Yottabyte Era of 2019: Verizon, Comcast and Arris Play Disruptor of The Last Mile


Over the last year in the telecom industry, all the conversation has been around GAFAN (Google + Apple + Facebook + Amazon + Netflix) and how they’re investing in dark fiber, undersea cabling systems, satellites, balloons, MVNOS and last mile infrastructure. A few Network Operators like Verizon and A&T responded with acquisitions. Verizon acquired AOL, EdgeCast and UpLynk.

AT&T acquired DirecTV and couple of wireless companies in Mexico. And Comcast rolled out a CDN, and invested a ton of money in EdgeConneX, a builder of last mile edge PoPs. EdgeConneX invested $500M in infrastructure so far, so Comcast must be up to something. Although these where significant events for these companies, they weren’t an earth shattering, industry impacting disruption that change the rules of the game. However, times have changed. Verizon, Comcast and even Arris have done something so significantly disruptive – that it changes to rules of the game for the entire global telecom industry.

2019 – The Year of the Yottabyte

It’s a nice surprise to see Verizon and Comcast make Google “esk” types moves in the last mile. Before we discuss the “what and why”, let’s regurgitate the Cisco VNI Report for the umpteenth time “IP traffic will reach 2 zettabytes per year” in 2019” according to the latest estimate dated May 2015. In addition, monthly IP Traffic is growing at “a CAGR of 23%” from 2014 to 2019.

Here we are three months later now, and we can throw out the 2 Zettabyte per year estimate. Perhaps the industry is aiming to low, and should instead ask the question – is 2019 the year of the Yottabyte, courtesy of Verizon, Comcast, Arris, and few others around the world.

  • 1 Zettabye = 1,000,000 Petabytes = 1,000,000,000 Terabytes
  • 1 Yottabyte = 1,000,000,000 Petabytes = 1,000,000,000,000 Terabytes

Most Significant News of the Last Month 

  • Comcast rolls out a CDN, and invest massive amounts of money in EdgeConneX, a leading builder of last mile edge PoPs
  • Verizon begins deployment of 5G in 2017, which is 30 to 50 times faster than 4G LTE
  • Arris R&D is working on upgrading existing DOCISIS (Protocol) systems to 200Gbps per household, which starts in the 2020 decade
  • Apple iPhone 6s incorporates new technology and supports 4k video recording/viewing, 23 spectrum bands of LTE, carrier aggregation-cable feature enabling iPhones to use 2.5Ghz spectrum (Sprint) at faster speeds, faster Wi-Fi, and much more

-Comcast is doing an all out assault on the last mile, bypassing traditional Tier 1 last mile carriers, and building infrastructure to support its own content.

-Verizon not only countered Google’s MVNO move, but they have disrupted the plans of the entire Wireless Operator ecosystem. Whereas many Operators were planning on deploying 5G in 2020, Verizon comes out three years ahead of schedule. And 5G is 30 to 50 time faster. Over time, that throughput is likely to sky rocket into the Gbps downstream range, which wil leverages next-gen Mobile + WiFi Networks.

-When Apple makes a move, everyone follows. The time frame for massive adoption of 4k video just shrunk by a few years. Thus, Apple is ready to take full advantage of the fast last mile connectivity

-Arris CTO Tom Cloonan recently spoke at the CableLabs Summer Conference Innovation Showcase about upgrading existing DOCSIS to 200Gbps using some extremely innovative techniques

Arris Presentation Highlights

  • One goal for the 2020 decade is to push existing DOCSIS infrastructure to support 200Gbps per cable household
  • Two ways of accomplishing 200Gbps: 1) abandon HFC and move to new technology like PON or Point-to-point Ethernet technology 2) Extend the capacity and life-span of existing HFC/DOCSIS network mimicking the way carriers extended the lifespan of the 100 year twisted pair
  • Telco’s extended the lifespan of the basic twisted pair from 1.5Mbps HDSL Service in 1995 to 1Gbps in 2016. That equates to 700x improvement in 21 years
  • Telcos accomplished the 700x improvement by decreasing copper length and loss via the stretching out fiber
  • Arris can use the same approach to dramatically increase throughput for HFC over Coax
  • New architectures are being tested such as Fiber to the Tap (FTTT) and Fiber to the Curb (FTTC); also increasing the spectrum from 1Ghz to 6Ghz helps the cause
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