Broadcom announced the world's first demonstration of a live HDTV broadcast delivered over a DSL network this week. That's good news on several fronts. The first is that something other than Internet access can be delivered over DSL. The second is same as the first, but its good news because DSL may be all that most end users in this country have to tap into for some time to come, at least in this country.
Keynotes and addresses given at Supercomm 2005 indicated that regulatory lethargy and plain old drag-your-feet-as-long-as-you-can attitude of our nation's service providers has left us 16th in the world when it comes to broadband access. How incredibly depressing is that?
If the big cities are grappling with 16th place, how much worse is it for people in rural areas? Nortel president and CEO William Owens spent the majority of his time on a Wednesday keynote panel lamenting the lack of attention being placed on bringing broadband to the U.S.'s rural markets.
Other causes for concern:
Many vendors I spoke to used the terms IPTV and triple play interchangeably, until I pinned them to the mat and asked them flat out"your deployment is enabling IPTV?"
"No, not IPTV exactlytriple play is what we meant to say"
Aye, yi, yi!!!!
It's also becoming painfully apparent that even if U.S. service providers get fiber to the premises, the last mile problem is about to become the last yard debacle. I dare say that inside wiring causing Verizon a lot more headaches than they would be willing to talk about. And they have made mention at other times. I didn't hear anything about it at Supercomm, but, if I had the chance, I'd bet real good money that lots of people are losing patches of hair on this one.
In addition, it seems that there is precious little thought going into simplification of home networking for end users, as was mentioned by Cisco CEO John Chambers in his keynote. Chambers also raised the specter of security issues.
"Security problems will slow down this industry more so than anything else," he said, adding that measure must be taken at an architectural level to be effective going forward.
The CEOs on Wednesday's mooning keynote panel voiced concerns about security too.
So, even if we were are in the trailing pack of countries without a lot of broadband access, we all need to be thinking about ways to tackle the problems that will surely mire the market if they are not addressed.
In a Supercomm luncheon address, Alcatel president and COO, Mike Quigley called on vendors and service providers to focus on cooperating right now on issues - home networking, security, etc.- that require cooperation in order to lay the groundwork for healthy competition to come. I couldn't agree more.