What are the characteristics of rural broadband customers? That is a question that Geoff Burke of Calix addresses in this exclusive interview filmed at the 2012 IP Possibilities Conference and Expo in Indianapolis. Calix has been gathering anonymous last-mile access data from over 45 rural broadband operators and 70,000 end-points through its Compass Flow Analyzer and just released a report with some interesting conclusions.
First and foremost, rural regions are not monolithic, with differences between different geographic regions. Data usage patterns are also dependent upon the type of applications (e.g. streaming video is different from telework is different from online gaming). This data can be important to the provider in terms of creating packages and bundles that appeal to different types of customers.
The size of the pipe matters, according to Burke. That is, the Calix data shows that three times (3x) the data usage on FTTH (Fiber to the Home) networks, as compared to copper-based, DSL networks. The implication is that communities with Fiber to the Home networks are finding new applications and opportunities afforded by the greater bandwidth of FTTH.
As Burke points out, this difference in data usage between copper and fiber has potentially huge policy implications in Washington. It could be evidence of some of the early concerns regarding the National Broadband Plan and the disparity in that plan between the minimum goals of 4 Mb/s for rural versus 100 Mb/s for urban areas (see, Is 4 Mb/s a Rural Dead End Road – http://www.viodi.tv/2010/08/04/is-4-mbs-a-dead-end-rural-road/).