Next generation trends

With next generation national broadband networks (NGNBNs) promising a sea change in the way people perceive telecom services, Hadi Raad, senior associate at Booz and Co’s communication and technology practice, tells CommsMEA about the type of services that could emerge and how operators can capitalise on them.

Tags: Booz and CompanyBroadbandFibre ChannelUnited Arab Emirates
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Next generation trends RAAD: Operators will need to take a slice of the services market.
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By  Roger Field Published  November 17, 2009 Communications Middle East & Africa Logo

What type of services do you think will be used on NGNBNs?

The NGN network and the NGN broadband network is going to enable seamless communication, ubiquitous access, and will introduce intelligence into service offerings, as well as bringing an expanded range of satisfaction through the high bandwidth that it will enable.

Certainly, faster information exchange, real-time collaboration and virtualisation are shaping the applications landscape leading to rise of next-generation broadband applications, characterised by high interactivity and bandwidth intensity.

New generation broadband access will provide a range of enhanced services to both households and enterprises. All these applications are increasingly further distinguished by their near symmetrical upload and download requirements.

If we think of what are the key applications and solutions that NGNs are going to provide, there are many applications, starting from basic digital telephony to streaming videos, HD IPTV, more advanced high resolution video conferencing and high definition TV, all the way to advanced applications such as telepresence and 3D television.

The first service that is being planned at this stage I would say is IPTV. There are always lots of talks about online games, however the games that have spread require limited bandwidth. The first real application that is coming up that will require significant bandwidth particularly on the access side is the IPTV.

IPTV could be an imminent NGN broadband application: Forecasts indicate around 10% of broadband subscribers will have IPTV in the next few years. IPTV household penetration in France, for example, has already exceeded 20%.

First we will see lots of applications that are also bandwidth demanding and bandwidth intensive over the IPTV itself, other than the regular pay TV and video on demand, we could see also gaming over IPTV, teleshopping and 3D video. And music could also be a big are of potential, moving forward.

Telepresence, telemedicine, virtual presence are of course applications in the pipeline. I do not see them as the immediate parts of the applications kicking in, but definitely they have kicked in elsewhere in the world where there are significant revenue potential in these services. For example there are some forecasts that indicate the market for telemedicine could be worth around EUR20 billion ($29 billion) in Europe by 2012. Telemedicine is definitely coming our way.

Online gaming is also coming, we are going to see more and more users playing online games and virtual games and virtual sports, games communities - that is something coming and it could be a big market. Online gaming in Europe and the Middle East for example could reach around $5 billion by 2012.

How are operators getting involved in NGNBNs?

We are seeing lots of NGN investments by the incumbents, and we are seeing lots of investments on the access side whether they are being subsidised or are being driven by competitive pressures. We are seeing higher speeds and higher bandwidth being offered here in the region. The price is probably still high and that could be either driven by network constraints not to drive demand beyond the current capability, but prices are being revised and dropped continuously.

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