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.
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."
Todays access network architecture is under mounting pressure due to a continued surge in the number of connected devices, a proliferation of bandwidth-intensive customer applications and dramatic shifts in usage patterns related to the pandemic, such as work-from-home and e-learning.
Learn why now is the right time for cable operators to build greenfield networks or expand their existing networks with 10G PON, arming customers with high-speed symmetrical broadband. Gain a clear understanding of the drivers impacting the access network and the various approaches being considered to deliver higher speed services. Plus, find out the best practices that operators are employing as they leverage the latest in passive optical technology to future-proof their networks.
Topics to be covered include:
Node + 0 (Fiber Deep)
DOCSIS 3.1, DOCSIS 4.0 (FDX/ESD)
FTTP and 10G PON
Provisioning 10G PON within a DOCSIS B/OSS environment