As of the end of 2012, the latest time period for which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has data, 69.7% of fixed Internet connections met the broadband speed threshold of 3 Mbit/s downstream and 768 kbit/s upstream. That’s a measurable increase over the 64% statistic cited only six months prior. Total fixed Internet subscriptions also rose from 90 million to 92.6 million in the second half of the year.
The mobile broadband trends are even more dramatic. Only 37.8% of mobile connections met the speed requirements for broadband classification, according to the FCC’s report, but that number marks a significant improvement over the 28% figure reported six months earlier. Total mobile Internet connections also jumped from 153 million in the middle of 2012 to 169.2 million at the end of that year.
While the FCC’s broadband access report paints a rosy picture, there are some mitigating factors to consider. Most notably, the jump in mobile connections coincides with an apparent growth trend in the percentage of American households that rely on wireless service as their sole source of Internet access.
The vision for Wi-Fi 2.0, or next-generation hotspots (NGH), as outlined by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), is for Wi-Fi roaming to become truly interoperable, whereby end users can seamlessly roam between Wi-Fi networks and providers. To facilitate this, there needs to be standardization across all elements involved–from mobile device to access point to service provider. In order for Wi-Fi roaming to become a truly disruptive innovation, there needs to be very little fragmentation in deployments. Wi-Fi service providers, mobile service providers, and hardware manufacturers must all work to the same guidelines and standards.
However, the reality is that ubiquity is still a long way off. Multiple providers, multiple standards, and a mix of legacy and NGH infrastructure remain in play. Support for the 802.1x/EAP standard is growing but limited, given that infrastructure rip-and-replace projects are costly and happen slowly. Market success for seamless Wi-Fi roaming requires a solution that spans multiple generations of Wi-Fi networks and can leverage the world’s current supply.
Newly uncovered data suggests that TV Everywhere is officially “hot.” The number of authenticated TV Everywhere streams doubled in 2013 to 574.2 million, up from 222.5 million in 2012, according to a just-released report. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of TV Everywhere streams are viewed on mobile devices. That number is not surprising: the purpose of TV Everywhere is to extend a video subscription across screens. Tablets seem to be the mobile device of choice, however, with the most views at 42%. Tablet’s share of TV Everywhere viewing has more than doubled year-over-year.
Viewers rely on the TV Everywhere service primarily for sports. The report stated that 37% of TV Everywhere streams are sports and 28% are TV shows. Apple users also take advantage of the service more than PC users: nearly 50% of TV Everywhere views comes from iPads, iPhones, and iPods. Specifically, iPad and iPod users watch more than 10 videos per visitor each month, twice that of PC users.
The U.S. television market fell a steep 9% in 2013, despite the usual last-minute rally in the fourth quarter, according to a new report. The annual holiday bump failed to compensate for low demand among Americans throughout the rest of the year. TV shipments in 2013 declined to 34.0 million units, down sharply from 37.5 million in 2012. The domestic television market consisted entirely of liquid-crystal display (LCD) and plasma display panel (PDP) sets, with old analog tube-type TVs having long been relegated to the dustbin of history, and rear-projection TVs last being sold in 2012.
Both the LCD and PDP segments lost volume in 2013 from a year earlier. LCD TV shipments slid to 31.9 million units, down 6%; while PDP TV shipments plunged 42% to 2.1 million. The report went on to note that the TV market in the United States has reached a point of saturation following a period of huge growth in years past, especially as the flat-panel-TV craze set in. As a result of the market’s maturity, and also because of lingering uncertainties in the economy, American consumers have been less eager to rush out and buy new replacement TV sets.
Over the first half of 2013, about $2.5 billion worth of mobile broadband modems and routers for computing and consumer electronics connectivity have shipped. For the full year, 92.1 million of these 3G and 4G modems and routers are forecast to be shipped worldwide to mobile network operators, retailers, and device manufacturers, a figure that represents flat growth since last year. The mix of modem form-factors is changing due to declining USB volumes, offset by increased mobile hotspot routers and embedded modem modules. Modem modules continue to garner most use from tablet purchases, especially through the inclusion in select iPad models, though the latest generations of Apple’s slate devices have shifted to a modem built-on the system board instead of a separate module added during manufacturing.
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