Doug Mohney

Fixed Wireless Failings for Rural Communities

Is fixed wireless a more affordable solution than fiber? Not so fast, according to a recent 150-page study conducted by the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society by CTC Technology and Energy. Fiber advantages over fixed wireless networks include a thousand times the broadband capacity and the ability to scale bandwidth by simply changing out the electronics at the ends, according to Andrew Afflerbach, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of CTC Technology & Energy.

Investing in Appalachian Broadband

Established in 1965 by an act of Congress, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is putting $30 million in grants per year into broadband. The 13-state region, encompassing 423 counties and 25.7 million people, only has high-speed broadband to 21% of homes in the most economically challenged areas, a statistic ARC wants to change. Among ARC’s biggest focuses are prepping communities for putting in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program applications and funding planning grants so communities can figure out exactly what they should be doing with their BEAD applications.

Starlink Satellite Service Showing its Age

The June 2022 Ookla data tries to spin a rosy picture of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet performance since its November 2020 public beta launch. While early Starlink users once swooned over the service because they had the only dish in town, they now find their once-speedy connections slowly sliding back to DSL/basic cable-esque performance with more people on the system. The performance slide comes at a time when SpaceX is trying to get its next-generation Starship off the ground, the only rocket capable of carrying its satellites in sufficient quantities.

Work From Home Drives Fiber’s Importance

Work-from-home (WFH) and collaboration trends jump-started by the pandemic aren’t going away, according to the latest Futurum Research survey, with large businesses continuing to support WFH in various degrees regardless of the industry. The organization surveyed 525 key decision-makers across important industry verticals, identifying which businesses had an official WFH policy today and those providing support on an informal basis without an established policy.

Electric Utility Shows Missouri How To Do Rural Fiber

One of Missouri's electric co-ops is showing the rest of the world how to sustainably deliver fiber broadband to low population density regions. United Fiber, a subsidiary of United Electric Cooperative, started deploying fiber in 2011 and has built a network of 3,200 miles delivering gigabit connectivity to nearly 25,000 residential and commercial customers. In the process, the broadband operation has generated $25 million in annual revenue, funds that are being used to lower customer electric rates.

Building the Rocky Mountain Middle Mile

Ten counties across Northwest Colorado joined together for Project Thor, an open access middle mile network dedicated to transport and built for resilience using a series of concentric loops covering nearly 18,000 square miles, with other providers leveraging Thor for delivering last-mile internet access to a quarter-million people in the region. Using a combination of dark fiber and agreement with existing carriers, Thor has dropped bandwidth costs from $1.10 to under 25 cents a megabit.

RUS ReConnect Round 3 Open while Electric Funding More Miles of Fiber than Power Lines

The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has been funding infrastructure since its original inception in 1935 as the Rural Electrification Service. The agency is currently accepting ReConnect loan and grant applications for broadband projects with the latest round making available $750 million available in grant monies, $250 million available in a combination of loans and grants and another $200 million in loans available at a fixed 2% interest rate. Meanwhile, the agency has recently funded more miles of fiber than power line using electric funding.

NTIA, FCC, States prep for BEAD Broadband Funding Bonanza

Federal and state agencies are gearing up to distribute billions of dollars in broadband grant monies under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is the lead organization tasked with distributing funds, while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will handle the new low-income subsidy. Both agencies are expected to provide support and advice.