If you thought 2017 was going to be quiet, think again. This year will be a huge year for broadband installers, especially for those who use high quality media panel and accessories. Policy decisions in Canada and the United States mean more fiber in North America. Telcos will turn their attention to serious issues such as capacity and security. They will also be more heavily involved in offering over-the-top (OTT) services.

Policy Will Push the Envelope

It’s rare that government agencies accelerate the pace of change, but in 2017 that’s going to happen for broadband. On December 21st, 2016 the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruled that broadband internet with 50 Mbps downloading and 10Mbps uploading speeds will now be considered a basic service. This baseline will encourage those consumers who were on the fence about an upgrade to give in to the need for speed.

American agencies have similar things to say about broadband. In a statement published December 30, 2016, Jessica Rosenworsel of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), declared:

“Broadband is not just a technology, it’s a platform for opportunity. Extending its reach across this country is our new manifest destiny because it is an essential part of modern economic and cultural life. It is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity.”

Both the CRTC and the FCC have made a commitment to ensure that high-speed internet is available to as many people, in their respective countries, as possible.

While it remains unclear how these agencies will ensure delivery of broadband, some telcos have already established programs to assist low-income families. Telus launched a program called Internet for Good that offers low-income families in BC and Alberta internet for $9.95/month.

Capacity Crunch

This year will see more people accessing the internet, and everyone who is online will use an increasing amount of bandwidth as video gains momentum on social platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. Not only that, with 4K TV being offered on Facebook and Youtube, each minute of video will take up more bandwidth. This bandwidth use has experts talking about the Capacity Crunch, an emerging debate about how much data our current and planned infrastructure can handle.

Broadband is not just a technology, it’s a platform for opportunity. It is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity. Click To Tweet

Data Security

As telcos in the EU ready themselves for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into effect in 2018, data security is going to be a hot topic. The GDPR increases the penalties for data breaches and makes it easier for individual citizens to seek compensation from service providers.

Any business with interests in the EU will want data security that meets the requirements of the GDPR, which means security will be a top priority for telcos everywhere.  More telcos will adopt business-wide encryption in 2017 to protect both data and infrastructure.

Going Over the Telco Top

Expect to see more telcos delivering OTT content – basically anything delivered via the internet that has other traditional delivery mechanisms. Services like Netflix, and HBO delivered online are examples of OTT content. Telcos often include Voice Over IP (VoIP) in their suite of services, but many of them now offer bundles that include OTT entertainment services such as live sports apps and Spotify accounts. This trend promises to continue in the coming year. Verizon even publishes an infographic outlining the 10 steps to launch an OTT service.

It’s going to be an interesting year with lots of questions to be answered. How are the FCC and CRTC going to get broadband into every home? What kind of security strategies will telcos come up with? And how many cool OTT services will your customers have to choose from at the end of this year?