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Internet of things will play major role in ultrafast broadband growth

Tuesday, October 21st 2014 by Dean Reilly

Home entertainment may be the main stimulus for gigabit expansion, two broadband experts have said.

Lincoln Lavoie, senior engineer at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory, predicted that the internet of things will play a major role in the growth of ultrafast broadband.

Speaking to Cable.co.uk at the Broadband World Forum event in Amsterdam, Mr Lavoie told us: “We're just now starting to see what's in the home evolving even more.

“More advanced video services, smart televisions, home automation systems, home surveillance systems, video monitoring. All of these new technologies that are evolving in the home are driving this new (gigabit) ecosystem.”

Chief executive of the Broadband World Forum Robin Mersh agreed, noting that the UK in particular had reached a “landmark” in broadband demand.

He said: “You look at certain countries that have very high bandwidth usage, like the UK, it's all been driven by iPlayer. The iPlayer usage has just gone through the roof.

“You look at that kind of market and you need to upgrade them. That's where we're at. People don't just need basic service, they're looking for that upgrade.”

However, Mr Mersh acknowledged, what’s equally important for consumers is how accessible and easy to use the technology is and how much it costs. He added: “I think for consumers the really important thing is as long as you a hitting the right price point, it's easy to install, you're not going to inconvenience them, and they're getting the bandwidth they want.

“If you can do all those things you don't need to explain anything to them. They just go ‘great’.

“Think about what are the operators trying to do. The operators are trying to reach as many of their subscribers at a high enough bandwidth to deliver the services that are expected.

So you've got most consumers looking for as high speeds as they think they need – and that's a bit of a debatable point – they want multiple devices doing high speed internet, they want to stream probably on every single one of them, they want a couple of different TVs, probably being in high definition.

“And so from their point of view consumers don't care what that access method is, and to be honest most of the operators only really care In the sense that they want to deliver the services that consumers want. But they want to do it as cost effectively as they can.”

Additional reporting by Ellen Branagh

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