BBWN Bites: 300-plus providers to participate in Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
Also in this roundup: Trussville, Alabama, gets gigabit; Maryland commits $300 million to broadband; Texas senate bill would create broadband department; industry groups respond to Biden's $100 billion fund for broadband.
- The FCC announced yesterday that so far 319 providers have signed up to participate in its Emergency Broadband Benefit program. The program, enacted by the FCC in February, will provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband (up to $75 a month for households on Tribal lands). It also will provide a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for those eligible. The FCC confirmed that the list of providers covers every state, as well as Washington, DC, and half of US territories. "This $3.2 billion program was designed to lower the cost of high-speed internet service for those struggling to afford broadband connectivity during the ongoing pandemic and I'm proud of the progress we've made in onboarding more than 300 providers into the program. There are more to come. Every day we are approving additional interested providers, developing the program systems to make it available for consumer sign-up, and working hard to ensure that eligible households most at risk of digital disconnection can soon take advantage of this benefit," said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement. A full list of participating providers broken out by state can be found here.
- The city of Trussville, Alabama, has become the second in that state – following Jasper – to gain access to gigabit broadband services from C-Spire. The broadband build is part of C-Spire's $1 billion investment to speed fiber deployment and network upgrades in Alabama, announced in January, with $500 million to be spent over the next five years. Construction is slated to continue throughout 2021 in communities, including Pelham, Helena, Northport, Tuscaloosa and parts of Mobile County. According to BroadbandNow, Alabama is ranked 38th in the US for broadband, with 475,000 people in the state lacking access to a minimum standard of 25 Mbit/s.
- A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Maryland have come to an agreement to use $300 million of incoming federal aid to expand broadband across the state. That chunk of funding is part of the approximately $3.9 billion that Maryland will receive from the American Rescue Plan. According to a press release from Governor Larry Hogan's office, the $300 million for broadband will include $128 million to improve network infrastructure; $75 million for service fee and device subsidies; and $45 million for municipal broadband grants.
- With a unanimous vote, the Texas State Senate has passed a bill that would create a special broadband department within the University of Texas system. According to the Huntsville Item, the department would be responsible for creating new maps to highlight where fewer than 80% of people have broadband, offering grants and loans to incentivize network expansion and devise a statewide broadband plan. The bill now heads to the Texas House for a vote. While Texas ranks 8th in the US for broadband according to stats from BroadbandNow, there are still millions of people who lack access in the state: "When it comes to broadband availability, 91% of Texas residents have access to a 25 Mbps wired internet connection," says BroadbandNow. "While this is a huge percentage, 2.1 million people still don’t have access to a wired connection capable of the same speed. On top of that, there are 2.7 million people that have access to only one wired provider, and still another 1.2 million people without access to a wired connection at all, the majority of which being in rural areas."
- With President Biden's announcement of the inclusion of $100 billion for broadband in the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, industry groups and broadband stakeholders are working to pursue their priorities as Congress begins negotiations. In a statement, WISPA cheered the news, saying the "President's focus is right on target," while also pushing its path to gigabit strategy which it outlined in detail last week. The Fiber Broadband Association issued a statement saying it "applauds the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan to include $100B in broadband infrastructure funding to connect every American to high-speed broadband over the next 8 years." In a message to members in advance of Biden's announcement this week, the organization's CEO Gary Bolton confirmed they have "doubled down" on Hill advocacy, and are fighting for the $94 billion Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act that was introduced by Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in the House and Senate. "This bill includes $80B for Gigabit symmetric broadband deployment. The Fiber Broadband Association and its members have been meeting with numerous Congressional offices to gain bipartisan support for this bill and to ensure this effort is included in the significant infrastructure package the Administration is preparing," said Bolton.
— Nicole Ferraro, contributing editor and host of "The Divide
" and "What's the Story?
" 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