BBWN Bites: Comcast cap inspires town to consider building own network
Also in this roundup: Nokia projects fiber 'leading broadband technology' in India by 2025; Truespeed rolls out in Bath; Telesat taps Thales for satellite broadband network; and more.
- A Comcast plan to charge broadband overage data fees in its Northeast division has inspired a town in Massachusetts to reconsider its options. While Comcast, under pressure, has postponed plans to impose data cap fees through July, the experience has led local officials in Agawam, Massachusetts, to create a task force to study the possibility of establishing a new fiber network. According to MassLive, Agawam Mayor William Sapelli says the town needs an alternative to Comcast, currently the only available ISP. "It's getting ridiculous. It's not just the price people are paying, but the reliability," he said. Mayor Sapelli expects the task force to report back with recommendations late spring. According to BroadbandNow, Agawam is the 102nd most connected city in Massachusetts.
- Fiber will become the leading broadband technology in India by 2025, according to the Mobile Broadband India Traffic Index (MBiT) report by Nokia. The report projects 10 million fiber connections by 2025. For context on pace of growth, India had 4 million FTTH connections by the end of last year, an increase of just over 1 million year-on-year (and up from 0.7 million in 2014). The report also predicts that fiber connections will increase from less than 15% of total fixed-broadband connections in 2019 to 48.3% by 2025. While 32% of telecom towers in India are currently fiberized, Nokia's report projects this will increase to 70% by 2024.
- Canadian satellite provider Telesat has tapped Thales Alenia Space for a multi-billion-dollar deal to construct its Lightspeed constellation of broadband satellites. The low-Earth orbit (LEO) constellation will comprise 298 satellites with a collective capacity of 15 Tbit/s. In a press release, Dan Goldberg, President and CEO of Telesat, said the company was "very pleased" to be moving forward with Thales: "Thales Alenia Space is the right industrial partner to deliver Lightspeed, a fully integrated global communications network that will revolutionize satellite-delivered broadband and give Telesat and its customers a decisive competitive edge in this high growth market." The companies say that the first satellites will be ready for launch in two years and that Lightspeed will provide "fiber-like" connectivity across the globe "at price points that allow network operators to efficiently and economically enhance their network coverage, performance and profitability."
- Truespeed announced some network expansions in the UK this week. Notably, the company has started to roll out its fiber network in Bath; in addition to expanding its coverage in Keynsham, Saltford and South Widcombe. The company also said it will boost its investment in Wells, where it currently covers over 3,000 premises. Truespeed plans to have 500,000 properties connected to its network by 2025. In a press release, it boasts that it has "already connected over 200 communities ignored by national broadband providers."
- In other fibrous UK news, CityFibre broke ground in the cities of Bradford and Sheffield, where the company is investing £75 million ($103.9 million) and £115 million ($159.3 million) respectively on a full-fiber digital transformation. Further, CityFibre also announced a partnership this week with wholesale-only network provider Virtual1. As per the agreement, Virtual1 will enable its 600+ channel partners to access CityFibre's differentiated business Ethernet infrastructure; while CityFibre will leverage Virtual1's national network to deliver fiber beyond its own footprint.
— Nicole Ferraro, contributing editor, Light Reading