Also in this roundup: West Virginia braces for disappointment; Openreach rolls on in Scotland; Welsh commission pushes mobile broadband.
A story in WV Public Broadcasting offers a glimpse into some of the local ramifications and responses to the winning bidders in the FCC's RDOF auction, which doled out $9.2 billion in broadband funding in phase one this week. One of those ISPs is Frontier, which received over two thirds of the $362 million allocated to West Virginia by the FCC. While the purpose of the RDOF is to address the digital divide, advocates in West Virginia did not receive Frontier's win as good news. As WV Public Broadcasting reports: "The company has a long track record of making – and then breaking – extravagant promises in West Virginia, and there's doubt as to whether this time will be any different." One doesn't have to go back far to find evidence for these concerns. The report notes that West Virginia was forced to return $4.7 million in federal funds back in 2017, awarded by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, after Frontier scaled back its promised fiber build by a couple hundred miles and an inspector general report found that the company also added extra charges unnecessarily to hundreds of invoices. (For more on the RDOF phase one outcome, see RDOF round one: Winners and losers.)
Defying its name, UK ISP Zen Internet has issued an anxious warning about traffic surges on Christmas Day. According to ISPreview, based on Zen Internet's survey of 2,005 UK gamers, the company is sounding the alarm that new game consoles including the Xbox X and PS5 will cause traffic surges and worse performance. "The new PlayStation and Xbox consoles are raising the bar for gamers worldwide, with huge anticipation for the new graphics and game releases that come with them. However, many could be left frustrated by connectivity issues that ruin their holiday spirit," said Richard Tang, Zen's Chairman and Founder. Ruined holiday spirit would not be zen at all, obviously. Fortunately, through the magic of Christmas and subliminal marketing, the survey also highlights 13% of respondents who said they plan to upgrade their service before the holidays to avoid this very unmerry fate. Another option is deep breaths.
Openreach, meanwhile, is feeling pretty zen about its fiber plans for Scotland. The company announced this week that "after delivering 6,500km of fibre optic cable, and bringing superfast broadband to more than 290 Highlands and Islands communities, a £146m fibre broadband roll-out is making its final connections before handing over to the Scottish Government's Reaching 100% (R100) programme." The roll-out is part of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project, which is funded by the Scottish government, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and BT, which owns Openreach.
The National Infrastructure Commission for Wales (NICW) issued a report this week urging the Welsh government to take action to speed up the rollout of broadband in the country, or face economic consequences. While the report recommends setting a goal similar to the UK government's plan to deliver fiber to every household by 2025, it also acknowledges that plan as unrealistic and suggests a different path for Wales that places higher priority on mobile broadband. According to the commission, using 4G and 5G to provide home broadband services would happen faster and at a fraction of the cost. "They would not provide the gigabit speeds that are required for Virtual Reality gaming or 8k TV consumption (the benefits of which we are uncertain about in any event), but they would still provide households and businesses in Wales with a substantial and necessary improvement in their broadband capability, at least until fibre to the home eventually arrives," writes NICW. Indeed, another key recommendation from the commission includes establishing a "barrier busting" taskforce to help remove impediments to FTTH buildout.
Today’s access network architecture is under mounting pressure due to a continued surge in the number of connected devices, a proliferation of bandwidth-intensive customer applications and dramatic shifts in usage patterns related to the pandemic, such as work-from-home and e-learning.
Learn why now is the right time for cable operators to build greenfield networks or expand their existing networks with 10G PON, arming customers with high-speed symmetrical broadband. Gain a clear understanding of the drivers impacting the access network and the various approaches being considered to deliver higher speed services. Plus, find out the best practices that operators are employing as they leverage the latest in passive optical technology to future-proof their networks.
Topics to be covered include:
Node + 0 (Fiber Deep)
DOCSIS 3.1, DOCSIS 4.0 (FDX/ESD)
FTTP and 10G PON
Provisioning 10G PON within a DOCSIS B/OSS environment