny and shown at CFU and MPW via webinar.
Morning sessions at each site (live or remote) are from 8:30am to 11:30pm and afternoon sessions are from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.
The training will be led by Ron Grigsby with RDG Telecom. Here's the scheduled agenda:
The cost is just $10 for SCTE members and $15 for non-members. Even better, the Iowa chapter can directly bill your organization for the attendees you send so no credit cards are required.
To register, CLICK HERE or go to http://www.iowaheartlandscte.org/events--training.html for all the details. Managers, you can click the link multiple times if you'd like to register multiple employees. We'd love to see a great turnout for this, our final training session of the year!
The American Cable Association (ACA) is urging small cable operators to do whatever they can to help stop the merger between Sinclair and Tribune Media. Below is a message to ACA members from Matt Polka:
To our ACA Members:
ACA is encouraging its members to air an important PSA to stop the dangerous Sinclair-Tribune Merger – something that could adversely affect all of us. The Coalition to Save Local Media, the group that came together to fight the Sinclair-Tribune merger, is launching a new national advertising campaign to highlight how the merger would hurt consumers. The Coalition, which includes ACA as a member, is asking members to consider airing the new ad as a PSA in the next several weeks. This ad is already being aired by several NTCA members and two independent networks.
Iowa is a particularly egregious example of the harm that could be caused by Sinclair’s merger of Tribune. If the merger is approved, Sinclair-Tribune will own or operate 14 stations across nine Iowa media markets, including more than one station in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, and Omaha. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is the Chair of the Judiciary Committee that could hold a hearing on the merger. And that’s why it’s important for not only Sen. Grassley, but also all Members of Congress to see the harm to consumers that will result from this merger.
In general, the larger the broadcaster, the more market power it has to charge consumers excessive fees because of the ultimate leverage a broadcaster retains to black out its programming. If the Sinclair-Tribune merger goes through, the combined company would create the single largest operator of local broadcast stations in the country, owning or operating 230 stations and reaching 72 percent of American households. In many markets, Sinclair will own more than one station or own or operate a station for the first time in that market.
As shown below, Sinclair already charges the highest local TV fees in the nation. Sinclair increased its average monthly per-subscriber fees 43.8% in just one year alone. If the merger is approved, it will have even more unprecedented power to impose even higher ransom-like, anticompetitive costs.
The new Coalition to Save Local Media ads will educate viewers about what the Sinclair-Tribune merger means. It is important to educate consumers across the country, even where Sinclair will not acquire a new Tribune station or does not have a station in the market.
You can watch the Coalition ad, “Coming Soon” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTaah63L_7w&feature=youtu.be
If you are interested in airing the ad on your system, please contact Rob Shema of ACA at email@example.com for a broadcast quality version.
Thank you very much for your consideration! I truly appreciate it.
Yours most sincerely,
Tom Gaffigan, currently the General Manager at Maquoketa Municipal Electric Utility, has been hired as the new GM at Indianola Municipal Utilities (IMU).
Gaffigan, who also led Harlan Municipal Utilities for several years as CEO, will begin his new duties on October 23rd. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Maquoketa. We have a tremendous and dedicated team and I will miss them all,” says Gaffigan. “I’m looking forward to being part of the Indianola Municipal Utility team and the Indianola community. With the construction of a new fiber-to-the-home network and launch of the new utility, it will be a challenging yet exciting time.”
Gaffigan will arrive at IMU just weeks after construction began on an extension of the utilities' fiber-to-the-home network that will provide complete coverage of the community by the end of 2018. Previous IMU GM Rob Stangel left in May to pursue a new career in the private sector.
IAMU Executive Director Troy DeJoode led the job search efforts on behalf of the IMU Board of Trustees.
Science fiction writers have always had an amazing ability to invent new technologies that don't exist in order to advance the plot.
For example, space travel would be a long boring arduous thing for the reader or viewer to enjoy if it weren't for the fictional invention of faster-than-light-travel. Star Trek called it the "Warp Drive". Other fictional future universes have referred to it as hyperspace or some variation. Regardless of nomenclature, it solved a big problem for the creators of these future universes.
Similarly the "transporter" allowed crew members to "beam down" to a planet without a boring shuttle trip solved another plot challenge. But one that's always fascinated me as someone involved in communications for a long time is subspace radio.
Subspace radio solved a huge plot problem in the Star Trek universe: how to allow the crew of the Enterprise to communicate with Starfleet when they are hundreds or thousands of light-years away? Just like writers invented the warp drive to explain how a spacecraft could move from point A to point B faster than light, they invented subspace communications as a technology to allow them to send messages faster than the speed of light.
All this leads me to what I think is an interesting question that does not have an answer yet. What comes after fiber optics? In other words, is there some un-invented technology like subspace radio that will come along at some point and replace those tiny glass conduits as the way we communicate?
It seems like it's always a question that consumers ask when broadband providers tout the necessity to invest in fiber optic networks. "Yeah, fiber optics is great, but what will replace it?"
It's an understandable question, especially if a community is concerned about investing in a technology that will someday be obsolete. The wireless folks would like you to believe that they will invent that new technology. Whether they call it 5G or millimeter wave or something else, a lot of time, effort, energy, and research is going into trying to find a technology that could supplant fiber.
But like the world of science fiction, what we know today is that fiber optics works. And we can't yet grasp any telecommunications need that it will not be able to fill for many, many years to come. That won't stop people from dreaming. And somewhere in a lab or garage somewhere, someone may be working on the thing that will replace FIBER. But just like the Starship Enterprise is not yet ready to come out of drydock (at least for another 200 years), that new technology is still the realm of science fiction.
TiVo has released it's quarterly video trends report that finds, not surprisingly, video customers are still yearning for ala carte programming, despite the presence of an increasing number of "skinny bundle" options from vMVPD's, aka "over the top providers".
The report also contains this bit of rather dubious advice for vMVPD's.
TiVo believes vMVPDs are better off replacing lesser-desired channels with more popular ones in an expanded list of skinny bundle interest categories to gain more market share.
Sounds so easy, doesn't it? Just dump the niche networks like Discovery Life and focus on the big ones. Of course we know that ignores the contractual reality that large content providers enforce on video providers. You think TiVo would know better, that providers of all kinds would LOVE to have the freedom to offer only what customers want.
Broadband Bytes News
Curated by Curtis Dean, SmartSource Consulting
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