Four executives from electric coops took center stage last week during ADTRAN Connect, depicting a region largely left alone by commercial carriers due to the cost of deployment and support. And this week, ADTRAN is again focusing on rural America with new deals.
Across the countryside, where acres separate houses and drivers cruise for miles without seeing another vehicle, the cost of delivering fiber-to-the-home is impractical for commercial operators. But just as they once brought electricity to regions unserved by public utilities, today's electric coops increasingly deliver high-speed FTTH to their members.
Fiber is expensive, after all, and operators have fiscal responsibilities to shareholders and employees, and the need to invest in infrastructures, new technologies and expensive content, said Steve Foshee, CEO of Tombigbee Electric Coop. But since coops are owned by and for their members, they have different rules.
In the case of Tombigbee Electric, it began connecting the first of its current roster of 2,500 customers in September 2017 and adds about 100 per month. Tombigbee is between 25% and 35% built out and has spent $16 million on the fiber broadband deployment; ultimately it expects to invest between $40 million and $45 million, Foshee said.
"We've got 450 miles constructed and 4,500 to go," he said. "We'll go down to two customers per mile. When we go down to two customers per mile, we're going to lose a ton of money. We know it."
Of the 44 million residents of rural America, 31% do not have access to home Internet that meets the minimum standard of 25Mbit/s download, 3Mbit/s upload, said Heather Gold, former president of the Fiber Broadband Association (and current board member), during ADTRAN Connect And there is no guarantee existing networks are future-proof, making it probably rural residents will lag further behind once gigabit broadband is available in all cities and suburbs and 5G arrives, she added.
FiberRise offers an array of services to complement coops' internal strengths and staffs; they include engineering and design, business services and chief technology officer. The coops plan to use ADTRAN's Total Access 5000 Gigabit services architecture, an open and scalable approach that provides future proofing and flexibility.
"We know how key fiber broadband is to the economic development of our community. Itís our aim to ensure affordable access to gig service for our members that wish to have it," said ADTRAN Connect panelist and NAEC General Manager Bruce Purdy.
NAEC, which has been installing fiber since 2014, has an average 8.5 customers per mile of line for a total of 5,000 -- and the implementation of broadband allowed businesses to start or reopen and allows families to move back home or relocate to the countryside and telecommute to city jobs.
"You're always going to have the people who want to come back home," Purdy said. "This is what allowed them to do it."
More than a half-million Irish residents expected to have fiber broadband by 2020. But Ireland's National Broadband Plan has not even begun ó and government officials today postponed any agreement again.
In a new report and searchable database, Broadband Now discovered fiber is the is the least expensive technology powering subscribers' connections. But the poorest, most rural residents pay the most for connectivity, regardless of underlying infrastructure.
As Vice President of Global Healthcare at AT&T, Maria Lensing oversees the telecommunications operator's technology and professional services offerings across the spectrum of medical providers, from solo practitioners and walk-in clinics to giant hospital chains, medical-device vendors and consulting firms. Lensing also sees more interest from traditional service providers -- cable and telecom operators looking to expand or build relationships with their own medical communities, perhaps as an adjunct to smart-home successes or standalone.
Lensing, who took on this role almost a year ago in May 2018, oversees both the sales and technical teams responsible for developing growth initiatives for AT&T's Global Healthcare business -- including products, services and industry-specific solutions. She also very actively promotes business minority inclusion, education and female empowerment programs and has been recognized both within and outside AT&T. Some awards she's received include "Top 40 Under 40" and "Super Woman in Business" from the Memphis Business Journal.
Join Maria Lensing, VP of Global Healthcare at AT&T, on Tuesday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. PT, when she's the guest on BBWN Radio, hosted by Broadband World News Editor Alison Diana. Register now!
So far, the agenda includes a discussion of technologies such as fiber and 5G; defining the needs and solutions for a widely diverse range of customers; partnering for success in a typically slow-moving, budget-constrained market; learning and dispersing best practices from other verticals and within other business groups; promoting diversity and female empowerment when so many say they're doing so but so little has changed; and what she hopes to accomplish in another year in this role.
Register and post your questions for Maria on BBWN Radio's easy-to-use chat board. We will get to as many questions as possible. Please post questions before and during the broadcast. Once you've registered, you will be led to the chat board page. Talk to you on April 23!
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on February 14 at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT / 4 p.m. UK when John Isch, Practice Director of the Network and Voice Center of Excellence at Orange Business Services, discusses use cases, ROI and misconceptions of software-defined wide-area networks, virtualization and cloud.
Just when you thought the answer to your next technology direction question was clear, the noise around multiple new technology options fills the Internet and airwaves. Multiple 5Gs are being deployed; there's CableLabs' 10G initiative; the ITU and IEEE are toiling around 50G PON Ė and we havenít even talked about Wi-Fi6 yet! Is any of this real, do you have to pay attention or can you just let the dust settle and then decide?
Since waiting is often not the best option, letís demystify technology options, their impact on your business, and how to prepare for whatever the future brings.
In this webinar, Service Providers will learn:
Current state of 5G and how it affects everyone, not only mobile network providers.
Latest technologies being developed and how they will benefit their networks and subscribers.
How to prepare their networks for the future Ė whatever it may hold.