Joan Engebretson

ViaSat Urges FCC Not to Approve SpaceX for Any Rural Digital Opportunity Funding

ViaSat sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission urging the Commission not to approve any Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) funding for ViaSat’s satellite broadband competitor SpaceX. SpaceX is in the process of deploying thousands of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide broadband service with lower latency in comparison with the geostationary satellite broadband service that ViaSat offers. SpaceX was one of the biggest winners in the RDOF auction and was tentatively awarded $885 million to cover some of the costs of providing broadband to unserved rural areas.

Bluebird Brings Internet Exchange Fabric to Less Congested Markets

Bluebird Networks is bringing internet exchanges to its midwest roots, adding capability to its smaller market footprint and helping to avoid more congested larger markets. The company said it is now operating internet exchanges in two of its data centers. The exchanges are in Bettendorf, Iowa, and in Springfield, Missouri. Both exchanges have about 30 internet providers signed on to exchange traffic, and 10 more providers are in the process of connecting to the Bettendorf exchange.

WeLink Offers Symmetrical Gigabit Fixed Wireless Service

WeLink, a service provider founded in 2018, has rolled out fixed wireless service offering symmetrical speeds up to a gigabit per second in metro Las Vegas (NV) and Phoenix (AZ). WeLink founder and CEO Kevin Ross said the company plans to be in a total of 10 major metros in the next 18 to 24 months. The company will use 5G millimeter wave technology and 60 GHz wireless technology that it developed, according to Ross. The latter frequency will be used for backhaul and access. Ross also noted that the access equipment uses a mesh approach.

Private Wireless Network Comes to the Farm, Enabling Precision Agriculture

Private wireless networks are poised to play an important role on the nation’s farms, potentially creating opportunities for rural network operators. A deal between computing provider Trilogy Networks and Inland Cellular aims to provide farm-wide coverage and address connectivity as an obstacle to the adoption of precision agriculture. It calls for Inland Cellular to offer private wireless to farms in its service area in the northwestern US to blanket the farm with wireless coverage.

Good News for Windstream, Bad News for LTD Broadband in Latest FCC RDOF Action

In the latest round of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund awards, the Federal Communications Commission said it is ready to authorize funding for Windstream and 11 other companies. Windstream winning bids fill more than 60 of the 80 total pages that comprise the list. The FCC said it is ready to authorize Windstream winning bids in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio. LTD Broadband is not among them and the company got some bad RDOF news from the FCC.

Is the Broadband Industry Heading Towards Mutually Assured Destruction?

According to advocates of the Convergence Apocalypse theory, telecommunications companies’ increasingly ambitious fiber deployments pose a big threat to major cable companies at the same time that cable companies’ increasing success in offering mobile service poses a big threat to the major telcos. Both threats are real, researchers argue, but they don’t see the threats as symmetrical. Instead, they see cable companies having the advantage. MoffettNathanson offers several data points to illustrate the threat that telco fiber deployments pose to cable companies.

WISPA to States: Ignore the Feds on ARPA Wired Broadband Requirement

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) has sent a letter to the governors of all 50 states asking them to ignore a prohibition against using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) broadband funding for fixed wireless deployments. The prohibition is included in the interim rules issued by the US Treasury for $350 billion in ARPA funding directed to state and local governments.

AT&T's 30-Million Fiber Location Forecast Might be Too Low, According to its CEO

There might be a business case for AT&T to deploy fiber to more than the 30 million locations that the company aims to make fiber broadband available to by 2025, said AT&T CEO John Stankey. Defining the business model for fiber deployment may not be as clear cut as some might believe, Stankey suggested. Another impending development that could impact the fiber deployment business case, according to the CEO, is the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that passed the Senate

LTD Broadband Accuses Attorney of “Egregious Misconduct” in eligible telecommunications carrier application

LTD Broadband, which was the largest winning bidder in last year’s FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, has asked the commission to reconsider its decision involving the carrier’s application for eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) status in California, alleging “egregious misconduct” on the part of the attorney that handled the filing. Unless reversed, the Federal Communications Commission decision will prevent LTD Broadband from obtaining RDOF funding for the state.

Behind the AlCan ONE Network

MTA Fiber Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alaskan telecommunications cooperative MTA that is responsible for the creation of AlCan ONE, is the first-ever terrestrial fiber network connecting Alaska with the lower 48 US states. Alaskans previously relied solely on subsea cables for that connectivity, explained MTA CEO Michael Burke. MTA undertook the AlCan ONE project because, as Burke explained, “We needed to explore owner economics.” In making the decision to do the fiber build, MTA “looked at our projected capacity needs going into the future and how much bandwidth we would need [b