BBWN Bites: 77% of Americans can access 'low-priced' broadband – report
Also in this roundup: Orange MEA sees big Q1 broadband growth; Fibrehop expands with CityFibre; Talk Straight taps ADTRAN for fixed wireless; Verizon reports Q1 Fios numbers.
- A new report from BroadbandNow shows that "low-priced" broadband is available to 77% of Americans, which is an increase from 50% in Q1 2020 (and up from 70% in Q4 2020). That's a significant jump in a year, owning to a combination of pandemic-inspired provider offers and government regulations. However, "low-priced" broadband is defined as up to $60/month, which might set some of these plans apart from "affordable." Further, BroadbandNow also highlights that these low-priced plans tend to bring lower speeds, with only 31% of Americans having access to a plan for $60 or less with minimum speeds of 100 Mbit/s download and 25 Mbit/s upload. The report also surveyed speed symmetry and discovered that 41% of Americans have access to symmetrical service of 100/100 Mbit/s from a wired or fixed wireless provider; with Rhode Island and Washington, DC, leading on symmetrical access, and Connecticut falling behind. "Connecticut stood out as one of the states with the highest rates of 100/25, but one of the lowest for 100/100, showing a massive gap between upload speed levels and that a high level of traditional broadband access is not always synonymous with symmetry," states the report.
- Speaking of symmetry, Triangle Networks – which delivers symmetrical, gigabit broadband via its consumer ISP Fibrehop – will expand its broadband services in partnership with CityFibre to reach over 600,000 UK homes. In a press release, the companies report that Fibrehop will expand to Cheltenham, Gloucester, Weston-super-Mare, Bath, Swindon, Leicester and – later this year – Plymouth. This expansion follows a similar partnership between CityFibre and Fibrehop in Milton Keynes that commenced in February.
- In other UK broadband partnership news, the ISP Talk Straight has partnered with ADTRAN to deliver gigabit broadband connectivity in rural regions of the country. The partnership follows Talk Straight's successful testing of ADTRAN's mmWave fixed wireless access solution "as part of a proof of concept that could quickly and cost-effectively extend gigabit symmetric broadband services beyond the reach of existing fibre networks." While the announcement doesn't disclose a number of new locations Talk Straight expects to reach (only citing "more"), it does highlight figures from industry regulator Ofcom showing that 190,000 UK properties don't have access to an "acceptable broadband connection" and more than 880,000 children live in a UK household with only mobile Internet access.
- Fixed broadband subscriber growth helped propel Orange's Africa and Middle East businesses (AME) to their best quarterly performance in ten years. According to Light Reading sister site Connecting Africa, Orange AME's fixed broadband customer base grew 38.4% year-on-year (YoY) to 1.8 million customers, with revenue up 38.2%. Overall Orange AME revenue grew to nearly €1.5 billion (US$1.81 billion) in Q1 2021. (Read the full earnings story on Connecting Africa: Orange MEA sees biggest Q1 growth in 10 years.)
- Back in the US, broadband growth was also helpful to Verizon's quarterly earnings report. As Jeff Baumgartner reports on Light Reading, Verizon lost 82,000 Fios TV subscribers in Q1 2021 but gained 98,000 Fios Internet connections. That's compared to a gain of 59,000 in Q1 2020. All in all, Verizon ended the first quarter of the year with 6.71 million total broadband connections. (See Verizon broadband gains continue to outpace video losses.)
— Nicole Ferraro, contributing editor and host of "The Divide" and "What's the Story?" Light Reading
Here's where you can find episode links for 'The Divide,' Light Reading's podcast series featuring conversations with broadband providers and policymakers working to close the digital divide.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will present our Cable Next-Gen Europe conference as a free digital symposium on June 21.
Charter has sparked RDOF work in all 24 states where it won bids. The cable op booked about $19 million in RDOF revenues in Q1, and expects to have about $9 million per month come in over the next ten years.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will stage the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference as a free digital event over two half-days in mid-March.
Launch of 2-Gig and 5-Gig FTTP tiers in 70-plus markets puts more pressure on cable ops to enhance their existing DOCSIS 3.1 network or accelerate their upgrade activity centered on the new DOCSIS 4.0 specs.
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