If you’re going to build broadband and have a choice of technologies, why is fiber the best choice?
In response to Comcast imposing a data cap on Massachusetts residents, state lawmakers have proposed a ban on data caps, new fees, and price increases on home-Internet services for the duration of the pandemic. The legislation was filed on Jan 26 by Democratic state representatives Andy Vargas and Dave Rogers.
AT&T added over 1 million new fiber subscribers in 2020, with 273K net adds in 4Q20 alone. AT&T fiber penetration now stands at 34%, up from 28% a year ago. That’s a 21% year-over-year improvement in AT&T fiber penetration, with the company now counting 4.9 million total FTTP connections. With this momentum, the company also announced plans to increase homes passed with fiber by an additional 2 million locations in 2021. While AT&T fiber penetration is on the rise, its legacy DSL and VDSL base is a drag on the company’s overall broadband numbers.
Monopoly control of high-speed internet access is leaving many Americans — particularly rural communities and communities of color — disconnected, underserved, or, at best, paying too much for substandard service. While community scaled internet service providers are more effective at delivering fast, affordable, and reliable Internet, monopolies, state-level regulations, and other factors stand in the way of these locally driven solutions to America’s broadband challenges. The report recommends a range of policy actions for improving broadband at the local level, including:
Now is time for the Federal Communications Commission to restructure its fixed broadband definitions so that they better reflect consumer demand and market realities and are more resilient to the accelerating pace of technological change. In addition, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development (Broadband Commission) should lead an effort to develop globally-harmonized and future-proof broadband definitions, that do not continually relegate people in some countries to second class connectivity.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the necessity of broadband became incontrovertible. Attending school, working from home, visiting a doctor, and accessing government services all relied on reliable broadband connections. For many, bridging the digital divide emerged as an even-more-urgent priority. We’ve tracked the stories that best explain the complexities of the digital divide and the crucial policy responses. Here’s our list.
With this second 2020 Communications Marketplace Report, the Federal Communications Commission fulfills the requirement set forth in RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018 to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the state of competition in the communications marketplace in the US. As required, this Report assesses the state of all forms of competition in the communications marketplace; the state of deployment of communications capabilities; barriers to competitive entry, including market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses.
So long as our local, state, and federal governments do not prioritize delivering future-proofed infrastructure to all people, our ability to make full use of the 21st century Internet will be limited. What the Internet becomes in the mid-to-late 21st century will not be an American story, unless we aggressively course-correct our infrastructure policies soon.
Take an ordinary household of four. Everyone owns a smartphone, a PC, and a smart speaker. In addition, everyone shares two tablets, two gaming consoles, and a pair of 4K TVs. These days, it's a safe bet everyone's using these devices a lot. By Broadband's Now Bandwidth Calculator's reckoning you should have at least a 180 Mbps connection. Good luck getting that in many places. Making matters worse, few of us have any real choice in ISPs. No matter where you live more internet misery is coming.
In Dec 2019, I spoke to the members of Gov Roy Cooper’s (D-NC) broadband task force and noted how, from the viewpoint of anyone looking objectively at the issue of broadband access, the public-private partnership model advocated by the NC League of Municipalities (NCLM) is a “no-brainer.” Obviously, a lot has happened in the world since then.