Frontier Communications emerged from bankruptcy. The company's new strategy has everything to do with deploying more fiber. Frontier plans to double its fiber network to ultimately pass more than 6 million homes and businesses. In 2021, it plans to extend its fiber to pass 495,000 more locations. It’s already extended the network to pass an additional 100,000 new locations in the first quarter. Frontier’s network, comprised of fiber and copper connections, spans 25 states.
AT&T Fiber is giving its customers a free bump in speeds, boosting its 100 Mbps customers to 300 Mbps, and its 300 Mbps customers to 500 Mbps. AT&T will still offer its 1 gig plan as well, and these customers get HBO Max included. For a number of years fiber has been regarded as too expensive to deploy in most places. But the Covid-19 pandemic is causing a renewed interest. With so many people working and learning from home, they’re clamoring for faster broadband. And they’d like it to provide symmetrical downstream and upstream speeds.
Both Verizon and T-Mobile have been touting fixed wireless access of late as a way to help close the digital divide, take market share from cable companies, and reap new revenues. But the fixed wireless access players are being questioned about the desirability of wireless as compared to fiber. The analysts at Cowen recently hosted Verizon CTO Kyle Malady, who admitted that fixed wireless is not fiber-like. But Verizon also has experience with fiber via its Fios product, which has been in place for eight years.
Facebook is laying fiber across the width of Indiana to connect a couple of its own data centers, and it will lease excess capacity on the fiber to telcos or other providers that are interested. Facebook has completed the first phase of the build, laying over 77 miles of fiber to connect the I-70 corridor from the Indiana/Ohio border to downtown Indianapolis. Phase One was 100% funded by Facebook via its wholly-owned subsidiary Middle Mile Infrastructure.
The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) doesn’t appreciate all the scorn being heaped on fixed wireless access (FWA) technology, which is coming from some groups that didn’t win as many Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) awards as they had hoped.
LTD Broadband garnered the largest award of any company in the Federal Communications Commission’s recent Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) reverse auction. As part of its RDOF pledge, LTD will provide broadband in parts of 15 states at speeds of at least 1 Gbps down and 500 Mbps up. And it’s promised to lay fiber when necessary to achieve those gigabit speeds, which may mean it will primarily be laying fiber with its RDOF money. Corey Hauer, CEO of LTD Broadband, said LTD plans to deliver
There are quite a lot of places in the United States where there is no wired or wireless internet connection. The Federal Communications Commission is currently in the first phase of creating more accurate maps to identify these unserved areas. Even if there are macro wireless towers in a rural area, those towers provide service to smartphones.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is taking issue with Verizon’s proposed acquisition of Tracfone. The trade union says Tracfone is one of the largest providers of Lifeline services in the United States, and it fears those services could be jeopardized if Tracfone is acquired by Verizon. CWA also says the prospect of the acquisition raises significant antitrust concerns, which could negatively affect consumer prices and workers’ wages in the wireless industry. Verizon is trying to buy the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Tracfone for $6.9 billion.
The Federal Communications Commission held a ground-breaking, marathon virtual event Sept 14, hosting numerous stakeholders in the wireless ecosystem to discuss open radio access networks (RANs). The main impetus for the event was to promote open RAN technologies for 5G as an alternative to RAN equipment from the Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE. Currently, the choices for telecom equipment are fairly limited to the big vendors Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Huawei.
Verizon is appealing to the Federal Communications Commission to prevent T-Mobile from getting its hands on leases of more 600 MHz spectrum. T-Mobile applied for instant spectrum leases with Channel 51 License Company and LB License Co. to lease 600 MHz spectrum in a number of major markets, including Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, New Orleans, St. Louis, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, and Seattle, among others. Channel 51 and LB License Co. had been lending 600 MHz spectrum to T-Mobile to help the carrier boost its network during the Covid-19 pandemic.