Monday, August 21, 2023

U.S. consumers strongly prefer fiber broadband

Fiber broadband is considered the best internet service delivery method in terms of speed and reliability among 63% of all U.S. consumers, including 54% of cable users, according to an annual consumer research report conducted by RVA LLC Market Research & Consulting (RVA) on behalf of the Fiber Broadband Association.

The NTIA’s $42.45 billion BEAD program prioritizes fiber projects because of fiber’s ability to replace aging copper and coax wiring and provide vital, scalable telecommunications infrastructure for generations to come. The consumer research study demonstrates the importance and preference for fiber by consumers as well.

The study found that the underlying demand for high-quality broadband remains strong, as it was rated the second most important amenity in a home, only after a laundry room. Consumers show high interest in many future broadband applications which will increasingly require faster and more symmetrical internet, especially applications to support telehealth, senior independence, and home security. When all respondents were asked what type of internet service was the very best in terms of speed and reliability, fiber broadband won by a large majority with scores 2.5 times higher than the second candidate (cable).

The Fiber Broadband Association expects nearly as much fiber will be deployed during the next five years as has been deployed throughout history. 

“These results underscore the fact that high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity for any person to successfully participate in today’s society,” said Deborah Kish, Vice President of Research and Workforce Development at the Fiber Broadband Association. “We’ve known how important broadband is to the U.S., and every year this study reveals that the preference for fiber broadband is growing wildly. Connecting every community to fiber will enable digital equality and raise the quality of life for generations to come.”

FBA publishes BEAD funding resources for state broadband offices

The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) and Cartesian unveiled their BEAD Threshold Financial Model that helps states calculate their Extremely High Cost Per Location Threshold (EHCT) for fiber broadband deployments using Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD).

The sophisticated tool leverages geospatial analysis to build a financial model that states can use to develop their own cost thresholds for fiber deployments. 

The BEAD Threshold Financial Model allows states to test various inputs and visualize the implications of different thresholds. It considers the extent of fiber coverage, the extent of alternative broadband technology coverage, and whether any funds remain. As a starting reference point for states to leverage, FBA and Cartesian ran the model using realistic but general assumptions, leveraging national average build costs and simple provider contribution estimates, to develop a reasonable, directionally-accurate threshold for each state.

“The NTIA has just allocated $40 billion to the states, and now it is the states’ turn to use this funding to maximize fiber deployments by setting the correct EHCT. Everyone recognizes this task is critical, but also challenging. Our BEAD Threshold Financial Model addresses that challenge head-on,” said Gary Bolton, President and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. “Now that we’ve created this tool we’re making it available to all states and we’re willing to work directly with each state to use the model with different variables and look forward to that opportunity. At the end of the day, setting a reasonable threshold is essential to the success of the BEAD program and our ability to connect every American to fiber broadband service.”

USA offers nearly $700M in grants for rural broadband

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering nearly $700 million in grants and loans to connect thousands of rural residents, farmers and business owners in 22 states and the Marshall Islands.

The new funding is part of the fourth funding round of the ReConnect Program, which is designed to fund the most difficult high-speed internet projects in the nation in the most rural, remote and unserved communities.

Examples of projects in this announcement include:

  • In North Carolina, Star Telephone Membership Corporation is receiving a $24.9 million grant to benefit 2,674 people, 84 businesses, 117 farms and four educational facilities in Bladen, Columbus and Sampson counties. Bladen and Columbus are part of an RPN community.
  • In Oregon, Pioneer Telephone Cooperative is receiving a $24.9 million grant to benefit 2,239 people, 50 businesses, 205 farms and one educational facility in Lincoln, Lane and Benton counties.
  • In New Mexico, SWC Telesolutions Inc. is receiving a $9.2 million grant to benefit 4,962 people, 106 businesses, 11 farms and 17 educational facilities in Doña Ana and Sierra counties. Doña Ana County is part of an RPN community.

Cignal AI: WDM transport spending weakens during 2Q23

Worldwide spending on optical transport hardware declined by 2% YoY during 2Q23, according to the most recent preliminary Transport Hardware Report from research firm Cignal AI. 

“The optical market is clearly showing signs of weakness, India is the only bright spot.” said Kyle Hollasch, Lead Analyst for Transport Hardware at Cignal AI. “Large network operators are absorbing inventory accumulated during the supply chain uncertainties of 2022, and hyperscalers are reverting to just-in-time ordering as lead times come down.”

Additional 2Q23 Transport Hardware Report Findings:

  • Optical sales to Service Providers and Cloud & Colo operators fell -2% and -3%, respectively.
  • The worldwide routing market grew 16% during its seventh straight quarter of growth. This growth came despite sharp spending pullbacks in western 5G networks.
  • North American 2Q23 optical revenue flattened following 18 months of rapid growth. Ciena and Infinera grew revenue, lifted by strong sales to hyperscalers and shipments against their large backlogs.
  • EMEA’s optical sales were flat, but routing sales leaped 27% led by Huawei and Nokia. Huawei’s optical revenue declined for the fourth straight quarter, while Nokia’s has grown for the last three.
  • RoAPAC spending surged on as Indian operators continued to build, with Nokia and Ciena benefitting most.

Adtran tool helps to manage and monetize residential Wi-Fi

Adtran expanded its Mosaic One subscriber solutions with the launch of Intellifi, a cloud-managed Wi-Fi solution for helping communication service providers (CSPs) monitor, manage and monetize residential Wi-Fi networks. 

Highlights of the solution:

  • Intellifi MeshView is a cloud-hosted portal that enables CSPs to manage and optimize in-home Wi-Fi experiences. From self-identifying issues to remotely resolving them, Intellifi MeshView empowers frontline customer support representatives and technical support staff. 
  • The Intellifi mobile app is an intuitive end-user tool that enables subscriber self-installs and offers enhanced controls for personalized in-home Wi-Fi. These include access to detailed network status, parental controls and device management, all in an easy-to-use and intuitive format that helps build a loyal subscriber base. 
  • The final element is Adtran’s multigigabit service delivery gateways (SDGs) and mesh satellites.

Broadcom gains UK clearance for VMware acquisition

Broadcom received final transaction approval from the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority. 

Broadcom has already received legal merger clearance in the European Union, as well as in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, South Africa, and Taiwan, and foreign investment control clearance in all necessary jurisdictions. 

In the U.S., the Hart-Scott-Rodino pre-merger waiting periods have expired, and there is no legal impediment to closing under U.S. merger regulations.

The company says it is in the advanced stages of the process toward obtaining the remaining required regulatory approvals, which Broadcom believes will be received before October 30, 2023. 

Accordingly, together with VMware, Broadcom has agreed to further extend the Outside Date as contemplated in the transaction agreement.

Arm files for IPO

Arm Holdings Limited filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to the proposed initial public offering of American depositary shares.

Arm has applied to list the ADSs on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “ARM”.