BBWN Bites: The Iliad and the Italy
Also in this roundup: Starry secures a place in the US broadband market; fixed-line subscriptions decrease in South Africa; and FCC commissioner calls out inequities in broadband and media ownership in wake of protests.
- Sources claim that French mobile operator Iliad is close to signing a deal with broadband company Open Fiber to offer fixed-line data services in Italy. No deal has reportedly been signed yet, but Reuters writes that Iliad previously said it was looking to offer Italian customers fixed-line services by 2024. The news of the possible deal comes as more people have come to rely on high-speed connections during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as businesses rethink their futures and how to streamline operations for a more remote workforce.
- Meanwhile in South Africa, fixed broadband subscribers are actually dropping. As Paula Gilbert reports for Light Reading sister site Connecting Africa, "South Africa's smartphone penetration was over 90% in 2019, while mobile users increased overall. But the country saw a drop of almost 20% in fixed broadband subscriptions as more South Africans opted for wireless solutions or used the Internet on their mobile phones." This data comes from the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA)'s 2020 State of the ICT Sector report. ICASA attributes the broadband drop mostly to a significant decrease in DSL Internet subscriptions (falling 42.8%); whereas fiber subscriptions increased 28.8% over the 12 months.
- The US broadband market is getting a teeny bit more crowded, writes Jeff Baumgartner this week, as Starry's 5G-based fixed wireless service gains some ground. This news comes from a report about the startup from MoffettNathanson's Craig Moffett, who says Starry (primarily serving apartment buildings thus far) is growing 10% per month. As Baumgartner writes, "Starry's service is available in about 70% of buildings in its Boston footprint, capturing 27% to 30% share on average where it does have a presence. And it's doing so as a fourth entrant behind Comcast, RCN and Verizon/Fios." However, its footprint is still pretty small, on track to reach 1/10th of 1% national market share in about a year.
- As protests against police brutality and systemic inequality continue across the country, spurred by the horrific police killing of George Floyd, businesses and institutions everywhere are taking at least some steps to reexamine their own personal and organizational flaws in public. This week, FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks issued a statement calling out inequities in distribution of broadband and media ownership that need to be addressed.
"As not only a commissioner of the FCC, but as a Black father of two young children who deeply cares about my country and my community, I know that our policymakers must do more to include Black people and other communities of color and create a better world for future generations," he said.
"Access to robust and affordable broadband allows our communities to call attention to civil rights violations, mobilize and organize for social change, and advocate for policy changes. Similarly, diverse ownership within the media landscape allows us to promote and take control of our own stories. We know there are wider political, economic, and social implications at stake in both of these issue areas."
— Nicole Ferraro, Contributing Editor, Light Reading