Parks Associates Blog

Friday, October 08, 2010

How many U.S. homes can use Cisco ūmi™ telepresence?

I had discussed some initial thoughts about Cisco ūmi™ telepresence in an earlier post, and I had mentioned that the high price of the equipment and monthly fee would be a large deterrent to mass-market acceptance. However, what about the broadband infrastructure required? If you read the requirements that Cisco has, it's a broadband upload speed of at least 1.5 Mbps to accomodate a 720p resolution, and 3.5 Mbps for 1080p. That got us thinking about the number of homes in the U.S. that could even be eligible today. Cisco says that 31 million homes have the capabilities for ūmi today, and this figure will grow to 62 million, but we wondered if broadband upload speeds would be a constraint.

According to a report from the Communications Workers of America, the the average upload speed in the U.S. was only 1.1 Mbps. Also, as the Federal Communications Commission is advocating the nationwide availability of a 4 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream service, it notes the limitations today of services that are somewhat comparable. The FCC says that the current advertised broadband packages that come closest to their Plan are those with 3 Mbps/6 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps/1.5 Mbps upstream. The FCC reports that only 39% of cable broadband subscribers choose to subscribe to at least a 3 Mbps down/768 kbps upstream.

I’ve got FiOS 15 Mbps downstream service, and it only gives me 1.7-1.8 Mbps upstream, so I wonder how many consumers would really be able to enjoy the full benefit of ūmi.

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