BBWN Bites: ARM & BT Guard Against Huawei Ban
Today's BBWN Bites also includes an update on Proximus's fiber deployment, the sentence for a man who threatened a top government official over net neutrality, and how one state hopes to bring broadband to the people.
British chip- and processor-maker ARM, which SoftBank acquired in 2016 for £24 billion ($32 billion at the time, as Light Reading reported), is suspending business with Huawei, according to Reuters. Huawei has used ARM chips in its smartphones, but fixed-broadband operators could see the effect due to the Chinese vendor's deployment of ARM products within residential router, smart home and virtual reality equipment. ARM's processor designs are on more than 130 billion chips in devices ranging from smartphones to supercomputers, the company said. The vendor works with more than 1,000 technology partners in "all areas of compute from the chip to the cloud," it added. For continuing coverage of this story, visit Light Reading.
In related news, BT is in core network trials with Cisco, Ericsson and Nokia as it looks to replace Huawei, BT's chief technology and information officer Howard Watson told Light Reading at EE's 5G press conference earlier today. EE, which BT acquired in 2016, uses Huawei products in its core network -- which goes against BT's policy and flies in the face of laws, policies or government concerns in the US and a growing number of other nations including the UK, wrote Light Reading's Iain Morris. Said Watson:
It will pilot during 2019 and we will start to do deployment probably in the middle of 2020. That new core will be 4G, 5G non-standalone and 5G standalone -- it will have the capability to do all three -- and we will have to migrate our 4G customers onto that. We'll take most of 2021 doing that.
(Read the complete story and catch up on how Huawei and the US arrived at this position: BT Lines Up Western Vendors to Replace Huawei as 5G Goes Live.)
Proximus began deploying fiber in Vilvoorde, with plans to make first connections later this year. The Belgian provider announced a decade-long €3 billion ($3.35 billion) fiber investment in 2016; to date, it's begun fiber projects in nine cities and expects to add another seven, including Vilvoorde. The city, historically known as Filford in English, already has six industrial zones served by fiber; Proximus will deploy fiber broadband to most of the region's residential and business customers, working in conjunction with the city and offering all residents the chance to connect to fiber at no cost even if they are not a Proximus customer, the operator said. To reduce disruption (and costs), fiber will be wall-mounted, not trenched, when possible, Proximus noted. (See Proximus Plans €3B Fiber Splurge.)
As politicians in Washington, DC, battle over a national broadband plan, local politicos continue to unveil their own strategies for state coverage. The latest is Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who released some details about the Arkansas State Broadband plan during his weekly web address. Speeds match those the FCC ordained as adequate: 25Mbit/s downstream by 3 Mbit/s upstream. "The goal of the plan is to provide high-speed broadband to every area of the state with a population of at least 500 people by 2022," said Hutchinson. "This is ambitious but doable."
A California man this week received a 20-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to threatening the family of Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, after the agency repealed net neutrality rules. The 33-year-old, Markara Man, emailed these threats hoping they would convince Pai to reverse his position, the Justice Department told Reuters.
Cobbled Streets, Bicycles & High-Speed Broadband
Some Belgian villages may hold onto the past, but Proximus is bringing their connectivity into the future-ready, deploying fiber around the European nation, according to its ten-year plan.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.