While the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill could provide as much as $65 billion for new broadband infrastructure in the US to close the digital divide, incumbent telecommunication providers are wary of what they call 'overbuilding.' Roger Timmerman, the executive director of Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) Fiber, said service providers and their lobbyists created the term overbuilding to make new competition sound like a bad thing. “You could describe the same thing as a new competitive offering in the area,” Timmerman said.
Frontier Communications is advancing its fiber deployments in pockets of the US. The company said that as part of the initial phase of its multi-year expansion efforts it’s deploying fiber broadband connections past an additional 280,000 consumers in Connecticut and an additional 24,000 consumers in San Angelo (TX) in 2021. Frontier is positioning its fiber service as an alternative to cable, saying it provides “uploads up to 25X faster than our cable competitors," and plans to double its fiber network to ultimately cover more than 6 million homes and businesses.
Dish Chief Commercial Officer Stephen Bye gave updates on the company's 5G network progress at the Federal Communications Commission Open RAN Solutions Showcase. Bye touted Dish’s operations support system and business support system, which the company has said it is getting from Amazon Web Services.
The Alaskan service provider GCI has struck a $150 million deal with Intelsat to expand capacity for telecommunication services in rural areas. GCI has delivered geosynchronous (GEO) satellite-based connectivity for 35 years to provide data, video and voice services in the state. The new deal not only provides GCI with continued access to C-band and Ku-band capacity, which is already part of GCI's satellite service portfolio, but it also provides new access to statewide Ka-band capacity.
The Federal Communications Commission is still reviewing Verizon’s proposed purchase of TracFone Wireless from América Móvil. Verizon CEO of the Consumer Group, Ronan Dunne, and TracFone CEO, Eduardo Diaz Corona, met with Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to try and convince her that the transaction is in the public interest. Their main argument is that a combined Verizon/TracFone will introduce a third facilities-based provider in the prepaid segment to compete against T-Mobile’s Metro and AT&T’s Cricket.
The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) sent a letter to Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel yesterday related to its concerns about Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) awards. The FCC has indicated a preference for fiber deployments, which offer the highest broadband speeds as well as symmetrical speeds for both the upstream and downstream.
Charter Communications filed a waiver request on May 11 with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) related to its award in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction. Charter, like all RDOF auction winners, promised to bring broadband to unserved areas.
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.