Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Milestone: Two billion 5G connections now in service

 In the first quarter of 2024, the global adoption of 5G connections continued its steady climb, reaching nearly two billion with an addition of 185 million new connections, according to data from 5G Americas and Omdia. The study predicts that global 5G connections will reach 7.7 billion by 2028, with North America forecast to boast an impressive 700 million 5G connections by the same year.

Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas, stated, “The wireless technology sector continues to demonstrate its strength and significance through rapid adoption and sustained robust growth globally. North America remains at the forefront of 5G implementation.”

  • North America leads in 5G adoption, with 32% of all wireless cellular connections.
  • In Q1 2024, North America added 22 million new 5G connections, totaling 220 million.
  • Latin America saw strong growth in 4G LTE and 5G connections last quarter.
  • Latin America added eight million new LTE connections, reaching 591 million total.
  • Nine million new 5G connections were added in Latin America, totaling 48 million.
  • 4G LTE subscriptions remain strong in Latin America as 5G availability increases.

5G Networks

  • Global: 316
  • North America: 17
  • Latin America and Caribbean: 40

4G LTE Networks

  • Global: 712
  • North America: 18
  • Latin America and Caribbean: 134

U.S. funds 12 Tech Hubs, including quantum and photonics research

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced a new round of funding, totaling approximately $504 million, in implementation grants to 12 Tech Hubs. This funding aims to scale up the production of critical technologies, create jobs in innovative industries, enhance U.S. economic competitiveness and national security, and accelerate the growth of future-focused industries across various regions in the United States.

Tech Hubs implementation awardees are:

Elevate Quantum Tech Hub (Colorado, New Mexico)
Lead Agency:
 Elevate Quantum
Technology Focus: quantum information technology
Estimated Award Amount: $41 million  

Headwaters Hub (Montana)
Lead Agency:
 Accelerate Montana
Technology Focus: smart photonic sensor systems  
Estimated Award Amount: $41 million

Heartland BioWorks (Indiana)
Lead Agency:
 Applied Research Institute
Technology Focus: biomanufacturing 
Estimated Award Amount: $51 million

iFAB Tech Hub (Illinois)
Lead Agency:
 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 
Technology Focus: precision fermentation and biomanufacturing 
Estimated Award Amount: $51 million 

Nevada Tech Hub (Nevada)
Lead Agency:
 University of Nevada, Reno   
Technology Focus: lithium batteries and electric vehicle materials 
Estimated Award Amount: $21 million 

NY SMART I-Corridor Tech Hub (New York)
Lead Agency:
 CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity   
Technology Focus: semiconductor manufacturing
Estimated Award Amount: $40 million

ReGen Valley Tech Hub (New Hampshire)
Lead Agency:
 Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute   
Technology Area: biofabrication 
Estimated Award Amount: $44 million 

SC Nexus for Advanced Resilient Energy (South Carolina, Georgia)
Lead Agency: 
South Carolina Department of Commerce   
Technology Focus: clean energy supply chain
Estimated Award Amount: $45 million

South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub (Florida)
Lead Agency:
 Miami Dade County Innovation and Economic Development Office   
Technology Focus: sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure 
Estimated Award Amount: $19 million 

Sustainable Polymers Tech Hub (Ohio)
Lead Agency:
 Greater Akron Chamber   
Technology Focus: sustainable polymers
Estimated Award Amount: $51 million

Tulsa Hub for Equitable & Trustworthy Autonomy (Oklahoma)
Lead Agency:
 Tulsa Innovation Labs    
Technology Focus: secure autonomous systems  
Estimated Award Amount: $51 million

Wisconsin Biohealth Tech Hub (Wisconsin)
Lead Agency
: BioForward Wisconsin   
Technology Focus: personalized medicine
Estimated Award Amount: $49 million

“The Department of Commerce is laser focused on expanding economic opportunity to every corner of this country,” said Deputy Commerce Secretary Don Graves. “The Tech Hubs program is a commitment to American economic prosperity and success. These 12 awardees embody the innovation and creativity that can be found nationwide, boosting U.S. manufacturing and bolstering U.S. global competitiveness, bringing President Biden’s Investing In America agenda to the forefront.” 


RVM lands CHIPs Act funding for MEMS foundry

The U.S. Department of Commerce has signed a preliminary memorandum of terms (PMT) with Rogue Valley Microdevices (RVM) to provide up to $6.7 million in proposed funding under the CHIPS and Science Act. This investment will support the construction of RVM’s microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and sensor foundry facility in Palm Bay, Florida. This facility is expected to nearly triple RVM’s manufacturing capacity, enhancing the U.S. supply chain resilience.

RVM is a notable U.S.-based pure play MEMS foundry specializing in high-mix, low-volume wafer and MEMS foundry services used in the defense and biomedical industries. The proposed investment will facilitate the construction of the facility, including the renovation of the clean room and installation of equipment. RVM plans to ship its first wafers from the new facility by early 2025, with the facility’s full completion anticipated by mid-2025. Additionally, RVM intends to establish on-site childcare and partner with a local provider to offer STEM-based early education and after-school support.

This proposed CHIPS investment marks the first in a women- and minority-owned business, highlighting the essential role of smaller businesses in the semiconductor ecosystem. RVM plans to leverage the Department of the Treasury’s Investment Tax Credit, which could be up to 25% of qualified capital expenditures, alongside state and federal support totaling over $8 million.

Key Points:

Funding Amount: Up to $6.7 million under the CHIPS and Science Act.

Location: Palm Bay, Florida.

Capacity Increase: Nearly triple RVM’s manufacturing capacity.

Job Creation: Over 75 new jobs in Florida.

Facility Completion: First wafers by early 2025, full completion by mid-2025.

Additional Support: $5 million Florida Department of Commerce loan, $3.2 million in other state incentives and grants.

Tax Credit: Plans to claim up to 25% of qualified capital expenditures.

Notable Milestone: First CHIPS investment in a women- and minority-owned business.


Augtera powers AI operations for MX Technologies' SONiC data center

MX Technologies has selected Augtera Networks to power AI operations for its next-generation data center networks by leveraging Dell Enterprise SONiC switches.

MX Technologies is a financial technology company specializing in providing data-driven financial management solutions. In 2023, the company augmented its legacy network monitoring tools with the Augtera Network AI platform in its data center networks. This new solution enabled MX to enhance network monitoring with network AIOps, providing preventive and automated operations to optimize application performance while also maintaining traditional network monitoring capabilities for easier operational adoption.

Augtera’s real-time ML-based anomaly detection offers early detection and automated alerts for application TCP retransmits, data center fabric grey failures, data plane, environmental and control plane errors, and congestion. This equips MX to identify the top application flows impacted by TCP retransmits caused by data center fabric issues and remediate them accordingly.

“MX continues to innovate by adopting Augtera Network AI, and now SONiC, to provide best-in-class experiences. Augtera integrated with SONiC will further optimize application experiences by increasing operational agility and efficiency,” explained Brandon Murdoch, Director of Infrastructure at MX.

“MX has been at the forefront of adopting Augtera’s industry-leading multi-vendor real-time ML anomaly detection capabilities across network logs and metrics to optimize platform performance. In addition to these capabilities, Augtera’s integration with SONiC will provide MX with real-time latency and loss observability to take these benefits one step further,” said Rahul Aggarwal, Founder & CEO at Augtera.


  • Founded by Rahul Aggarwal and Bhupesh Kothari, Augtera Networks is based in Palo Alto, California. The company specializes in AI-driven network solutions that enhance visibility, prevent network incidents, and significantly reduce resolution times. Augtera’s platform is designed to address the complexities of modern networks, providing proactive insights and automation to improve network performance and reliability

Frontier offers $750M notes secured by fiber assets

Frontier Communications announced the closing of its previously announced fiber securitization notes offering. 

The offering consists of $750 million aggregate principal amount of secured fiber network revenue term notes, consisting of $530 million 6.2% Series 2024-1, Class A-2 term notes, $73 million 7.0% Series 2024-1, Class B term notes and $147 million 11.2% Series 2024-1, Class C term notes, each with an anticipated repayment date in May 2031. Collectively, the notes have a weighted average yield of approximately 7.4%.

The notes are secured by certain of Frontier’s fiber assets and associated customer contracts in North Texas and qualify as green bonds.

This transaction is the company’s second fiber securitization offering/

“The completion of our second securitization offering in less than a year highlights the value of Frontier’s fiber network and the attractiveness of fiber as critical digital infrastructure,” said Scott Beasley, Chief Financial Officer of Frontier. “These transactions are a cost-efficient way to fund our fiber strategy and Build Gigabit America, while also providing flexibility to refinance higher-cost debt, extend our term loan and lower our overall cost of capital.”


Alabama Fiber Network selects Ciena

Alabama is investing over $300 million, funded largely by the American Rescue Plan Act, to expand an open access middle-mile network throughout the state. This initiative aims to improve broadband infrastructure by working with several last- and middle-mile providers. One significant beneficiary of this investment is the Alabama Fiber Network (AFN), a coalition of eight rural electric cooperatives. AFN is leasing dark fiber and constructing new infrastructure to create a network spanning over 5,000 linear miles with interconnect points in all 67 counties, enhancing connectivity in unserved and underserved rural areas.

AFN has selected Ciena as its optical networking vendor for the converged IP/optical middle-mile network. Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Nano (WL5n) 400G Coherent Pluggable Transceivers and 6500 Reconfigurable Line System (RLS) will be utilized in this deployment. This technology will allow AFN to offer scalable bandwidth to last-mile providers, minimizing costs and enhancing efficiency across the state. Additionally, AFN is using Ciena’s Navigator Network Control Suite for simplified network management and Ciena Services for turnkey implementation and solution validation, ensuring a robust and future-proof broadband infrastructure for Alabama.



Rogers runs Ericsson's Cloud RAN at live event

Rogers Communications, in partnership with Ericsson, successfully trialed 5G Cloud-Radio Access Network (Cloud RAN) technology at a nearly sold-out Toronto Blue Jays game on Canada Day. The test marked the first time Cloud RAN has been deployed over a commercial network at a live event in Canada.

Cloud RAN builds on the company’s national standalone 5G core network, which Rogers was first to launch in 2021. 

Earlier this year, Rogers successfully tested 5G network slicing technology also with Ericsson.

“Cloud-native technology is a critical component in the next generation of wireless networks and we are proud to have completed Canada’s first deployment of 5G Cloud RAN technology at a major live event,” said Ron McKenzie, Chief Technology and Information Officer, Rogers. “We continue to invest in our coast-to-coast radio access network, including innovative Cloud-native technologies, to deliver the most reliable, consistent network services across the country for both consumers and enterprise customers.”


Airspan advances its Chapter 11 reorganization plan

Airspan Networks announced that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has confirmed its Plan of Reorganization.

Under the reorganization plan, Airspan will receive up to $95 million in equity financing, as well as access to a $20 million undrawn line of credit. In addition, Airspan’s existing funded debt will be eliminated. Once the plan is implemented, Airspan will become a private company majority-owned by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group.

“We are pleased to have achieved this important milestone,” said Glenn Laxdal, President and Chief Executive Officer of Airspan. “During the restructuring process, our team was fully focused on serving our customers and partners worldwide, and we will emerge from the process as a stronger company positioned to execute our strategic plan. We thank our employees, customers and vendors for their continued support, and look forward to Airspan’s exciting future.”