BBWN Bites: Mississippi Co-Op Aims to Provide Rural FTTH
Also in today's roundup: Reliance Jio looks to shake up India's broadband, subscribers retreat from traditional pay TV, and Microsoft called more attention to rural broadband needs in Iowa.
Tombigbee Electric Power Association on Saturday announced its 15-member board unanimously voted to provide FTTH networks to all 43,950 co-op members. The news comes six months after Gov. Phil Bryant signed the Mississippi Electric Power Association Law and Broadband Enabling Act of 2019.
In his statement, Tombigbee EPA General Manager Bill Long said "local communities should have the same resources and services as those in urban areas," and his company intends to provide that access. "This job is not done until that last house at the end of that dirt road in the most rural community has access to the outside world through a world-class broadband system," Long said.
India's Reliance Industries announced the commercial rollout of its broadband and TV service. The service -- once dubbed GigaFiber and now called JioFiber -- will become available on September 5. Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani unveiled smart home and IoT-based services from Jio. JioFiber will be offered as a standard service on a WiFi router, but the provider also will offer a smart-home entertainment platform via the Jio set-top box. This is the hub for IoT and smart-home management, and is not expected to be widely available on September 5, according to published reports.
The largest US pay-TV providers, which represent 93% of the market, lost 1.53 million video subscribers last quarter, according to a new report from Leichtman Research Group (LRG). Some video providers are focusing efforts on retaining only their most profitable customers. The two largest satellite providers lost 855,000 subs in Q2 2019; the seven largest cable operators lost 455,000 subs in that period, LRG said. (See Top US Pay-TV Providers Dump Record 1.53M Subs in Q2 .)
The Federal Communications Commission today authorized another $121 million-plus in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 36,579 unserved rural homes and businesses in 16 states. This is the fourth wave resulting from last year's Connect America Fund Phase II auction.
Microsoft called closing the rural broadband gap a "national crisis." By 2022, Microsoft and ISPs will work through its Airband Initiative to deliver Internet connectivity to 3 million in unserved rural regions of the US by 2022, the company said. Like many Democrat candidates, Microsoft was in Iowa last week with a booth of its own, campaigning for rural broadband, digital inclusion or Airband. (See Microsoft: Half the US Has no Internet at Broadband Speed.)
Fiber from the Coop
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.