Building Customer Retention in a Changing Broadband Market

Who doesn’t love having all this great stuff at your fingertips to stream these days? It’s how I get almost all of my entertainment: TV and movies from Netflix and YouTube, music from SoundCloud or another music streaming service. Probably like you, I really rely on the bandwidth being there. And then there are the days when I work from home, where reliable performance is, well, critical.

Now add all the other people out there like me, plus the world of dedicated gamers online, and it’s not surprising that today’s broadband providers are feeling more pressure than ever to meet this growing bandwidth demand and satisfy appeals for greater speed and lower latency.

And those demands are only going to escalate. Live video streaming alone is expected to grow by 15x in the next five years.1 This will be happening at the same time that things like 8K Ultra HD and virtual reality (VR) are finding a bigger audience. Online gaming as well as cloud and B2B applications (e.g., diagnostics) are having a big effect too. More people are also expected to start working from home. In the U.S. alone that number is estimated to jump from 36% in 2017 to more than 50% in the next decade.2 That’s huge.

Then just consider the added strain on the home network, and the gateway in particular, with the proliferation of connected devices in the home. Consumers want fast, reliable connectivity and when it falls short of expectations, the first place they call for help is their service provider. Complaint calls lead to service calls, which are costly and time consuming.

Dealing with fragmented networks

Complicating matters further is the fact that many service providers must cope with fragmented access networks that use both legacy twisted pair and fiber to the home (FTTH). This drives up operating costs, as does deploying multiple types of customer premises equipment (CPE), each supporting a different access technology. Think DSL, G.fast, DOCSIS, or passive optical networks (PONs).

The arrival of new access technologies in the home will add to the urgency to adapt. Intelligent gateways, with support for a combination of access technologies and strong security and privacy protection, address future needs.

A fiber-to-home plan of action

So what’s to be done? Well, responding starts with finding an FTTH strategy that will be scalable and cost-effective—and boost subscriber retention. Service providers need a network that has a clear path forward towards fiber, for which the next step in deployment will be 10G PON (10G EPON, XG-PON1 and XGS-PON).

Solutions need to be found in particular to:

  • Migrate smoothly from DSL toward fiber
  • Future proof for fiber from GPON to 10G PON and beyond
  • Reduce gateway diversity while maintaining flexibility on WAN connectivity
  • Offer a cost-efficient gateway portfolio in the years of transition from Copper/Cable to FTTH

The time for sustained gigabit per second speed to the home is coming and that is exactly what 10G PON technology enables. Service providers have already deployed solutions in China, Korea, and Japan. They have learned that fiber service is a cost-effective way to satisfy performance demands in their access FTTx networks.

There is also this significant fact: As users move to faster connections, it creates whole new opportunities for service providers to develop innovative new services and new revenue streams. That could be a real game changer.

A 10G PON solution should not only support today’s fiber network upgrades, but it should also be able to support ITU or IEEE PON environments, such as EPON, 10G-EPON, GPON, XG-PON1, XGS-PON, NG-PON2, and active optical Ethernet. And how great would it be if you could actually extend your current investments by reusing existing fiber infrastructure?

Keeping customers happy

The demand for new solutions is there. The market is ready. With PON, service providers can resolve current challenges involving speed, performance, and latency. In the end, it all comes back to providing that standout experience for customers, and 10G PON is ready to deliver. I for one can’t wait to see what’s next.

If you want to learn how Intel is enabling the connected home transformation, visit intel.com/connectedhome.


1. Cisco white paper, “The Zettabyte Era: Trends and Analysis,” June 7, 2017, com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/vni-hyperconnectivity-wp.html.

2. Upwork and Freelancers Union, “Freelancers predicted to become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade, with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing, annual ‘Freelancing in America’ study finds,” October 17, 2017, com/press/2017/10/17/freelancing-in-america-2017/.