Big Cable's "10G" campaign betrays fear of wireless 5G networks


5G networks are about to become a big project, with promises of big speed increases that could even one day compete with traditional broadband (just ask D-Link, which announced a 5G home router to CES 2019). And apparently, the idea of ​​this kind of competition has somewhat scared traditional cable companies, as this week at CES, NCTA and other cable companies have announced their new "10G" initiative, which must be greater than 5G: after all, 10 is a whole two times as much as 5!

Before starting to analyze this nonsense, a terminology note: 5G, as a name, refers to the 5th generation of cellular connectivity technologies (to recap: 1G was an analog cellular technology, 2G was digital with GPRS and EDGE data , 3G Data was faster, and 4G is our current LTE network.) 5G is supposed to be fast, promising at speeds of several gigabits without requiring the deployment of expensive cables or infrastructure. And while it remains to be seen at this level, it's easy to understand why a cable company might worry if this type of wireless speed should materialize.

The new 10G brand introduced here does not refer to a generational number, but rather to the type of network that the various global cable groups hope to achieve: 10 gigabits. If this is achieved, it would be a quantum leap from current networks, which tend to capture about 1 Gbps for a real subscriber with the best and fastest connections available in the United States.

It's all ridiculous

The problem is that the entire marketing initiative is ridiculous and boils down to an overly slippery website that promises the kind of technology. that we are still years of in what looks like a thinly veiled attempt to make 5G a technology before he's taking off. It is not useful to know that there is virtually no detail on how these speeds will be achieved, apart from some vague statements about the use of existing cable networks alongside new technologies and the new material, which does not mean much.

To make this whole marketing campaign more absurd is that most people do not even have an Internet close to 1 Gbps. It is possible that the assertion of the 10G website that "most of the US already has access to 1 Gigabit per second speeds for the home Internet connection" may be technically accurate given the concentration of the population. in urban areas. However, according to the FCC Broadband Report, the median download speed for US broadband customers was only 72 Mbps in September 2017, which is far below 1 Gbps, still less than 10 Gbps .

In an interview with United States todayMichael Powell, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCTA (and former FCC President) acknowledged that "the naming convention is a bit of an out-of-the-ordinary deal for me" and said he does not necessarily see it as a 5G scenario vs broadband. "They really work in tandem to offer consumer experiences."

And working to provide better and more reliable Internet speeds is not a bad thing in itself! But that's the way the coalition of cable companies is doing – a mix of petty marketing and excessive congratulatory messages for the current high-speed broadband – that leaves me with a bad taste in the mouth.

But whether or not it seems unlikely that the "10G" push goes anywhere. Considering that cable companies such as NCTA, CableLabs and Cable Europe are all involved, as well as cable companies such as Comcast, Charter, Cox, Rogers and Vodafone, it is highly likely that we will hear about 10G for years to come. come. According to this announcement, laboratories are already developing and testing a 10 gigabit Internet connection. Field trials are planned for 2020.

I will, however, give this to the 10G initiative: unlike 5G, at least they took the time to design a half-decent logo.