Month: June 2010

Full Circle

Imagine if: The wrong path

With the World Cup in progress, I’ve seen more discussion about ESPN’s “360” subscription model, (now called “ESPN3“) and we’ve seen one or two requests from customers that subscribe to ESPN3 for all of its customers.

However, I have real concerns about what ESPN is attempting to do. I do not believe that we should accept a model that attempts to duplicate Pay TV on the Internet.

Doing so would be a U-Turn away from the open Internet.

With Pay TV, when you subscribe to a package of cable channels, the carrier pays a few cents to a few dollars for each channel or group of channels, and from that builds a set of channel line-ups.

À la carte television has been talked about for years, but the linear/bundling model has been an unbreakable one in television due to the hold that content creators have over how their content is delivered. For example, if carriers want one channel, they may be forced to take others along with it (this is why you have all those shopping channels.) And, channels often come with restrictions – they must be grouped together, they must be in the lower X number of channels, etc. These restrictions end up dictating what can and what must be in each tier of Pay TV service. (Read: Wired, Where’s My à la Carte TV?)

The Internet should not accept this model. If it were carried to its logical conclusion this model would have every site charging the ISP, who would pass on the costs to all customers, whether they want the content or not. You would end up with a fragmented Internet experience, and paying for content you do not want.

Today the Internet is “à la carte”, and it should remain that way, with neutrality protection for both content providers and connection providers. End-users should be empowered to subscribe to the pay services that they themselves choose, rather than being forced to pay for services they may not want. Successful examples of this include Netflix and Pandora, with Hulu headed this way as well.

As we move to an OTT video world, lets not drag the old Pay TV model with us.

For more on moving to OTT, see the great guide from PBS: Your Guide to Cutting the Cord to Cable TV and for ongoing advocacy for a la carte, follow on Twitter: TV A La Carte.

(A note regarding the attached image: this illustration imagines a future where Internet sites are bundled into tiers of sorts – the ESPN3 model is even worse than this – all users pay, across the entire ISP.)

Upcoming Fusion Product Changes

In the near future we will be improving the Fusion product, moving to a fast and simple configuration that delivers more capabilities at a very aggressive single price point.

This new single product will offer broadband as fast as the line will go (uncapped ADSL2+, up to 20Mbps), plus nationwide voice telephone service, all for one flat fee.

Current customers with standalone data only service will be invited to add voice at that time as an upgrade.  For some tiers, this would be a small additional cost, for others it will be a wash or a cost reduction from their current price.

That said, if you are absolutely sure that you do not ever want voice and that you prefer one of the slower “capped” speed tiers of service, you should order now.  The tiered products will only be available for sale until the new flat rate service launches.

Once online, customers who are on one of the various tiered services (1.5, 3.0, 6.0Mbps products) can retain those speed capped services, or upgrade to uncapped with voice at their option.

Questions? Post a comment and we’ll try to get them answered!

Fusion with voice

Bell Speaking into Telephone, 1876

I had a conversation today via Fusion Voice at my home. Very cool. Telephone is old news, but it’s still really exciting to be able to do it ourselves! It’s one big milestone in being a carrier.

I enjoyed this:

In 1877, construction of the first regular telephone line from Boston to Somerville, Massachusetts was completed.

By the end of 1880, there were 47,900 telephones in the United States.

Source: – Telephone History

You can learn more at Wikipedia about the telephone and Alexander Graham Bell.