When we did FTTH at $previous_employer, it really was the
first time an operator (albeit a competitive) was bundling
voice, video and data on an end-to-end fibre connection to
the home (even the incumbent's solution was FTTB, and then
copper (Ethernet or VDSL) to the home.
To make the service more utilitarian, we didn't do the
selling or marketing. We left it to our partner (the Tv
network, primarily a satellite Tv provider) to sell it,
brand it their own, e.t.c. We were happy with just a
"Powered By" at the bottom of their web site or sales
Made sense, since they had the customer base, market
visibility, back-end after-sales support and cash in the
bank to do so.
Their bundling made sense to customers:
- Tv channels were packaged based on customer
- Voice plans were simple.
- Internet access was either 6Mbps, 12Mbps or
24Mbps, with an option to "boost" ("boost" is
easier for Joe Blog to understand than "burst") to
50Mbps via a web tool the customer can use at
- Multi-screen view options inside the home.
- How many simultaneous live streams can you view
while you record others.
And that was it.
As a provider, we ensured that there was sufficient capacity
delivered to each home to make the above possible. In this
case, it was 100Mbps (GPON), but could have also been 1Gbps
We realized that customers didn't care how much bandwidth
was required to watch their favorite channel in HD. They
just wanted to watch their favorite channel in HD. How it
all works is not their problem, and they don't want to know
or care to be impressed by the details.
What would drive network expansion would be what services
customers wanted. If customers suddenly wanted 100% of their
channels in HD, at 1080p, they would ask for and pay for
that. If it means delivering 1Gbps to every home to do that,
so be it; it was never going to become the customer's
They just want what they want, and more often than not, they
don't want bandwidth (which is what ISP's typically know how
to sell) - they just don't want video/audio buffering.
Sounds like the same thing, but from a customer's point of
view, it's not the same thing.
If, as service providers, we can get ourselves to that point
(either at a corporate level or with external help from
policy and legislation), Internet will, thus, have become a
Your guess is as good as mine if that will ever happen. And
given that content owners are the ones "who appear" most
interested in the customer experience, 21st century
traditional ISP's need to watch their backs.