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Who Will Claim the Throne Among Content Providers?

May 16th, 2019 by

With the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones coming to a wrap, the hype surrounding this award-winning television series has been enormous. Whether or not you are part of the 30 million viewers that have been following the blood feuds and rivalries or George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, the show’s “win or die” truism would appear to have broad applicability, well beyond Westeros.

Game of Thrones

The stage for a real-life war among content streaming providers is set as well. The prize here is not some rusty throne cast from the swords of a thousand vanquished opponents. Rather, it’s an ever-growing market of streaming media customers. Consumers keep “cutting the cord” from “take-it-or-leave” bloated, conventional programming bundles, creating a huge opportunity for the winner.

  • In 2018, 69 percent of U.S. households already had a subscription to Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu, up from 52 percent in 2015,1 and
  • 21 percent of broadband homes that still had a pay TV service were at least considering canceling their service in the next six months1

Fierce competition

Of course, reality is stranger than fiction. The number of companies with claims to the content “throne” is much greater than the six kings and queens vying for the iron throne. With so much future revenue at stake, greater competition, from both incumbents and new entrants, is here in the form of new offers. Many would agree this space has already become over-crowded with established brands and potential disruptors. Consider the intense competition to deliver Video on Demand (VoD) services in the U.S.:2

Distribution of paying U.S. VOD users among services

More competition is also emerging from “old school” pay TV providers; desperate to retain customers and revenues, they are finally motivated to break up “one size fits all” programming bundles into more tailored packages or à la carte offers and include subscriptions to popular streaming sites within their own service bundles.

Regardless of ancient origins in the pay TV world, or new origins in the world of digital streaming, content providers will face common challenges—maintaining subscriber growth and rising content costs—and these challenges will be further exacerbated by the very nature of the competition.

Winning the battle

To stay in the fight, streaming providers must continue to focus on technological innovations. However, to win the war, they must give the greatest focus to the one point of potential differentiation—customer experience. Ultimately, the experience of consuming content is more important than the technology that delivers it. How consumers feel about that experience is what forms the core of the value proposition. While the content itself is a chief component in a customer’s experience, often taken for granted is the connectivity that delivers this awesome content (hint: that’s where we fit in the experience).

Which content providers will be successful in the technology and subscription models that create an experience that compels customers to want more content, and—specifically—to want that content from them? Time will tell.

Game of Thrones may be able to spawn a successful “prequel” series, but content providers can only move forward in time. Winter is coming—who will live to see the spring?

1 Mike Snider, “Avoiding the cold? You may as well binge. Streaming video is only going to grow in 2019,” USAToday.com (3 Jan. 2019).
210 Charts That Will Change Your Perspective Of NetFlix’s Massive Success In The Cloud,” Forbes.com citing “Statista Global Consumer Survey 2018.”

The Truth Behind the Myths: Fixed Wireless Performs Way Better Than You Thought

January 22nd, 2019 by

As the new high-speed kid on the block, fixed wireless is not always fully understood by the people it could help most.

The short version: If you need carrier-grade, high-speed connectivity, and you need it ASAP, fixed wireless is in a league of its own – with speeds that rival fiber, very high reliability, and the shortest implementation time available.

If you need carrier-grade high-speed connectivity, fixed wireless is in a league of its own.
Yet fixed wireless is often overlooked because of four persistent myths. Let’s examine the truth behind them:

  • Myth #1: Satellite Internet is better. We’re talking apples and oranges here. Satellite Internet requires communication with a geostationary satellite 23,000 miles from Earth; fixed wireless communicates with a radio antenna a few miles away. That means satellite has latency issues that fixed wireless doesn’t have. Fixed wireless also offers far greater speed – it can deliver gigabits per second, comparable to fiber optic Internet. Give satellite Internet its due: It is currently more widely available than fixed wireless, making it preferable in certain situations. But when both are valid solutions, fixed wireless is generally the better performer.
  • Myth #2: Mobile wireless is better. Again, fundamental differences in transmission affect performance. Mobile wireless coverage offers shared capacity over an expansive footprint; fixed wireless connects two specific locations with dedicated, symmetrical capacity. That enables fixed wireless to offer much higher transmission speeds with much lower latency. As with satellite Internet, mobile wireless broadband is more widely available – but when both are candidates, fixed wireless offers greater value.
  • Myth #3: Fixed wireless is unreliable in bad weather. It’s true that early fixed wireless implementations were vulnerable to “rain fade” during heavy storms, but technology improvements eliminated that threat years ago. We explored that issue in an earlier blog post that provides examples of well‑known disasters in which fixed wireless offered great performance in extreme conditions, with the ability to be rapidly restored if it does go down.
  • Myth #4: Fixed wireless is not secure. It seems intuitive that wireless data transmission is inherently less secure than wired, but that absolutely is not the case. Advanced fixed wireless systems typically feature encryption of all data in flight plus zero-trust security, making it as challenging to hack as any competing technology.

Unquestionably, there are situations and locations where fixed wireless isn’t viable. But when it’s available, fixed wireless can offer an unbeatable combination of rapid deployment, resilience, scalability, and affordability. For a thorough exploration of the possibilities, partner with a fixed wireless provider who can walk you through its suitability to your specific needs.

Tennessee Titans Take their Network Ground Game to the Air with Fixed Wireless

January 11th, 2018 by

NFL teams require a tremendous amount of manpower, and not just on the field. The Tennessee Titans today employ some 225 people at the team’s Nashville HQ, with responsibilities ranging from football operations to communications, facilities management, finance, legal, marketing and more. Their staff actually grew so fast they needed more space. Which they were fortunate to find just across the street.

While the location was convenient, moving a substantial number of people there posed an IT challenge: Everyone would need to function just as they did in the original building, which meant reliable IP voice and Internet traffic between the two locations. What made this especially challenging was that connecting the two buildings had to happen very quickly, and the budget had no room for a traditional point-to-point solution. Windstream Fixed Wireless, which is often thought of as a secondary connection, provided the perfect answer.

Connecting two campus locations – no wires attached

The customized Fixed Wireless system with MPLS VPN Windstream implemented for the Titans is built on digital microwave technology designed to deliver carrier-grade Ethernet and IP traffic point-to-point over short distances. By going this route, rather than the more common practice of linking two buildings with fiber, Windstream was able to get the annex site up and running within a few weeks–at a cost savings of about $1,500 per month.

More importantly, quick deployment and cost savings came without sacrificing quality of service or speed. Communications and collaboration run smoothly between the two buildings, and those who moved to the annex continue to work just as they had before, without any IT-related compromise–even in bad weather.

An ideal offensive call for campus-expansion needs

When an organization succeeds at what they do, rapid expansion of facilities will be a fact of life. In those instances where the new space is located nearby within potential line of sight, Fixed Wireless can ensure that extending the existing network can easily support the move, without breaking the budget.

It’s just one way among many Windstream leverages advanced technology to assist customers with agility and economy that wasn’t achievable with traditional technologies. For the Tennessee Titans, “wireless communications” isn’t limited to the free customer experience enhancing WiFi enjoyed by the 70,000 fans who pack Nissan Stadium on game day. Wireless also serves the Titans’ behind the scenes team, helping keep the entire organization running at its peak.

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