Sunday, May 20, 2012

Goodbye Landlines.... Hello Fixed LTE

I've been buried with final exams and travel the past few weeks and have not had a chance to post. Lots of things have been happening though.

With all of the Facebook IPO hype and the Verizon Wireless' data cap announcement you may have missed something potentially much bigger. Back on May 2, Verizon Wireless put out a news release titled HomeFusion Broadband From Verizon Now Available Nationwide on America's HomeFusion Broadband From Verizon Now Available Nationwide on America's Largest 4G LTE Network

It's about putting an antenna on your house that will replace those copper telephone wires with 4G LTE wireless. Now, Verizon's 4G LTE network currently covers approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population and 230 markets and this new product is designed to deliver both data and voice services for these people in these markets. LTE has been pitched initially as a mobile product but works great using fixed antennas attached to a home or business.

Here's how this new fixed antenna Verizon 4G LTE product works. Verizon techs come out to your home and install a cylinder-shaped 4G LTE antenna (see picture). This antenna picks up an LTE signal and transmits it to a broadband router in the home. That broadband router can have up to 4 wired and 20 wireless WiFi connections.

Verizon is saying that, in a fully loaded real world environment, users should experience average data rates between 5 and 12 Mbps downstream and and between 2 and 5 Mbps upstream. That's some pretty good bandwidth. Pricing ranges from $60 (10 GB cap) to $120 (30 GB cap) per month. If users go over the cap, they'll pay an extra $10 per GB.

Here's where it gets really interesting. Back on April 19, Verizon announced they would stop selling DSL as an option to customers who live in FiOS territory. Today I heard (unconfirmed) Verizon will stop using DSL range extenders. These range extenders are being used to get DSL signal out long distances. DSL sure sounds like it is going away soon.

Is 4G LTE the next step? Will fixed 4G LTE replace those old copper landlines that voice and DSL run on? Two thirds of the U.S. population is covered by 4G LTE...... I've written about it in the past...... I've always thought so and right now I'm thinking it's all going to happen a lot quicker than I ever imagined.


Unknown said...

Nice report, Gordon. I'd only add one thing. That 66% coverage by LTE is by population, not location. This is important to note. That means that if you live in major cities in the Northeast corridor, near Chicago or the well heeled burbs around old industrial cities in the rust-belt, those portions of California adjacent to SF or to the south by LA you've got access to Verizon's new service.

For the rest of the nation, it's going to be while until we're freed from the 150 year old wired tech while we're actually losing a broadband option with the demise of that beast, DSL, and aging coax never really designed to carry that new-fangled Internet-thingy into a home.

I Remain Yours in the Bandwidth,


Gordon F Snyder Jr said...

Thanks Steve - great to have your perspective as an ex cable executive. It will be interesting to see if they go after the rural markets where there is currently no broadband option.
Talking to some landline techs I know it's all about getting backhaul fiber out to the towers now. There are also spectrum issues to deal with but I think it will get figured out.