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AT&T talks merger with DirecTV

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Johncv, May 1, 2014.

  1. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    I currently (for another 2 months) subscribe to DirecTV for TV and have FiOS for internet and phone. The "unbundled" price for FiOS is less than the unbundled price for the same service from my local cable provider, Cablevision. I personally know about 50 families in my town with FiOS and only about 10 of them get FiOS TV (the rest use one of two satellite providers).

    Or, a dish on the roof.

    Only foreign language programming is on 119 these days. All of DirecTV's English language programming comes from 101 (SD) or 99 & 103 (HD).

    The low sight lines on the east coast for 119 is why Dish Network runs two completely separate satellite constellations, one for the Eastern US (at 61.5, 72.7 and 77) and one for the Western US (at 110,119 and 129).
     
  2. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Running a business isn't an investment, it is a job - the job of the CEO. His job description is to run the business as efficiently as possible to maximize the return to the investors.

    If you bought a stock that wasn't going to return an increase in value or a dividend for 50 years, you'd probably move on to another stock. Stockholders want returns this month, not way down the road.

    Let's say Verizon were to do exactly what has been proposed - take wireless profits and plow that into a massive fiber expansion. The resulting drop in quarterly profits would cause their stock price to fall, which would cause investors to sell the stock, causing the price to fall more. Keep that up for a few quarters and the CEO will be out of a job.
     
  3. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Active Member

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    Then for-profit businesses obviously cannot be entrusted to build and manage this country's wired internet infrastructure. The states or federal government should use eminent domain to nationalize all wired infrastructure and take the decisions about its future out of the hands of CEOs and shareholders that can't think past the next quarter.
     
  4. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    There is certainly a rationale for that sentiment. The current state of affairs is like relying upon the car companies and oil refiners to build roads. If we had used that model we would have 12 lane highways between the major cities and dirt paths to rural communities (sort of exactly what we have in broadband today). The only time letting the service provider manage the building of the medium over which the service is delivered has worked has been in heavily regulated utilities. The telephone network was built by AT&T when it was THE Phone Company and had no competition, and the power grid was built when the power industry was vertically integrated and more closely regulated, with geographic exclusivity. In both of these cases, by removing exclusive franchises/statutory monopolies the continued expansion and upgrade of the networks has been ignored.

    The fact is that broadband internet should be seen by government as being a public utility whose expansion to serve every single citizen is a key goal, just like electric and telephone service was seen in the last century. In exchange for keeping their networks open and neutral to the source of the traffic, and building out broadband service to serve every single household, the providers should be granted exclusive franchises by geographic area.
     
  5. stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

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    Diana is also a respected member at dbstalk.com. I always learn something from her posts there.
     
  6. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Agree 100% but we're way too far down the payoff/revolving door road for this to happen (sans some massive public uprising, but if we don't care how the NSA is raping us I'm not seeing how we're going to care about getting fleeced for HSI).

    Even if the FCC wants to go common carrier for ISPs, the massive number of lawyers involved will make sure it gets tied up in the courts forever.
     
  7. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Fiber is very profitable if you amortize it over an appropriate amount of time, like 30 years. And Verizon isn't even doing a good job with FIOS. If they switched to MPEG-4 to be able to offer an even better channel lineup, and they offered a gigabit internet product, they would be that much more competitive with cable. They are price competitive, but not enough so. They should get more aggressive, and they will get more of the market. Instead, they are finding creative ways to nickel and dime their subscribers.

    Right, Wall Street, the investors, and the executives all have the attention span of a 2-year-old, and scream "I WANT IT NOW!". Telcos should be thinking over a 30-year span, as infrastructure takes at least that long to pay for itself. When thinking over that time period, there is no way to justify NOT putting in gigabit fiber to every customer.

    I'd like to know what pricing you have on FIOS internet. From what I've seen on their site, they charge $80-$90/mo for internet only, depending on which tier you get, which is completely insane. I'm not familiar with CableVision's pricing scheme, but on Comcast, it appears to be $55-$65, depending on tier. I'm in a relatively unique position in that we have a local overbuilder in addition to Comcast and AT&T that offers 55/10 for $60/mo, although that's only a few $ less than Comcast.

    A lot of MDUs aren't physically set up for that to work, and in other cases, the owner wouldn't allow it. AT&T had a legal right to be in the buildings via copper, and they can upgrade that to VDSL simply by sticking a VRAD near the MDU they are trying to serve.

    Hartford-New Haven's SD locals are on 119, and thus *I think* Hartford-New Haven is required to have an SL5, not an SL3, even though the locals are available in HD on 99c or 103c. I'm not positive that they still *require* an SL5, but I very, very rarely see an SL3 around here, so it probably requires a special exception or something to install one.

    DISH was kind of forced to, since 129, where they have a lot of HD stuff, is nearly impossible to get on the east coast, as is 61.5 on the west coast. It also helped them a LOT with locals. You'd basically have to be living under a forest to not be able to get DISH EA in CT, however, it's irrelevant, as they have chosen to effectively not compete in the NYC DMA or all of the state of CT due to their lack of YES and SNY.

    That's a good point. They talk of "competition", but until there are multiple companies who want to build out (and it may not make sense to have 3-4 providers in every area), then they should be regulated as the monopolies that they are.
     
  8. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    I pay $59.99/month for 75 down/35 up service. If I switched back to Cablevision, they would change me $49.95 for 15 down/3 up.

    Forgot about the SD locals. AFAIK, the SL3 feedhorn assembly is the standard for HD installs everywhere. If you still have an SD TV they usually still hook it up to an HD receiver. The only SL5 installs happening anymore are all SD installs in markets where the SD locals are on 119 spotbeams, or for foreign language packages. They are, however, planning to stop to doing SD only installs if they have not done so already.

    Of course, it wasn't just look angles that drove Dish to a dual arc system. They only had 22 transponder licenses at 119 (which is where they started) and 29 at 110 (acquired from MCI and News Corp, ironically enough) with no other assets in the area. DirecTV on the other hand, had all 32 transponders at 101, 3 at 110 and 10 at 119, plus had full slot Ka licenses at 99 and 103. Each Ka slot has twice the total bandwidth of a Ku DBS slot, so DirecTV has a massive amount of bandwidth within a 20 degree arc, most it within a 4 degree arc.

    There was no way Dish could do HD on their 110/119 assets, so they cut a deal with Rainbow's Voom all HD service to acquire their 61.5 assets and cut a deal with Angel Broadcasting to get their 61.5 licenses. That let them get into HD, but as you point out, it was barely above the horizon from the West Coast. To solve that problem they leased the entire slot at 129 from the Canadians and stuck Echostar-V there until the Canadian Ciel Satellite Group launched Ciel-2. Dish also uses a Canadian satellite (Nimiq-5) at 72.5 and a Mexican one (QuetzSat-1) at 77. Thus, the 2 arc solution was born, at the cost of higher operating expenses (twice the uplinks) and paying satellite lease fees.
     
  9. Jed1

    Jed1 Well-Known Member

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    I have been looking to relocate to Chattanooga, TN and the city has set up their own fiber optic network using their Electric Power Board.
    I was looking at getting work at the new Volkswagen plant and in my research I found out about the Electric Power Board. I see that Comcast tried to sue them to prevent them from doing this as if Comcast had any aspirations to do this themselves.
    They are advertising $69.99/month for 1 gig speeds.
    https://epbfi.com/gigsupport/

    http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/20/tec...campaign=Feed:+rss/money_latest+(Latest+News)

    https://epbfi.com/
    https://www.epb.net/
     
  10. murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

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    And the government isn't much better -- they don't think past the next election cycle.
     
  11. trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

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    30 years? That's exactly why they aren't rushing to build out their fiber network.

    Level3 almost went bankrupt creating a backbone fiber network. And are stuck between a rock and a hard place for a very long time. That isn't going to turn out to be a good investment. Other companies did go bankrupt creating cross country fiber networks.


    It isn't like VZ gets the market to themselves if they build out either. They have immediate competitors. AT the same time it isn't like the business isn't changing. The ability to charge for phone, tv and internet is getting weaker all the time. And what if wireless becomes a much cheaper way of getting internet to most homes?

    The CFO recently said their capital is going towards wireless right now because the returns are much higher and wireless is more promising. They aren't going to start thinking about expanding FIOS again until they make more money from the capital they have already deployed.

    It will be interesting to follow what Google is doing and see how that works in the longer run.
     
  12. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    And that's after Level 3 acquired a lot of that fiber backbone at less than actual price when it acquired Global Crossing in 2011.
     
  13. stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

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    I've read there's a LOT of "dark fiber" around the country - fiber that was laid out but never used.
     
  14. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Active Member

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    Highly unlikely, due to the current laws of physics. But in the event that ever did happen, then all those massive profits they are currently raking in from wireless data will evaporate like a fart in the wind.

    The main problem with the government is that they are bought and paid for by the corporations. So the root problem is still the for-profit corporations.

    Speaking of the devil... http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Comcast-Employing-40-Lobbying-Firms-to-Get-Merger-Approved-129075
     
  15. randian

    randian Member

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    Impossible. Not enough spectrum, and the high-frequency spectrum required to deliver big bandwidth has terrible building penetration requiring much denser deployment than they have now, eliminating any savings. They have enough to keep up with burgeoning mobile data demand, but home data demands are another kettle of fish.
     
  16. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    You must be grandfathered in to something, as that's not the current pricing.

    I guess they are allowing the SL3s in Hartford-New Haven for new installs, but I very, very rarely see one. Seems to me they are defaulting to SL5's. Either that, or barely anyone has installed a DirecTV dish recently.

    Yeah, they needed the bandwidth. In the age of HD locals for close to 200 markets, however, the dual-arc solution does save quite a bit of bandwidth, as there's a big chunk of the country that is covered by both arcs.
     
  17. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Infrastructure has to be amortized out over a 30-year period. The problem is Wall Street investors and company executives at both Verizon and AT&T who are too childish and impatient to be able to look at a 30-year payback on a major capital expenditure and go ahead with it. Without FTTH, the telcos have no wireline future.

    Backbone fiber is different from last mile fiber.

    Wireless can't meet home bandwidth demand in all but the most rural areas (and even barely then) for the foreseeable future. Whoever owns the biggest pipes to the customer's place of residence will win, no matter whether it's QAM, IPTV, OTT, whatever. FIOS puts Verizon back in the game as a last-mile provider with a big pipe, and is far more robust than anything else widely deployed in the US.

    That's the problem. These companies are all run by people who think like screaming 2-year-olds "I WANT IT NOW". They seem to be incapable of adult though, which, in the business that they are in, involves 30-year amortization of large amounts of capital expenditure.

    Google is in it for totally different reasons, although the fiber to the press release rollouts are rather entertaining. I don't know why Verizon hasn't actually done gigabit yet, even though they aren't in any Google Fiber areas, since their existing GPON infrastructure can do gigabit with a visit to the customer's house to switch them from MoCA to Ethernet. They have 18 million homes passed with FIOS, and they are currently building out to several million more in NYC, so that's a lot of actual gigabit that they could offer and advertise on (even if the actual take rate is tiny).
     
  18. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    I'm not sure how you figure that. Each local market requires a certain amount of bandwidth, mostly delivered by spot beam. It doesn't matter where that spot beam originates, it is still the same total bandwidth. For national channels, Dish broadcasts them twice, once for each arc. Since the mix of satellites and their corresponding transponder capacities vary from one arc to the other, they can't even use the same set of statistical multiplexers to encode the content. They must completely duplicate almost all of the uplink equipment and consume double the bandwidth.

    But, this is a discussion for another thread, and another discussion site.
     
  19. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    The spot beams have to be way bigger than the DMA, as DMAs are not designed to match an elliptical shape that comes from the equator at a certain satellite position... So having two arcs for much of the middle of the country helps a LOT.

    Yes, national stuff is duplicated, and the northeast corner and western half of the country only have access to one arc, although the western part of the country has far fewer DMAs anyways. The biggest mess of DMAs is throughout the midwest, south, Texas, and Florida, which is exactly where both arcs are workable...
     
  20. Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    None of which answers the question of how this saves any bandwidth. The DMAs have to be covered and whether they come from the eastern arc or the western, it is the same bandwidth. DirecTV covers the same DMAs, with the same elliptical beams from GEO. The same local channels are delivered. I see no savings there. Then you have to transmit all SD and HD national channels twice.
     

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