Doug Dawson

Poor Rural Connectivity Costs Lives

Around the country, there are now elaborate alert systems in areas subject to tornados and other dangerous weather events.

Lumen’s Fiber Path Forward

Lumen is taking a different path forward than the other big telephone companies. The company announced a major upgrade to its long-haul fiber routes that cross the country. The company’s main fiber strategy is to beef up the intercity network with plans to add six million miles of fiber to existing fiber routes by 2026. The existing Lumen long-haul fiber network came to the company in two acquisitions. The original network came when CenturyLink bought US West, which had earlier merged with Qwest, a major builder of long-haul networks.

Counting Broadband Locations

The old definition of a broadband passing is quickly growing obsolete and the Federal Communications Commission's mapping effort is missing the way that America really uses broadband today. After a decade of talking about the inadequate FCC broadband maps, we finally decided to throw money at the issue and devise new maps. But in the decade it took to move forward, we’ve developed multiple non-traditional uses for broadband, a trend that is likely to expand.

When Fiber Construction Goes Wrong

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) recently issued its 2021 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT). The goal of the CGA is to highlight and reduce damages done to all utilities when working underground. Here are the current trends discussed in the DIRT report:

Packet Loss and Broadband Performance

In a recent article, Joe Madden wrote an article looking at the various wireless technologies he has used at his home in rural central California. Over time he subscribed to a fixed wireless network using Wi-Fi spectrum, cellular LTE broadband, Starlink, and a fixed wireless provider using CBRS spectrum. Madden was able to analyze his broadband performance in ways that are not easily understood by the average subscriber.

Mass Confusion over FCC Mapping

I understand why folks are confused about the Federal Communications Commission's maps, because there are several major mapping timelines and issues progressing at the same time. The first issue is the FCC mapping fabric. The FCC recently encouraged state and local governments and internet service providers (ISP) to file bulk challenges to the fabric by June 30. The first mapping fabric issued in June 2022 was largely a disaster.

No More Underbuilding

Jonathan Chambers wrote another great article where he addresses the issue of federal grants having waste, fraud, and abuse. He goes on to say that real waste, fraud, and abuse came in the past when the Federal Communication Commission awarded federal grants and subsidies to the large telephone companies to build networks that were obsolete by the time they were constructed.

The Disappointment of 5G

Karl Bode recently wrote an excellent article highlighting the overhyping of wireless technologies. No wireless technology has been a bigger flop than 5G when comparing the hype to the eventual reality. The wireless carriers and vendors blitzed the country in a coordinated effort to paint 5G as the solution that would bring broadband everywhere.

Competing Against Big Cable Companies

How can a small internet service provider (ISP) compete against the big cable companies? Comcast and Charter together have roughly 55% of all broadband customers in the country, so they are formidable competitors. But the two big cable companies have one obvious weakness – their prices are significantly higher than everybody else in their markets. Every marketing push by these companies involves giving temporary low special prices to lure customers – but those prices eventually revert to much higher list prices. Fixed wireless access (FWA) is clearly competing in price.

Should You Be Benchmarking?

As recently as fifteen years ago, I was often asked by many of my clients to help them benchmark their internet service provider (ISP) against their peers. By this, they wanted to know if they had the right number of employees for their customer base, if their revenues and expenses were in line with other similar ISPs, if they had too much expense from overheads, etc. It turns out that ISPs were not particularly comparable. They seemed to differ in most of the statistics that my clients wanted to understand.