Orby TV

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by cannonz, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. ncbill

    ncbill Active Member TCF Club

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    DSL here topped out at 6 MBps down (instead of the max 12 MBps)...from what I read online that was typical for many markets.

    I had it for years, but eventually switched to cable broadband for (back at the time) 3x more speed at 1/2 the price.

    And nearly 3 years ago AT&T's contractor installed underground conduit & then pulled fiber on the main street just outside our development.

    But AT&T hasn't yet bothered to extend to our neighborhood even though our HOA literally sold BellSouth a right-of-way pre-merger.

    Guess they don't think they'll have enough takers to make it worth their while.
     
  2. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    I think you're way off in thinking that half of AT&T's home internet customers have sub-25 Mbps download speeds. Connecticut is not like most of AT&T's footprint, which is mainly the South, Midwest and California. At this point, AT&T has either upgraded their customers to broadband speeds via FTTN or FTTH, or customers have just left AT&T DSL for cable broadband. Pretty much the only folks still sticking with AT&T DSL on a sub-25 Mbps tier are folks who just have no better choice, i.e. those homes not passed by cable. I don't even know where such homes exist in this part of the country. Maybe rural areas? But did AT&T ever offer DSL service out to farms and rural towns in the first place? Down here, those areas seem to typically have their own local telco rather than AT&T.

    Anyhow, as AT&T has made clear, they will continue to market DTV to "rural" areas, which they appear to mean areas that don't have broadband available. As for the original question, I don't know what is the cut-off speed that AT&T considers "fast enough" on their own DSL network to transition an existing customer from a bundle of DTV+DSL to AT&T TV+DSL. But again, if you look at their own product page for AT&T TV, it says in normal-sized text, "AT&T TV requires minimum internet speeds of 8Mbps." And then there's a link just beneath there to test your speed.


    Don't see why they couldn't do what Hulu with Live TV does, which is charge extra for an "Unlimited Screens Add-on". Per their support site:

    As a Live TV subscriber, you’ll be able to stream from two screens at the same time . However, if you have a big family with different TV tastes, the Unlimited Screens Add-on may be the perfect fit for you.

    Add Unlimited Screens to your live TV subscription for an additional $9.99/month and you’ll be able to stream on any number of supported devices that are connected to your Home Network at the same time. Plus, while you’re on the go you can also stream from up to three separate mobile devices.

    I think T-Mobile is going to make a serious play for fixed wireless home broadband using a variety of 5G and 4G spectrum. (In fact, they've committed to doing so as one of the conditions of the Sprint merger.) They're already doing it a bit on long-range 600 MHz. The new 2.5 GHz spectrum from Sprint will be very important to their 5G network in metro areas and I'm pretty sure they've indicated that it will be used for home broadband too.

    So far, Verizon is just cherry picking addresses to offer millimeter wave home 5G. Will be interesting to see what AT&T ends up doing.

    It will eventually become a business necessity to form a joint company that effectively acts as the nursing home for DBS, managing its terminal decline this decade. We're not there yet though. Although the feds still might allow it now, at least if some kind of price guarantees were instituted.

    And, of course, LEO satellite broadband could have a major impact on the equation too. Looks like Starlink will be available in the northern US and Canada later this year and the entire US in 2021.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
  3. trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    the future isn't traditional linear paytv anyway. Whether it's satellite or cable or these OTT cable services.

    I think we'll just see more investment in streaming. And I doubt the old way gets many investment dollars. I think they milk what they have.

    I can see satellite companies combining. It makes sense obviously. And with customers leaving and the rise of streaming, I think the monopoly obstacle is much less a concern for the government.

    My brother still loves his DTV. But he is big on sports.
     
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  4. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Quite possible.

    Also possible, but they need to have some offering to address that market, dwindling as it may be as people move more to OTT SVOD.

    I'm skeptical on T-Mobile ever getting out into those rural areas. They bought Sprint, making them even more of a metro-market provider. Rural is one area that they could see growth, but they'd have to make massive investments to provide good coverage to those areas, which in most cases is not what they have today. Competing for some of the lighter cable users and smaller households within metro areas, sure, but I'm not convinced on rural. The proof will be in the pudding.

    What the feds will allow is total guessing game, they've been all over the place, not really following any consistent logic when it comes to anti-trust.

    LEO is a wildcard. If it works out for home broadband, it will be transformative. However, it may still not have the capacity to replace live TV for those rural areas, even if it offers broadband. A lot remains to be seen there.
     
  5. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Well, they're doing a lot on band 71 (600 MHz) to extend their reach into the boonies. But yeah, maybe they concentrate their home broadband provisioning on suburban/exurban areas and don't do much way out in the truly rural areas. We'll see.

    Here's their page about the future of their T-Vision cable TV service, which they're now referring to as "5G-Ready TV". The page references the promise they made during the merger negotiations to "deliver high-speed wireless broadband to 90% of the U.S., and in-home service to over half the country’s households." Just above that, they're defining their wireless broadband service as having "100+ Mbps speeds". Hopefully the feds hold them to their promises. (And just to note, the federal gov't. defined just 21% of the US population in 2000 as rural. I'd guess it's a bit less now.)

    Yes, a wildcard. But Starlink will have the same capacity everywhere, which means the average user in less-dense rural areas should have access to MORE bandwidth at any given moment than users in metro areas. And frankly, the number one reason anyone wants broadband is to stream video (whether that's live TV or some form of on-demand). I don't foresee any technical reason why a rural Starlink user wouldn't be able to stream YouTube TV, AT&T TV, etc. I mean, if doing something like that is a problem, then Starlink probably wouldn't be a viable business anyhow.
     
  6. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Their network is way too thin out in the boonies. Much of their rural coverage on the map is BS. They built the absolute bare minimum to fill in pink on a TV ad map, they would have to go back and rebuild those areas to build a real network.

    That's 90% POPs, which says nothing. About 90% of POPs have cable available anyway. 90% POPs is around 10% coverage of the Lower 48, maybe a little more. Verizon is around 81% coverage in the Lower 48, AT&T has got to be up there now with FirstNET, and both cover around 98% POPs. T-Mobile today claims somewhere in the 96-97% POPs range, but the quality of coverage isn't always good.

    It depends on how the bandwidth is doled out, and how the caps are set up. It could be super fast, but if it has a 100GB cap, it's sort of useless for more than a few short YouTube videos here and there.
     
  7. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    I guess you've roamed the rural areas of the nation with a band 71-capable phone on the T-Mo network and done repeated speed tests?

    No, T-Mobile isn't talking about POPs but covering actual percentages of the US population where they live. (And I'm pretty sure that 90% of the US population does not have cable broadband available at their residence, regardless of POPs.)

    Key quotes from a T-Mo blog post of May 2019:

    In three years, we’ve committed that the New T-Mobile will cover 97% of the U.S. population with 5G on low-band spectrum and 75% of the population with 5G on mid-band spectrum. That will grow to 99% of the U.S. population covered with low-band 5G in six years and 88% with mid-band 5G.

    We also established milestones to cover 85% of rural America with 5G on low-band spectrum in three years and 90% in six years. We set targets for the number of people with access to equal or greater than 100 Mbps and 50 Mbps average download speeds (hint: it’s a lot… 90% and 99% of the country’s population respectively in six years, and we even outlined how we’ll verify those speeds with drive tests!).

    It's fine to be skeptical that T-Mo will actually hit the goals that they promised to the FCC and the public in order to gain approval for the Sprint merger. But if they do hit those goals, it will make a real impact on the availability of high-speed internet in rural America.

    Bandwidth (i.e. download speeds at any given moment) won't be the problem. Each of the satellites in the constellation have the same throughput capacity and any given residence will be served by many different satellites over time, with the user's antenna shifting from one sat to another about every five minutes. Any given satellite will serve all the subscribers in a given geographic area as it passes over. The more subscribers in that area there are, the lower the maximum available bandwidth will be for any given user since they're all sharing the same satellite (similar to how neighbors on the same HFC node share bandwidth.) I'm sure Starlink has designed each satellite so that it can handle quite a few folks simultaneously streaming video. So again, rural Starlink customers should have no problem streaming YouTube TV or any other HD or 4K OTT video.

    Data caps, however, could be a problem. Which is really just another way of saying the cost of the Starlink service could be a problem (because if there are data caps, it's likely that users will be able to pay extra to buy more data). This, IMO, is the really big unanswered question about Starlink: how much will it cost?
     
  8. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    No, but I've tested B12 coverage, which is nearly identical to B71, and I've read numerous reports about T-Mobile's tower spacing and coverage, and it's not a pretty picture. They would have to rebuild their entire network in large swaths of less-populated areas in order to compete with AT&T and Verizon.

    That's literally POPs. Anything short of 97% POPs is sort of meaningless, since 97% of POPs live in something like 50% of the land. 90% of POPs live on around 10% of the land. 75% POPs is cities and suburbs.

    No, it won't. They set pretty meaningless goals, with the singular exception of 99% POPs with low-band, but that's likely based on projections of the extreme fringe of B12/71 coverage beyond what a normal phone could even pick up. T-Mobile has been the most egregious in the last few years in exaggerating coverage. It used to be Verizon, now they're the most conservative. 75% or even 88% POPs on mid-band 5G is pretty meaningless. I'm sure it will hit a few pockets here and there that are just outside of smaller cities and don't have broadband available, but it's not going to make a big impact in most truly rural areas.

    That's the problem. Current geosynchronous satellite systems can push at least 100mbps to a single user, if not well more, and are capable of gigabit in aggregate, but they're awful partly because of latency, but partly because they require massive over-subscription in order for their business model to work.

    We'll have to see if LEO can put a band-aid over the real problem, which is our failed telecom policy. The system that we 100% know will work is a program to build out fiber to every household in the US currently connected to the electricity grid. It's a proven model, we just fail the political will to implement it uniformly across the US. States like Vermont, and local electric co-ops will continue to build out fiber where there is the funding and political will to do so.

    I'm always skeptical, because there are so many systems out there today where most of the bandwidth has been sucked up by higher-value customers like airlines, oil and gas extraction companies, railroads, trucking companies, and others who can pay orders of magnitude more for the same capacity as a home user reasonably can. Even if that weren't the case, I'm still skeptical that Starlink will be able to handle all the users out there that lack access to wireline broadband, much less if cell phones start integrating this in for areas that don't have terrestrial cell service.
     
  9. trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    TMo got some coverage in my area a few years ago using B12 band or whatever that was.

    But in the past few months they moved into town with a few corporate stores and have some real coverage now.
     
  10. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Sigh. You're stating (evidence-free, as usual) POP stats in order to contradict and ignore the literal language used by T-Mobile, which I'll state again here (link above), underlined emphasis mine:

    In three years, we’ve committed that the New T-Mobile will cover 97% of the U.S. population with 5G on low-band spectrum and 75% of the population with 5G on mid-band spectrum. That will grow to 99% of the U.S. population covered with low-band 5G in six years and 88% with mid-band 5G.

    We also established milestones to cover 85% of rural America with 5G on low-band spectrum in three years and 90% in six years. We set targets for the number of people with access to equal or greater than 100 Mbps and 50 Mbps average download speeds (hint: it’s a lot… 90% and 99% of the country’s population respectively in six years, and we even outlined how we’ll verify those speeds with drive tests!).

    If you're simply stating that T-Mobile is lying and that they won't come close to hitting the promises they've made -- that 90% of the US population will be served at 100 Mbps or faster average speeds and 99% served at 50 Mbps or faster within six years -- then fine, just state that.

    But if they make good on that, that will be significant. It will mean an additional broadband provider comes on the scene for a whole lot of Americans who now have either one or zero broadband option (not counting current satellite providers like HughesNet). Not sure what % of the population currently fall into that "0/1" category but the FCC said it was over 40% of US households (when including both wired and fixed wireless broadband providers) a few years ago.

    We'll see how it unfolds. I have to think Starlink and Amazon (who's pursuing a similar service with Project Kuiper) have crunched the numbers a bit more than you or I have. Unlike OneWeb, neither Starlink nor Amazon seem to be catering primarily to high-value industrial/business users.

    I'm wondering whether the existing pool of consumers who currently have no decent broadband options will be big enough to profitably sustain the service. On a global basis, maybe. If not, that means that they'll be competing with mainstream providers, like cable operators.
     
  11. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    I'm not stating anything that's evidence-free. The fact of the matter is that T-Mobile's claims aren't impressive at all, with the possible exception of the 99% POPs low-band. 88% POPs is relatively meaningless.

    There has to be a caveat. Even if they drove around with a van that has a powerful cellular booster on it, that still is a ridiculous target. 90% POPs... maybe. If 88% have access to mid-band 5G, that's not too much of a stretch. The 99% POPs one is just downright ridiculous if you read it at face value.

    We'll see. I'm just always skeptical of these things as they haven't worked out in the past. Their financial interest is in users who can either be charged for a short period of access (airline passenger, etc), or use little bandwidth (certain business systems). I could see home users getting rock solid 100mbps service that has a 250GB cap. Sure, a lot better than what they had, but it's not going to instantly bring them into the modern world of UHD streaming and 100GB game downloads.

    The big money is still in planes, busses, railroads, oil extraction, etc, etc. I don't think it really matters if they can compete directly with cable and fiber.
     
  12. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Reaching 88% of the US population with mid-band 5G (which will offer download speeds well over 100 Mbps, and potentially over 1 gigabit/sec) is relatively meaningless? Haha, OK then.

    I'm not aware of anything from the past similar to the scale and ambition of Starlink (or, presumably, Amazon's Project Kuiper).
     
  13. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    AT&T and Verizon did that with 4G years ago. Sure, T-Mobile's network will have a lot more capacity due to getting the n41 spectrum, so that they can offer widespread home internet access, but what they are building coverage wise is just catching up to the big players. And they will find once they go past 96% POPs that it gets a LOT harder. AT&T and Verizon have been trying to cover that last few % for decades, often in a haphazard way in fits and starts, but nonetheless it's a lot of work and requires a lot of capital. The only reason AT&T bothered to expand coverage recently was due to FirstNET.

    I guess we'll have to wait and see.
     
  14. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Neither AT&T nor Verizon's 4G LTE offers the sort of typical download speeds that Sprint's existing mid-band 5G offers. And that's before T-Mo takes charge of it, expands it, and benefits from the next generation of hardware supporting mid-band 5G.

    But beyond that, neither AT&T nor Verizon are offering fixed wireless home broadband service in a significant way that can compete with traditional wired operators, i.e. cable. And that's what T-Mo has already begun doing in a limited way with 4G LTE and will greatly expand, in scope and speed, with 5G.

    Unlimited High-Speed In-Home Internet Services from T-Mobile
     
  15. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Their speeds are all over the place, but when and where they deploy enough bands and have enough backhaul, triple-digit speeds are common.

    True, and the business model may be impressive, but the network isn't, and I don't expect it to ever be. I think they could easily compete for lighter cable users who need something better than Slow DSL, but want something cheaper than cable. I think that could be a huge success for them. But I don't expect them to magically fix rural broadband.
     
  16. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Eh, I don't think they'll "magically fix rural broadband" but I do think T-Mobile will be part of the solution of improving the situation in the coming years. I think you're emotionally invested, due to your politics, in the idea that only a federally-backed universal FTTH solution will ever suffice and therefore you're predisposed to poo-poo everything else.
     
  17. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    I think they're going to be a minor part of the solution, and only in a few specific types of areas, like rural areas near a smallish city that has redlined/cherry-picked cable rollouts.

    I like things that are hardwired. And in the case of broadband, they are the only thing that has been proven to work. We would already have universal gigabit FTTH if the government hadn't botched telecom policy so badly 20 years ago. If we didn't have a corrupt government/congress, AT&T, Verizon, and all their former areas would be funded by them, leaving relatively few areas that the government would have to finance. The networks are actually self-sustaining once you get financing for the initial capital investment. Vermont has one ILEC that got federal funding, and one non-ILEC that is self-sustaining, with another one that's getting started now.
     
  18. ncbill

    ncbill Active Member TCF Club

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    I like my (grandfathered) $35/month AT&T "unlimited LTE for tablets" plan. It was easy to move the SIM to a hotspot once setup in a tablet.

    I've used it for travel/backup, but now that everyone's home thanks to COVID I let them use the cable broadband and I use the hotspot.

    ~25MBps down...too bad it isn't available to new users.
     
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  19. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, this is similar to what T-Mobile has begun doing for a few areas with 4G LTE home service, except it comes with the hotspot. Folks report varying speeds but there's no data cap and it costs a flat $50/mo, hardware included. They're supposed to get serious about this business and incorporate 5G into it now that they're merging Sprint's network into theirs. Once that happens, download speeds and availability will increase significantly.

    Lots of homes have no use for super-fast broadband. The most demanding thing I do is stream 4K HDR video -- which might spike up to 35 Mbps momentarily but averages maybe 20 Mbps tops -- and when I'm doing that, virtually nothing else is drawing bandwidth at the same time. I have 100 Mbps from Comcast for $40/mo but if/when its jumps to the normal price ($73, I think), I'll just look for the cheapest option that gives me ~50 Mbps or faster. Right now that would be Toast.net, who resells access to the AT&T Fiber network. They offer uncapped 60/60 with included gateway for an every day price of $45.
     
  20. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Most users are probably happy with 100mbps. That's about what I have. The uploads will actually be an advantage for T-Mobile 5G if cable doesn't get off their derriere and do some upgrades to mid- or high-split.
     

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