With a 3-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to end the digital divide next month -- but don't expect any improvement in broadband connectivity if you live in rural or under-served regions of the United States.
While many nations including Italy, Australia and Hong Kong are in various stages of nationwide gigabit broadband deployment, at its Feb. 3 meeting the FCC is widely expected to include 10Mbit/s upstream and 1Mbit/s downstream wireless broadband services in its definition of broadband, Hot Hardware reported.
Wired broadband classification would remain the same: 25Mbit/s down, 1Mbit/s up. But the FCC's plan would include a wireless broadband spec -- 10Mbit/s down, 1 Mbit/s up -- then use the combination of faster (albeit nowhere near high-speed) and wireless (slow and often costly) to decide whether a region already receives broadband coverage. The FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai has discussed this approach for a while. Now, the day of reckoning looms only weeks away. (See Broadband Downgrade: How the FCC Is Failing the Nation )
In other words, rural residents who can connect to the Internet via wireless speeds of at least 10Mbit/s will no longer be deemed "uncovered" and, therefore, their regions will no longer be eligible for federal or other government funding to deploy fiber-based broadband. No doubt urban regions without fiber immediately will lose their eligibility since it's tough to imagine any area of a city, regardless of income level, lacks cellular service. With the elasticity of this revised definition, the number of people on the wrong side of the digital divide dramatically is reduced.
Of course, they still cannot log on to telehealth systems, videoconference with education or work colleagues, access streaming media or live in a smart home. But if the vote goes through, they may be comforted in the knowledge that three people in Washington, D.C. (home to almost 40 ISPs using everything from fiber DOCSIS 3.1 to VDSL, including Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and RCN Corp. ), think 10Mbit/s down, 1 Mbit/s up via cell phone is more than enough to power broadband connectivity in the US in 2018.
The industry organization's major initiatives will address broadband differentiation based on quality of experience, global test labs for services, 5G, multi-access strategies and more, say CEO Robin Mersh and CMO Geoff Burke in an interview with BBWN.
Mike Zeto, GM of AT&T's Smart Cities division, expects metro areas to adopt platforms to manage multi-departmental IoT solutions once internal processes are aligned and more agencies are involved in smart city applications.
Fiber optic cable vendor Prysmian Group is now shipping its FlexRibbon Technology-based, US-sourced and made 6912 fiber MassLink Cable to service providers seeking densification for 5G or solutions for filled ducts.
Consumers are buying millions of IoT devices, from smart thermostats and security systems to intelligent entertainment setups and furniture. Yet many of these devices remain isolated because home users are uncomfortable connecting them to each other – or even their WiFi. After all, their WiFi network was probably designed only to handle a few laptops, a gaming system and a couple of smartphones. Now, demand on the network is surging and even though you're delivering 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, that doesn't necessarily mean the broadband power is in the right place or reaches every corner of a home.
Even if WiFi coverage is sufficient, typing is not on trend. Voice is far more natural, easier and faster. Using a TV keyboard is archaic when more and more households have access to cloud-based voice services, like Amazon Alexa. This webinar will explore how service providers can create a comfortable, truly smart home for consumers – simultaneously driving up margin and loyalty.
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on Thursday, November 1 at 8 a.m. PT, 11 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. UK as Ronan Kelly, CTO, EMEA & APAC Regions at ADTRAN, explores the five pillars of network integrity -- a topic he discussed during his recent Broadband World Forum keynote. Register now!