BBWN Bites: US counties unite on 'broadband task force'
Also in this roundup: USDA ReConnect Program commits over $560 million in second round broadband grants; Verizon, AT&T celebrate broadband subs; Virgin Media, Google bundle up.
- A new "broadband task force" established by the National Association of Counties (NACo) will bring together nearly three dozen county government officials from across the US to study the country's digital divide, "with a particular focus on the challenges facing underserved communities." The task force follows the release of a report from NACo last year showing that nearly two-thirds (65%) of US counties (and 77% of rural counties) experience speeds below the FCC's 25 Mbit/s minimum standard. "Our new task force will examine the intersection of public and private sector efforts to deploy broadband networks and create a blueprint for local governments to help bridge the digital divide," said Task Force Co-Chair J.D. Clark, the county judge in Wise County, Texas, in a press release.
- Tackling the lack of adequate broadband infrastructure in America, the US Department of Agriculture's ReConnect Program, a $1.2 billion federal loan and grant pilot program for broadband development, announced funding for projects in several US states this week, as part of its second round of awards. The latest states include Alaska ($46.5M), Alabama ($37M), Missouri ($91.5M), Iowa ($24M), Michigan ($10.1M) and more. According to the USDA website, the ReConnect Program has exceeded its $550 million commitment for its second-round awards: "As of now, USDA is investing in 64 projects through the second round of the ReConnect Program. The investments represent $566,808,406 in grant and loan funding for high-speed broadband infrastructure. The funded service areas include a total of 97,633 households," it says.
- Both Verizon and AT&T celebrated broadband gains as part of their third quarter earnings this week. Verizon saw its most additions since 2014, with 144,000 Fios subs. And AT&T added 158,000 broadband customers, with FTTP leading the way. (While it lost nearly 200,000 non-fiber subscribers, it gained 357,000 FTTP subs.) The company said it expects to grow its fiber base by 25% this year. (Read more about Verizon and AT&T's earnings from Jeff Baumgartner on Light Reading: Pent-up demand drives Fios Internet sub growth to five-year high and AT&T sheds 627K pay-TV subs as HBO Max activations double in Q3.)
- Virgin Media in the UK announced a "smart home" partnership with Google this week to offer customers the opportunity to welcome IoT smart devices into their lives. In a press release, Virgin Media said the offer is for "exciting bundles that include Google's Nest Hub, cameras and doorbell products – all powered by Virgin Media's ultrafast broadband." These "exciting bundles" will at first be available for Virgin Media customers in Cardiff, Manchester and Southampton; and monthly packages range from £10 (US$13) to £56 ($73). Citing unsourced statistics that 73% of people are concerned about security, with 68% using at least one smart home security product and 29% who want one, the company said it has released its "exciting bundles" to cater to "growing demand."
— Nicole Ferraro, contributing editor, Light Reading
The XGS-PON platform Frontier selected from Nokia is upgradable to 25-Gig PON 'with basically an optics change,' says Scott Mispagel, Frontier's SVP of national architecture and engineering.
Frontier has hooked up with Nokia to connect about 100,000 homes to XGS-PON technology amid a grander plan to have FTTP deployed to 10 million locations by the end of 2025.
AT&T CEO John Stankey has challenged his execs to explore what it would take to expand AT&T's plan to build FTTP to 30 million locations by 2025. 'Execution and performance' is all that stands in the way, he says.
SCTE, the cable industry's standards-setting organization, has approved standards for enclosures and modules for Generic Access Platform (GAP) nodes designed to support DOCSIS, PON and wireless access technologies.
Financial support for winning bids from more than a dozen smaller broadband players will be disbursed in 120 monthly payments, starting at the end of this month.
More Industry Announcements
- Calix helps CTC Telecom cut call volumes and truck rolls
Thursday, September 23, 2021
- Frontier, Nokia connect 100,000 homes to XGS-PON
Thursday, September 23, 2021
- Honeywell expands small-satellite product offerings
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
- InCoax unveils its D2501 to help solve last-mile challenge
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
- Comcast expands Internet Essentials to Pell Grant recipients
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
- Kinetic bringing fiber to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Monday, September 20, 2021
- DZS, Freedom Fibre deliver fiber access to TalkTalk subs
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
11:00 a.m. New York / 4:00 p.m. London
The demand for high-speed broadband services and hyperconnectivity has driven massive surges in network data usage like never before. Due to this trend, the networks of communications service providers (CSPs) are increasingly overburdened. Service providers need to optimize their networks to scale service delivery efficiently, while maximizing the opportunity to innovate at a rapid pace.
Learn how cloud-native containerized solutions can position CSP networks for long-term evolution and sustainable growth. Hear practical steps and flexible options for implementing a cloud-native PON solution in your network. Discover how to maximize operational resources and make way for enhanced applications, innovations and new use cases.
Topics to be covered include:
- How to implement cloud-native containerized PON
- The convergence of fiber and mobile networks