A new coalition, backed by a wide range of players in the mobile ecosystem --, including U.S. operators AT&T and Verizon -- has formed to advocate for government policy that helps drive open radio access network (RAN) adoption to fund research and development of open and interoperable 5G networks. Executive director for the 31-member Open RAN Policy Coalition, launched today, is former Acting Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Diane Rinaldo.
In the first quarter, Charter added a total of 580,000 residential and small- and medium-sized business (SMB) internet customers. As of March 31, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said Charter added approximately 120,000 customers, which also included video, voice and mobile services, through the Keeping America Connected program, "with many more installed in April." Charter's total internet subscribers increased by 6% to 25.5 million while net additions of internet customers was up by 42% in the quarter.
Altice USA notched its best-ever quarter for broadband subscribers additions in the first quarter. Altice added 50,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter as well as an additional 9,000 subscribers for its Altice Advantage tier, which is its low-income family broadband program. Driven in part by voluntary speed and rate increases, Altice's total broadband revenues in the first quarter increased by 14.2%. Altice's fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments in the Optimum footprint slowed down due to permitting issues.
The actions taken by broadband providers to ensure the performance and reliability of their networks over the last two months have largely succeeded. However, nothing changes the simple fact that the amount of data traffic these networks have delivered has far exceeded in two months what most operators expect to deliver in a calendar year.
By all indications, the shift in traffic patterns has now stabilized, and we can start to make some conclusions about what really happened:
We know from the experience in the United States that the fiber and cable networks providing from tens up to 1,000 Mbps speeds are holding up well as traffic has increased. The problem arises at DSL, a technology that allows several Mbps data connections over copper wires, often can only support 15 Mbps or less over short distances from a central office. Next-generation VDSL can provide up to 200 Mbps over distances of less than 200 yards from a central office.
While network usage is still above pre-COVID-19 levels, the increases are starting to calm down a bit, according to Comcast and Verizon. Comcast said it was starting to see network traffic plateau in most places, including early work from home markets such as Seattle and California. For Comcast, which has the biggest residential internet network in the US, there has been a 33% increase in upstream traffic since March 1 while downstream traffic is up by 13%. As more people work from home, they're connecting to their work VPNs.