Each month, we collect miscellaneous happenings, studies, trends or observations you might have missed. This month we feature some market statistics, muni Wi-Fi, BPL and a perspective on projecting the future.
European DVR Growth: A study by IMS Research estimates that by the end of 2005, over 2.6 million households in Europe were using a DVR and that by 2010, the market will swell to over 41 million households. They expect the main source of growth to be operator deployments of integrated DVRs, although Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) will also contribute. DTT DVR shipments grew significantly in 2005 due to strong adoption of DTT services in the UK, France and Germany. According to the report, DTT is expected to remain the second largest platform, after satellite, for DVR adoption in Europe through 2010. ( www.imsresearch.com )
Cable Digital News reported that "cable operators and phone companies wrapped up 2005 with record quarterly gains in broadband subscribers, raising the total number of high-speed data customers over the 47 million mark in North America." They also report that DSL providers captured 54.1% of all new residential high-speed data customers in the fourth quarter while cable operators took home the remaining 45.9%—the fifth time in the last seven quarters that DSL providers have gained more subs than cable operators. ( www.cabledatacomnews.com )
Muni Wi-Fi Keeps on Rolling
The municipal wireless phenomenon is staying on a roll. A sampling of some recent developments includes:
Houston BPL: Internal Use For Now
CenterPoint Energy and IBM announced that 44,500 Houston Electric customers will participate in a broadband-over-powerline (BPL) rollout as a stepping stone toward an intelligent grid system for electric and gas companies. The deployment will center on utility company applications and not on broadband for high-speed Internet in homes. Houston Electric is piloting an "intelligent grid" that will allow the power grid to transmit its status using sensors and new "smart" electric meters to be installed at its customers' homes. The BPL equipment, being supplied by Corinex, is based on 200mbps chipset from DS2. ( www.centerpointenergy.com ) ( www.ibm.com ) ( www.corinex.com ) ( www.ds2.es )
Projecting the Future
We noted with some amusement a recent survey by Royal Bank of Canada's RBC Capital Markets. The Wall Street Journal reported the survey finding that 75% of U.S. mobile phone users aren't interested in watching TV or movies on their handsets.
25 years ago, before voice mail had been deployed, AT&T researched consumers' reactions to whether they would want such a capability. Answers included: "I wouldn't use it", "I don't want to talk to a machine" and (from the department of the really old) "I'd be upset if I made a long distance call and got a machine. I wouldn't want to be charged for that call".
By any measure, voice mail is a widely deployed and used service. We may not always love it, but it is an invaluable tool for most people today.
The lesson is that you can't ask people whether they are interested in some new service that they haven't experienced and for which the applications are not yet well understood. We think it's prudent to approach consumer surveys for new services with a very large dose of skepticism.