Broadband Forum has launched its User Services Platform (USP) Agent Certification Program, providing assurance and confidence for service providers and consumer electronics companies looking to generate new revenues from Internet of Things (IoT) services, cloud-based business models, and Wi-Fi and security management.
In a significant step forward for the Connected Home market that signals industry readiness, the USP Agent Certification Program is Broadband Forum’s first to use a self-certification model – allowing companies to cost-effectively test any broadband or consumer connected device against the Conformance Test Plan for User Services Platform Agents (TP-469) standard.
This will greatly accelerate interoperability by streamlining companies’ ability to perform repeatable, automated testing on their own while preserving the integrity of the results and overall value of certified products by testing against rigorous standards.
Companies can self-test their products using an accredited test tool, which provides secure results for validation by a Broadband Forum approved laboratory or can submit products directly to the approved laboratory for testing. Products that have been validated will be recognized with a logo and certification ID and posted on Broadband Forum’s product registry website along with a list of the product’s supported features.
Broadband Forum CEO, Robin Mersh has congratulated the broadband industry on its response to COVID-19 and how it has risen to the challenge of the unprecedented spike in traffic it brought. But he warned the pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for work to continue on automation and bridging the digital divide.
Speaking as Broadband Forum’s Q2 meeting took place virtually for the first time in the Forum’s history, Mersh said the crisis – which saw lockdowns introduced globally – emphasizes the critical role broadband plays in society. This means, he said, that it is no longer acceptable for nearly half (45%) of the world’s population to remain unconnected.
According to Mersh, the coronavirus outbreak has also further highlighted the growing need for operators to deliver on emerging trends such as zero-touch installations, the Connected Home and the new era of connectivity that 5G is set to bring.
“The introduction of lockdowns brought an exceptional increase in broadband traffic – the growth which operators have been expecting over the next several years suddenly came in a matter of days and weeks, and it is a credit to the industry that networks have delivered so well on this demand,” said Mersh. “But the pandemic has shown the importance of prioritising work to bridge the digital divide with cost-effective ‘state of the art’ broadband technologies. There is still a lot of work to do to ensure our networks can meet future needs across the world, especially in areas that are currently not connected.”
The French Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Post (Arcep) has released its annual report on the French telecoms market.
Among the findings, the report found that 2019 saw operators invest €500m more than in 2018, for an overall total (excluding spending on frequencies) of €10.4bn.
According to Arcep, this is the third year in a row that the increase in investment is due mainly to a rise in operators’ spending on fiber deployments. At the end of 2019, 18.3m premises were eligible to subscribe to a fiber access plan, which represents 4.8m additional access lines deployed in a single year. Alongside this record growth is the steadily increasing pace of fiber adoption, 7.1 million households had adopted fiber technology by the end of 2019 – a rise of 2.3m year-on-year.
Communications Service Providers (CSPs), such as wireless network operators, incumbent telecommunications companies, cable network businesses and internet service providers, will be central in the ecosystem needed to deliver on the promise of seamless and purpose-built digital services in the Future Home, according to a new book from Accenture.
‘The Future Home in the 5G Era: Next Generation Strategies and Business Models for Hyper-Connected Living’ was written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but details a Future Home concept that is built on a foundation of human needs that have only come into more focus as the global crisis develops.
The book paints a picture of hyper-connected homes that offer personalized services from home for remote-work and learning, healthcare and telemedicine, social communications, immersive entertainment, community relations, childcare and advanced aging care. CSPs’ history of trusted consumer relationships and technology capabilities, specifically with 5G, will enable them to create new business models that drive platform-based innovation and reinvent customer experiences within the Future Home walls and out.
“The recent challenges spurred by the COVID-19 global pandemic have only highlighted the importance of the home. More of the global population now works from home, educates children at home, games and entertains and even interacts with doctors at home. This changes the definition of the home and CSPs can mobilize to adapt to these changes to play a critical role in supporting consumers, businesses and governments in the Future Home,” said Jefferson Wang, Global 5G Offering Co-Lead and Managing Director, Accenture.
Deutsche Telekom has announced that it will be able to connect 50% of the German population to 5G by mid-July. The operator has deployed 12,000 5G base stations to date.
“This is the largest 5G initiative in Germany,” said Telekom Deutschland CEO, Dirk Wössner. “We are bringing 5G to urban and rural areas for half of the German population and we are now reaching this milestone earlier than planned”
“Despite the Coronavirus crisis, we have expanded 5G without detours. Our networks have worked reliably. In addition to the current situation, our technicians have made more than 12,000 antennas fit for 5G.”
According to a report from The Center for Business and Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, U.S. fixed and mobile networks out-performed Europe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. fixed broadband download speeds exceeded speeds in the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) by a wide margin. Based on Ookla’s speed tests from March 2 to June 7, the U.S. mean download speed during the pandemic was 138 Mbps while the weighted mean download speeds of the EU, (Germany, France, Italy and Spain) and OECD were 102 Mbps, 106 Mbps and 89 Mbps, respectively.
“Three factors that may account for the performance are the high level of investment in telecommunications by U.S. carriers, the prevalence of high-speed fixed-broadband networks in the United States, and a light-touch regulatory environment,” said Anna-Maria Kovacs, senior policy scholar, Center for Business and Public Policy.
Service providers’ investments in upgrading their networks gave them additional bandwidth capacity headroom prior to the pandemic’s outbreak and the ensuing stay-at-home policies or outright quarantines that led to remote working and learning.