Sean Buckley

50 mayors tell FCC Chairman Pai to not overturn net neutrality rules

A group of 50 US mayors sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai in a collective effort to ask that he keeps the current rules, which are based on Title II of the Communications Act, in place.

Verizon accelerates copper-to-fiber transition, sets new network resiliency practices

Following 2012's Hurricane Sandy, Verizon has put together a new set of flood barrier and network transformation methods that are designed to achieve two goals: keep its wireline network operational and hasten its ongoing copper-to-fiber migration. During Sandy, which flooded several of its service and central offices, the service provider reported $1 billion in damage due to water and related storm damage.

Ting: Google Fiber’s realignment won’t have a material impact

Ting, the wireline internet division of Tucows, does not envision Google Fiber’s recent troubles posing challenges to the larger fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service community. Elliot Noss, president and CEO of Tucows, said that there are still plenty of opportunities to expand its FTTH reach. “There are certainly markets that had, had some conversation with Google who have been in contact with us,” said Noss. “But at the end of the day, it's such a big market, and Google had such big halo that I don't know that will necessarily have a material impact.” Noss added that having a larger amount of FTTH service providers is a benefit to all players that participate in the fiber broadband segment.

CenturyLink’s Level 3 acquisition faces challenges from California consumer advocacy groups

CenturyLink’s proposed acquisition of Level 3 is now facing protests from two California-based consumer advocacy groups who say the combined company will place too much control of a large portion of the state’s wholesale and retail fiber into one company. This is a small blow to CenturyLink, which has remained confident that it would not have as difficult a time getting state approvals because the telecommunication company is purchasing a company that does not serve consumers.

Level 3 is mainly focused on selling a mix of wholesale services like fiber to other carriers and selling IP-based and TDM services to business customers. These groups include a coalition of consumer advocacy groups—TURN, The Greenlining Institute and the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) office of ratepayer advocates—and the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF).

Google Fiber realigns San Antonio FTTH rollout strategy, but new coverage plans are unclear

Google Fiber is implementing a fiber installation process in San Antonio (TX) it hopes won’t upset local residents along with methods to reduce network build-out costs. The emerging fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) provider, according to a San Antonio Business Journal report, wants to be more responsive to the Texas community’s concerns. "They want Google Fiber, but they also want it deployed with a minimum of disruption," Google Fiber wrote in a statement. "We agree. Across all our markets, we are focused on innovating new deployment techniques that are faster, more efficient and less disruptive." The first thing on Google Fiber’s list is to remove a fiber hut that it initially constructed inside a pocket recreational area at the city’s Haskin Park. As part of the revised plan, the service provider plans to replace the hut, which holds its network cables, with a smaller utility cabinet.

CenturyLink, Level 3 say they don’t ‘significantly’ compete with each other for business service opportunities

CenturyLink says it does not always compete head to head with Level 3—which it is in the process of acquiring—and that the two companies are providers in an ever-evolving business services market.

In a new Federal Communications Commission filing responding to questions about the markets in which the two providers offer business services, CenturyLink said it and Level 3 offer similar services to small and large businesses, but not in every market. “While CenturyLink and Level 3 offer overlapping services for SMBs and enterprises, they do not significantly compete with each other in the provision of these services,” CenturyLink said. In the fourth quarter of 2016, CenturyLink said it had 28.5% of sales of SMB data 11 services in its ILEC territory, while Level 3 accounted for only 1.1 % of similar service sales. Ethernet is another key factor. CenturyLink noted it had 6.5% of the total US sales of business Ethernet services, and Level 3 accounted for 17.6% of such sales. CenturyLink said it is seeing competition in the business data services (BDS) market from two main sources: cable and national providers.

FairPoint brings broadband to 25 rural Vermont towns via FCC’s CAF-II program

FairPoint has completed broadband expansion projects in 25 Vermont towns, thanks in part to funding from the FCC’s CAF-II rural broadband expansion program. By completing these broadband expansion projects, the service provider will offer higher broadband speeds to over 4,500 locations throughout the state. In towns like Dover, Jamaica, Londonderry, Stratton, West Dover, Wilmington and Winhall, over 2,200 locations have been impacted, providing broadband service to some locations for the first time.

Maine Fiber Company: Utility pole attachment make-ready is our single largest operating expense

Maine Fiber Company (MFC), the company behind building the state’s wholesale dark fiber-based Three Ring Binder (3RB) middle mile network, is showing support for Maine lawmakers’ proposed LD 406 bill that’s designed to upgrade the state’s outdated pole attachment regulations. LD 406 was introduced by Senator David Woodsome of York, Maine, and co-sponsored by Representative Seth Berry of Bowdoinham and Senate President Michael Thibodeau of Waldo, Maine.

Frontier looks for more CAF dollars to build rural broadband

Frontier Communications is looking to leverage some Connect America Fund (CAF) options to get additional funding in its quest to bring faster internet speeds to rural areas within its footprint.

The provider identified 515 census blocks in a filing for CAF Phase I Round 2 incremental support, focusing on locations it initially couldn't reach during CAF I that can't access even a minimum 3 Mbps connection. Frontier may also be able to get CAF II funding rather than CAF I incremental support to build to these areas, the provider noted in its filing. Joining fellow telephone companies Consolidated and Windstream, Frontier accepted $283 million annually in CAF II support from the FCC to deploy broadband to more than 650,000 high-cost rural locations throughout its current 28-state service area. The service provider noted that the locations it is targeting with the CAF II funds are those that are only served by Frontier and not a competitor.

Mount Washington, Massachusetts, municipal network shows can-do approach to community broadband

[Commentary] As the third smallest town in Massachusetts, Mount Washington is not an obvious fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) buildout target.

Today, Mount Washington has a grand total of about 146 residents, a number of whom only spend up to two weeks of the year in the town as a vacation spot. But with few broadband options other than Verizon, the local incumbent telco, or expensive satellite service, the town sought a partner to construct a municipally-owned FTTH network. Upon completion, the network will outfit each Mount Washington household with dedicated fiber strands originating from MassBroadband’s middle-mile backbone termination point at town hall. The town hall will actually house the optical line terminal (OLT) that will deliver signals to the home. Those who choose to subscribe to internet and telephone services will pay a monthly fee to a third-party service provider. Working in partnership with White Mountain Cable (a subsidiary of Dycom) and eX2 Technology, Mount Washington expects construction of its active Ethernet network to be completed in about nine months.

Although most of Mount Washington’s residents consist of vacationers getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life, they expect a similar broadband experience.