While Lumen, CenturyLink's enterprise business, reaped the financial rewards from the Federal Communications Commission's Connect America Fund (CAF) II, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) is taking a back seat to Lumen's fiber builds. Lumen CEO Jeff Storey and CFO Neel Dev said they see better returns from its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) investments than in the FCC's RDOF project for rural broadband. In the RDOF reverse auction results that were announced in December, Lumen was awarded just over $262 million to deploy broadband in 77,257 locations across 20 states.
Add the Fiber Broadband Association and NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association to the list of entities that don't think Starlink will be able to live up to its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund awards to deploy broadband in unserved rural areas across the US.
Charter's broadband subscriber adds were down in Q4 when compared to Q3, but the company attributed that slowdown to its previous success. The first three quarters of last year were above the first three in 2019 by 900,000. Charter now has 28.9 million residential and small business internet customers. Charter added 246,000 broadband subscribers in the 4th quarter of 2020, which includes residential and small business customers.
The telecommunications ecosystem is broken, but there's a move underway by the Telecom Ecosystem Group to rectify, if not completely reset, some of those problems.
After posting robust broadband subscriber adds in 2020, Charter isn't giving its competitors much breathing room. Charter has doubled the starting download speed of its Spectrum Internet tier from 100 Mbps to 200 Mbps across 17 US markets. The faster starting speeds will reach about 8 million additional homes across those markets. The 200 Mbps speeds are available now to new Spectrum Internet customers.
MCC Iowa, which is a subsidiary of Mediacom Communications, has filed a lawsuit against the City of West Des Moines and its city council. MCC's petition of declaratory judgment alleges the West Des Moines City Council improperly used taxpayer-based financing bonds that were intended for urban blight and poverty projects to build a $50 million city-wide conduit network for exclusive use by Google Fiber. Filed in Iowa District Court for Polk County, the petition outlined seven specific violations of the law and requested that West Des Moines suspend activities related to the conduit network.
Verizon has bold ambitions to have its 5G Ultra Wideband enabled in 60 cities by the end of 2020, but to do that it needs more fiber in those urban areas. Verizon CTO Kyle Malady said the company was aggressively adding fiber in those urban areas through its One Fiber program. Through One Fiber, Verizon is adding 5G nodes on its fiber across the 60 cities where it is deploying the 5G Ultra Wideband service. Verizon's One Fiber project, which has been ongoing for several years, combined all of the comglomerate's fiber needs and planning into one project.
Dish Network announced fiber agreements with Everstream, Segra, Uniti and Zayo. Those four fiber partnerships will provide fronthaul and backhaul support for Dish's 5G network to sites covering approximately 60 million US citizens. Dish expects to have some small preliminary 5G markets live in the first quarter of 2021 before having its first major 5G market deployment by the third quarter. The agreements with the four fiber companies will give Dish access to fiber coast-to-coast to connect to markets with its cloud-native, Open RAN based 5G network.
Comcast's RISE program is providing more than 700 Black-owned businesses support including technology upgrades from Comcast Business. Awards in the program can also include consulting, media, and creative production services from Effectv, which is the advertising division of Comcast Cable. The first phase of Comcast RISE -- which stands for “representation, investment, strength and empowerment” -- was focused on U.S. Black-owned, small businesses.
Flume's goal is to provide fast, affordable internet connections to at least 600,000 low-income residents in New York City, including to those in public housing. Flume was co-founded by Brandon Gibson and Prashanth Vijay. Flume is targeting all five New York City boroughs and also plans to deploy its broadband service in East Hartford, Connecticut in the spring of next year to provide fiber-based access to an additional 25,000 households. For public housing in the New York area, Flume Access' internet speed provides symmetrical speeds up of 200 Mbps.