Re: [ZDNet] Broadband disappoints customers.

Ian Andrew Bell (
Tue, 08 Dec 1998 14:26:25 -0800

Still hanging around;

What's at issue here is not whether cablemodems are better than DSL -- I
don't buy into the theory that one is "beating" the other in any sort of
performance contest. What's at issue is the network management
standards imposed by the LECs and CableCos that implement the equipment.
Many @Home partners are simply trying to hang too many households off of
one lead. It's like putting your entire campus backbone on one 10BaseT
hub and complaining that 10BaseT sucks.

Architecturally, CableModems are a much better technology than DSL for
several reasons:

1) CableModems are more like the internet in that self-organizing
engineering principles drive closer to the home. This means that
some of the economies generally associated with internetworking
propagate to the residential gateway as well. DSL is still based
on the tried-and-true (but cost prohibitive) circuit-switched model
of service delivery, versus the shared pipe (and ultimately the
optimization) of CM's.
2) CableModems allow the service provider who already delivers CCTV
services to enter two brand new markets -- data services, and
telephony. DSL is simply an adaptation of already existing data
connectivity but is still not adequate, in terms of bandwidth, for
doing CCTV. DSL actually cannibalizes hefty Frame Relay, ISDN,
and T1 data service revenues from TelCos.
3) Cablemodems are less sensitive to the loop distance vs. bandwidth
degradation and variability that DSL suffers from.

What everybody's doing is really throwing the baby out with the bath-
water here. CableModems are great (and just because I help to license
the technology to CE manufacturers doesn't cloud my vision) and will
be, according to a Forrester report, the dominant means of residential
access in the marketplace by 2002.

You're doing the technology a disservice when you discard it because of
some questionable network design practises. The fact of the matter is
that, until there are some services available over cable modem that we
are actually willing to PAY for, then there's very little companies
like TCI and @Home can do to lower their costs apart from consolidating
network segments and constraining bandwidth.

I mean, does anyone really think that $40/mo. helps the CableCo recover
their costs, even if you ONLY consider customer acquisition costs,
even as long as two or three years?

If you think that's bad, wait until you see the business case for DSL..

Ian Andrew Bell
Business Development Manager 408.525.8630
Global Alliances Partners Engineering 800.365.4578
Cisco Systems Inc. .:|:..:|:.