Month: August 2010

BT: You are doing it wrong.

On the other side of the pond, BT recently turned on Annex M support in their ADSL2+ network in the UK. Annex M is an ADSL2+ configuration profile that allows for a trade of downstream speed for more upstream speed on a broadband connection. BT’s fee for Annex M: £7, or almost $11 per month to their wholesale ISP customers.

Network World covered the story, and the folks at Entanet are pretty positive about the new capability. Entanet offers wholesale access to BT’s ADSL2+ network, and they say to ISPs who use the network, regarding Annex M, “Most importantly – How do you make money from it?”

BT and Entanet are missing the point. Annex M is a capability without a cost in the edge of the network, and the right way to do it is to include it as a flexible option for customers at no charge.

Yes, bandwidth costs money. But BT provides layer-2 hand off of broadband end users to ISPs, so the ISP covers the cost of any additional upstream bandwidth usage. BT’s £7 fee is just to turn on the Annex M feature – they have no additional costs for bandwidth.

The folks at ThinkBroadband call out this quote from BT’s spokesperson. (Note: “our customers” refers to ISPs that BT wholesales to.)

“Annex M allows our customers to expand their portfolio and so find themselves in a better position to tailor – and differentiate – their broadband services by matching them more precisely to the needs of individual businesses. Annex M is just one of the one of the number of broadband developments to help our customers deliver an ever better customer experience and grow their sales in the mixed economy marketplace.”
Colin Annette, (Client Director) BT Communication Service Provider Group

Hint: “tailor – and differentiate” are code words for “charge more”.

BT misses the point.

The opportunity BT ignores is the opportunity to deliver flexibility to the customer. Let the customer choose if they want more downstream (Annex A) or more upstream (Annex M). The carriers edge costs are the same!

There is no reasonable basis for a £7 fee, BT is just doing their own “tailoring” – to their customers wallets.

NFL, Not Quite Over The Top

I’ve talked about OTT video in the past, and we have debated the merits of the ESPN3 broadband offering here as well. So I was really excited to read news coverage (via Yahoo! Sports) that said DirecTV and the NFL have teamed up to offer the full NFL Sunday Ticket package to broadband subscribers directly.

I thought, what a great move by DirecTV and NFL!

This is the right model for content providers: go direct to consumers, and use the Internet as a delivery mechanism. It has worked for the airlines, book stores, and even shoes, and OTT video will also win out over subscription TV in the long run. has done it well, and would be great to see the NFL headed this way as well.

But what seems to have been overlooked in the story is that this offering is NOT actually available to everyone.

Instead, it is only available to those who for technical or physical reasons cannot obtain DirecTV satellite service! The offering was initially made in Manhattan, where towers might block satellite signals, or building HOAs might not allow dishes.

But sorry, unless you really cannot obtain DirecTV service, no Broadband NFL end run for you this fall.

If you DO want to subscribe to DirecTV satellite service, remember that you can bundle it with broadband which saves you $10/mo for 18 months.

Summer 2010 BBQ

By way of apology for any inconvenience while we closed tech support down for a Saturday afternoon, I’m sharing some pics from our recent BBQ.  You can find the full gallery of pics here.