BBWN Bites: Microsoft Extends Broadband to New Markets
Also, Michigan offers millions in grants; a verdict in Orange CEO case; Europe penalizes Belgian broadband initiative; Telefónica wholesaler expands offerings; solar powers network vendor and WISPA's new directors.
Faster Internet is on its way in several US states. First, Watch Communications teamed up with the Microsoft Airband Initiative to bring broadband access to about 17 million people in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois by July 2022. This ongoing program taps unused broadcast TV frequencies and local service providers to deliver connectivity to rural regions and unserved populations, which Microsoft estimates at about 162 million people across the nation (the FCC says 21-plus million Americans don't have broadband). The two organizations expect to reach 50 counties in Indiana, 22 counties in Illinois and most Ohio counties, according to Microsoft.
And Consolidated Communications is launching gigabit services to 12,000-plus residential and SMB premises via its new FTTP deployment, available to 500,000 Northern New England customers. This, of course, accelerates subscribers' symmetrical speeds for increasingly popular add-on services like video, cloud-based services and other more margin-rich, differentiating offerings available via Consolidated Communications' portal.
In related news, Michigan is offering $20 million in grants to service providers as part of its Connecting Michigan Communities program. Operators can apply for up to $5 million per grant for wiring unserved and under-served areas; the deadline is Aug. 31, 2019, and awardees will be announced in April 2020.
A French court has cleared Orange CEO and Chairman Stephane Richard of complicity in fraud, ending a drawn-out legal case and enabling him to stay at the helm of the international operator. Allegations go back to 2008; that's when government officials accused Richard of working with convicted businessman Bernard Tapie to cheat the French government out of about €403 million (US$455 million).
The sun is now powering about 90% of the Anaheim, Calif.-based headquarters of networking and broadband vendor Zyxel, according to Solar Power World. Partners SunPower and Renova Energy worked with Zyxel over about seven months, from design to deployment, as part of the vendor's plan to cut its carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency (plus save money).
The European Commission ordered Belgium to pay €5,000 per day for its failure to implement an EU mandate on high-speed Internet deployment. The European Commission started legal action against the country two years ago when the directive had not been translated into Belgian law. This directive, which lays out rules for high-speed broadband rollouts across the bloc, intends to reduce pricing for consumers and was required to be transposed into national law by Jan. 1, 2016 at the latest.
Telefónica International Wholesale Services (TIWS) expanded its offerings into more than 30 European and Latin American countries. TIWS, Telefónica's wholesale business unit, provides Internet services to operators looking to deliver cloud apps, high-definition video streaming and other offerings to customers outside their footprints.
WISPA, an association of wireless ISPs and companies that support fixed wireless, today announced that Dave Giles, Todd Harpest and Daniel White each won three-year terms to its 2019 board of directors. Giles is general manager for fixed wireless at operator Midco; Harpest is director, External Affairs and Regulatory at MetaLINK Technologies, which he co-founded 23 years ago as a dial-up ISP (it now uses fiber and wireless of course); and White is co-founder of white-label voice-over-IP and IPTV provider Atheral.
On the Road to Connectivity
The Microsoft Airband Initiative is one route to resolving the digital divide, the developer says.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.
Here's where you can find episode links for 'The Divide,' Light Reading's podcast series featuring conversations with broadband providers and policymakers working to close the digital divide.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will present our Cable Next-Gen Europe conference as a free digital symposium on June 21.
Charter has sparked RDOF work in all 24 states where it won bids. The cable op booked about $19 million in RDOF revenues in Q1, and expects to have about $9 million per month come in over the next ten years.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will stage the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference as a free digital event over two half-days in mid-March.
Launch of 2-Gig and 5-Gig FTTP tiers in 70-plus markets puts more pressure on cable ops to enhance their existing DOCSIS 3.1 network or accelerate their upgrade activity centered on the new DOCSIS 4.0 specs.