Doug Mohney

Applying Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Monies to Workforce Development

With trained telecommunications workers in short supply and in high demand across the country, investing in workforce development is critical over the next five years. Fortunately, the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program provides funding, regulation, and guidance to create and sustain the personnel necessary to build and maintain the nation’s critical infrastructure. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allows the $42.45 billion in BEAD money to be used in workforce and job training.

Cable’s Slow Ride to Fiber

How fast will the cable industry move to an all-fiber plant? A Credit Suisse financial analyst believes the industry will be slow to upgrade from coax in less competitive areas, not seeing any urgency in upgrading to faster, more reliable technology, with speed and type of upgrades paced by the competition within the markets they serve. “We expect kind of different choices to be made in different [population dense] areas,” said Grant Joslin, Vice President US Telecom Equity Research, Credit Suisse.

Different Approaches to Mapping the Digital Divide

For states, broadband mapping is the hot topic in the quest to identify unserved and underserved areas. Collecting accurate, detailed information on who has, and more importantly, who doesn’t have a broadband connection will be essential in securing the maximum amount of Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program funding. North Carolina and Georgia have been proactive in collecting broadband coverage data and making it available to the public but have taken different approaches on how they have built their maps.

North Carolina’s GREAT Efforts to Close the Digital Divide

North Carolina is currently putting to work over a billion dollars from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding through a number of programs, including the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grants to connect the 1.1 million households in the state unable to access the internet. Around $380 million in GREAT funding is designed to incentivize deployments to unserved rural parts of the state. The state also has a Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) program to address high-cost areas where service providers are traditionally reluctant to go along with money going to uti

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.