BBWN Bites: Dems promote $86B broadband 'framework,' Virgin Media cabinets charge Up EVs
Also today, BT's not-so-bonny revenue, Openreach expands FTTP footprint, US broadband households like being serviced, Free brings broadband to the French mountains and more.
House Democrat leaders' "framework," not a bill, includes about $86 billion for high-speed broadband over five years. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Energy and Commerce Committee chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Ways and Means Committee chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) proposed this framework. The "transformative" deal would include $80 billion over five years to roll out high-speed services to underserved and unserved rural, urban and suburban areas. Another $5 billion would be apportioned to low-interest loans over five years and the remaining $1 billion would "promote digital equity and build capacity for efforts by States relating to the adoption of broadband [$540 million]," and to "support digital equity, promote digital inclusion activities, and spur greater adoption of broadband among covered populations [$600 million]."
After a successful trial in London, Virgin Media will expand its installation of electric vehicle charging stations in 1,200 of its approximately 40,000 broadband cabinets in the UK. The working title of this project is "Virgin Media Park & Charge," according to partner Connected Kerb. A 19-member organization participated in the trial, which cost users £3.50 per hour for up to four hours (perhaps discounted for Virgin Media subs?). Liberty Global's project was created in partnership with Innovate UK, a government R&D department designed to help local agencies find solutions for limited availability of on-street EV charging points.
BT reported revenue of £5.78 billion ($7.57 billion) for the last three months of 2019, down 3% year-over-year; adjusted EBITDA dropped 4% to £1.98 billion ($2.6 billion). For its last three quarters to the end-of-year 2019, BT reported revenue of £17.2 billion ($22.5 billion), a 2% decrease versus the same period one year prior, and adjusted EBITDA of £5.9 billion ($7.7 billion), down 3%. The UK incumbent attributed the declines to competition, regulation and declining demand for legacy products. It's also involved in an increasingly heated war of words (and price) with Virgin Media.
In related but more upbeat news from BT, the provider said its wholesale division Openreach has passed 2.2 million UK homes with fiber. This deployment is part of BT's fiber-to-the-premises rollout, sparked in large part by the aggressive work wholesale altnets including CityFibre, Hyperoptic, plus customer-facing competitors such as Zzoomm, toob and others have been doing to increase the UK's fiber footprint.
A new Parks Associates study finds 56% of US broadband households use at least one professional home service, suggesting a strong correlation between the use of IoT devices like connected doorbells, cameras or sprinkler systems and investments in security or lawn services. "Ownership of networked cameras with live streaming capabilities opens the door for additional service opportunities and sales of periphery devices," said Lindsay Gafford, Parks Associates' research analyst. "Safety and security are the leading purchase drivers of smart home devices, and this ability to connect to the home in real time creates new service opportunities adjacent to monitoring and remote access, from safe package delivery to telehealth and independent living solutions."
Getting a Charge Out of Sidewalk Structures
In this picture, Virgin Media adds FTTH equipment. Now, some cabinets will include IoT gear that allows the cable operator to further maximize its broadband and fiber investments.
(Source: Gerald England, licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence)
Illiad-owned broadband brand Free now offers fiber to 4,000-plus homes in the Aude region of France covered by the Emeraude Public Initiative Network (PIN), that's being deployed as a component of a regional ultrafast broadband project. Subscribers pay €14.99 ($16.52) a month for 12 months; the cost then steeply rises (along with the altitude in the mountainous portions of the region) to €34.99 ($38.57) a month.
At 516 Mbit/s, this ain't super high-speed, but Virgin Media did bring a form of broadband to the Test & Dun Valley in southern England. Residents asked the provider to act after "a string of broken promises" from other operators left the rural residents disconnected, Virgin said. Having got commitments from at least 30% of premises in each village -- with up to 75% or more signing on in some -- the operator delivered, reported Light Reading.
Just after BT reported its new Earth-friendly policy of reusing routers and set-top boxes, Orange plans to showcase its eco-nature during the Change Now summit in Paris today. It'll discuss its own device recycling efforts and the amount of energy this gear uses when plugged in or charging.
Connected-Home Users Like Services, Smile Not Necessary
A new report from Parks Associates finds broadband households are more likely to seek out additional IoT devices and services, insight operators may find useful as they pursue complementary offerings to augment investments in WiFi and residential infrastructure.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News
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.