Got backhaul issues‾ Blog "Ëœem!
That's the idea behind the "ËœBackhaul Blog', a blog launched by Cambridge Broadband Networks - who, by no coincidence, specializes in cellular backhaul solutions like point-to-multipoint microwave.
It's fairly well understood - although not all cellcos admit this in public - that as 3G data finally takes off thanks to flat rate plans and the iPhone, cellcos are facing a serious bottleneck issue in their base station backhaul links, which tend to be just a couple of E1s per tower, and already accounts for 30% of opex.
The challenge is figuring out what solutions are available and which ones are right for a given cellco. Lance Hiley, market strategy VP at Cambridge Broadband, says that a blog focused on the backhaul issue will spur badly-needed discussion between mobile operators, analysts and journalists alike on the scope of the problem, the challenges involved and potential solutions.
Presumably rival backhaul vendors are also welcome (although the Cambridge press release doesn't actually say this -- but it doesn't tell them to go away, either). It'll be interesting to see how many of them are willing to discuss the backhaul problem on a competitor-moderated blog.
The Backhaul Blog is only a few days old, so there's little to see at the moment. But in theory it's not a bad idea.
In practice, though, it's hard to get good discussions going on blogs. It's usually the same small percentage of registered users who bother posting or commenting, and everyone has an axe to grind - especially in the tech business, where some people tend to get precious and defensive about a particular technology or solution. (Except for blogs like this one. Obviously.)
But why not‾ Backhaul is a legitimate issue that needs addressing, and it's complex enough that cellcos will need whatever resources they can to navigate the playing field and work out a strategy.
[For more information - not to mention a cracking assessment of the backhaul situation - see the July issue of Telecom Asia, out this week!]