– Infinite Bandwidth and Subscriber Expansion
– Globally the MDU Market Is Enormous
Currently the hottest market for faster broadband is the battle between telcos and cablecos to be the primary broadband supplier to MDUs. Lots and lots of people live in MDUs and the owners of many MDUs award to only one service the chance to provide broadband and pay TV and telephony to its residences – a sole source contract. And MDUs are a big market, even in the States where the proportion of MDU residences to standalone residences is lower than in most countries.
Adtran, maker of broadband gear, says the American Housing Survey reported that there are over 32 million MDUs in the US, which is about 25% of all residential buildings. Adtran also says MDUs represent about 30% of the total US residential market for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and it is “difficult to be successful with FTTH in the residential market without a success-based strategy for MDUs.”
Adtran says “the MDU market is much more complex and multi-faceted than the small business or single family residential markets.” So it has developed its Mosaic cloud architecture, which has programmable networking functions that it says “enable operators to meet the unique needs of the millennial and MDU markets by leveraging existing wiring, thus overcoming traditional FTTB roadblocks, to connect apartments and condominiums.”
Adtran said the Mosaic cloud architecture provides solutions that are designed to support the demand for infinite bandwidth and customer expansion and with it they can quickly “create and deploy user-driven services and support subscriber self-install to speed deployments.”
Mosaic does not appear to be a G.fast-only technology. Adtran said Mosaic delivers gigabit broadband service over MDUs’ existing wires: fiber, CAT6, CAT5, CAT3 copper telephone wires, coax and wireless. Adtran’s reference to wirelessly connecting residences to the MDU’s incoming fiber may show that telcos and their suppliers are seriously thinking about fixed wireless technologies such as 5G – or even advanced versions of 4G.
“The MDU market is a complex and growing market, encompassing a variety of building, resident and owner requirements. Adtran’s programmable networking functions enable operators the ability to offer their MDU subscribers self-service portals and customized service choices,” said Mitch Flemming, Adtran’s VP of carrier sales. “For millennials and digital natives, this user-directed service model has become the norm for purchasing anything from taxi services to airlines to hotels, and we believe their broadband should be no different.”
It very specifically said Mosaic has “the ability to deliver Gigabit broadband over any type of wired or wireless architecture.” It listed broadband technologies it works with as NG-PON2 (next-generation passive optical network 2), the older GPON fiber technology and the copperwire-based G.fast. It did not list the various coax-based DOCSIS technologies that cablecos use or any fixed wireless technologies such as 5G. It said Mosaic “provides drastically improved operator competitiveness by natively integrating into open micro-services architectures spanning the entire network from cloud edge to subscriber edge” and listed Adtran’s Bluesocket Series of Cloud-Managed Wi-Fi Access Points. It did not say whether Mosaic works with other Wi-Fi routers such as the new mesh Wi-Fi routers.
Adtran said in a 2012 white paper that the US Census Bureau’s 2012 American Housing Survey for the United States: 2011 found that over half of all residential buildings are over 40 years old, which is well before the widespread use of pay TV. It said “older buildings can be more challenging regarding re-wiring, pulling new fiber due to poor or full ducting or lack of duct plans. To support accelerating the delivery of premium broadband in these situations leveraging the new ITU-T G.fast standard regarding the gigabit over existing phone wires can be of great benefit to the FTTH service provider.”
The reference to the millennials, it says, is that its Mosaic technology allows service providers to now capture “one of the most sought-after and influential market segments – millennials, who in the States are over 90 million strong with a buying power exceeding $600 billion annually. It said millennials comprise a large percentage of the MDU market but it is sure that service providers won’t turn down subscriptions from the older set.
The remarkable point is that the percentage of residences in MDUs is higher in Europe and Asia than in the States so Adtran is addressing a big market.
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