Friday, April 26, 2024

FCC votes 3-2 to restore Net Neutrality

 The FCC voted 3-2 along partisan lines to reclassify broadband service as a Title II telecommunications service, restoring Net Neutrality.

The decision gives the FCC the authority to provide  oversight over broadband service providers, giving the Commission essential tools to: 

  • Protect the Open Internet – Internet service providers will again be prohibited from blocking, throttling, or engaging in paid prioritization of lawful content, restoring the rules that were upheld by the D.C. Circuit in 2016.  
  • Safeguard National Security – The Commission will have the ability to revoke the authorizations of foreign-owned entities who pose a threat to national security to operate broadband networks in the U.S.  The Commission has previously exercised this authority under section 214 of the Communications Act to revoke the operating authorities of four Chinese state-owned carriers to provide voice services in the U.S.  Any provider without section 214 authorization for voice services must now also cease any fixed or mobile broadband service operations in the United States. 
  • Monitor Internet Service Outages 

For the majority, FCC Chairwan Jessica Rosenworcel writes "I think in a modern digital economy we should have a national net neutrality policy and make clear the Nation’s expert on communications has the ability to act when it comes to broadband. This is good for consumers, good for public safety, and good for national security. And that is why we are taking this action today under Title II of the Communications Act."

In dissent, FCC Commissioner Brenden Carr writes "The Internet in America has thrived in the absence of 1930s command and control regulation by the government. Indeed, bipartisan consensus emerged early on that the government should not regulate the Internet like Ma Bell’s copper line telephone monopoly."

First O-RAN Certificates and Badges issued

 The O-RAN Alliance announced that two of its Open Testing and Integration Centres (OTICs) – the European OTIC in Berlin and Korea OTIC – recently issued their first-ever O-RAN Certificates and Badges. Japan OTIC issued its first O-RAN Certificates and Badges in June 2023 and continued with five more awarded in 2024.

The portfolio of certified O-RAN products currently counts 23 solutions from 16 companies, awarded by 5 OTICs, with more being in progress around the world. All awarded O-RAN Certificates and Badges, including company names and concrete products, are publicly available in the O-RAN ALLIANCE's Certification and Badging Catalogue.

There are three types of O-RAN certifications:

  • O-RAN Certificate verifies that a product is compliant to O-RAN specifications, using O-RAN conformance tests.
  • O-RAN Interoperability (IOT) Badge proves interoperability of a pair of products connected via an O-RAN interface or O-RAN-profiled 3GPP interface, using O-RAN interoperability tests.
  • O-RAN End-to-End (E2E) Badge demonstrates and validates that an end-to-end system or subsystem meets minimum requirements on functionality and security, using O-RAN end-to-end tests. It can also provide an indication of performance or other end-to-end functionalities.
"Japan OTIC is committed to support testing and integration efforts in the industry to promote implementation of open, interoperable, intelligent, virtualized and secure RAN," said Masataka Kawauchi, Representative Director, Japan OTIC and Chairman, YRP R&D Promotion Committee. "Since its establishment in December 2022, we have worked with Japanese operator members to prepare environment and capabilities for testing based on O-RAN ALLIANCE specifications and are pleased to have issued two conformance certificates and E2E system badge to six products to date. The certified/badged equipment has been deployed to the commercial market. We expect more to follow with ongoing activities and additional requests received for the program and are also working to enhance our test capabilities and coverage. Together with other engagements like PlugFests and workshops, Japan OTIC will continue contributing towards realizing Open RAN together with the industry."


Charter's Q1 revenue hits $13.7 billion, loss of 72K broadband

Charter Communications reported Q1 revenue of $13.7 billion, up by 0.2% year-over-year, driven by residential mobile service revenue growth of 37.8% and residential Internet revenue growth of 1.9%.

Some highlights

  • As of March 31, 2024, Charter had 29.8 million residential customer relationships, excluding mobile-only relationships.
  • First quarter residential Internet customers decreased by 72,000, compared to an increase of 67,000 during the first quarter of 2023.
  • Residential video customers decreased by 392,000 in the first quarter of 2024, compared to a decline of 237,000 in the first quarter of 2023. 
  • As of March 31, 2024, Charter had 13.1 million residential video customers. 
  • In October 2023, Charter began deploying Xumo Stream Boxes to video customers. The Xumo Stream Box combines a live TV experience with access to hundreds of the most popular direct-to-consumer TV applications, and features unified search and discovery along with a curated content offering based on the customer's interests and subscriptions. 
  • During the first quarter, Charter launched two new value-oriented Internet-delivered streaming TV packages, Spectrum TV® Stream and Spectrum Stream Latino, for Spectrum Internet customers. Spectrum TV Stream features many of the most popular news and entertainment networks, and Spectrum Stream Latino adds another option for Hispanic audiences to take advantage of Charter's robust programming lineup.
  • During the first quarter of 2024, residential wireline voice customers declined by 274,000, compared to a decline of 224,000 in the first quarter of 2023. As of March 31, 2024, Charter had 6.4 million residential wireline voice customers.
  • During the first quarter of 2024, Charter added 473,000 residential mobile lines, compared to growth of 666,000 during the first quarter of 2023. 
  • First quarter 2024 monthly residential revenue per residential customer totaled $120.48, and decreased by 0.1% compared to the prior year period, given a lower mix of video customer relationships and a higher mix of lower priced video packages within Charter's video customer base, mostly offset by promotional rate step-ups, rate adjustments and the growth of Spectrum Mobile.
  • SMB customer relationships decreased by 3,000 in the first quarter of 2024, while first quarter 2023 SMB customer relationships grew by 8,000. 
  • Enterprise PSUs grew by 5,000 in the first quarter of 2024 versus 4,000 added in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Charter continues to work with federal, state and local governments to bring Spectrum Internet to unserved and underserved communities. During the first quarter of 2024, Charter activated 73,000 subsidized rural passings. Within Charter's subsidized rural footprint, total residential and SMB customer relationships increased by 35,000 in the first quarter of 2024.


Hughes opens advance manufacturing site in Maryland

Hughes Network Systems opened a manufacturing facility and private 5G incubation center in Germantown, Maryland.

The Hughes Manufacturing Facility (EXM) produces U.S.-made hardware, including the Hughes HT3000W JUPITER System satellite modem and the Hughes HL1120W Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite terminal. In addition to about 400 engineers, technicians and manufacturing staff, the Hughes EXM facility utilizes advanced robotics to assist in the manufacture of high-tech products such as satellite modems and terminals. The EXM facility will also serve as a testing ground for private 5G solutions just now reaching the market for Enterprise applications as well as secure 5G networking applications critical to the U.S. Department of Defense.

"Hughes has deep roots in this community. Our capabilities evolved from a long-ago startup in Rockville, Maryland, and we have grown into what is now the leading provider of broadband satellite services, products, and managed network solutions," said Paul Gaske, COO, Hughes. "The EXM facility allows us to continue a proud tradition of designing and manufacturing leading edge products here in Maryland."