BBWN Bites: BT eyes bucks from backup bandwidth
Also in this roundup: Starlink satellites meet minimum standards; CityFibre plans hiring spree for network expansion; FTTH Council Europe sets its priorities; and survey says US broadband is too expensive and slow.
- This week UK-based provider CityFibre announced that it will hire 10,000 new workers to assist with the construction and rollout of its full-fiber network across the UK. As Anne Morris writes on Light Reading, "the recruitment and training program will extend over three years and will target 'thousands of unemployed UK residents' as well as provide job opportunities for experienced construction and telecoms workers." Furthermore, CityFibre states in its press release that it will "also seek to attract more women and individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, both of which are significantly under-represented in the construction industry." The program aims to find its first recruits later this month.
- Meanwhile, recognizing the greater need for bandwidth as people work and learn from home, BT is coming to the rescue with something new people can pay for. Called the "Dedicated Connection" package, the service is essentially a second broadband line that's there to ease people's minds if not their wallets. As Paul Rainford writes on Light Reading: "The Dedicated Connection package comes with a 'free' line install, its 'converged' BT Halo 2 offering (where in the event of a fixed broadband failure it will send out a 4G mini-hub) and BT's Complete Wi-Fi... For a 24-month contract, existing broadband customers will have to fork out £49.99 (US$63) a month, while non-BT broadband customers will have to find £10 ($12.61) more."
- Speaking of the need for speed, new research from BroadbandNow shows a large number of US households dissatisfied with their Internet service, with 51% citing high costs as their chief complaint and 38% citing slow speeds (that number jumps to 40% when looking at rural areas specifically). However, "calling this good news for Starlink" – SpaceX's forthcoming satellite broadband service – the report also noted that half of the respondents would be willing to pay at least $10 more per month for faster service.
- In even more "good news for Starlink," the service surpassed the minimum number of satellites needed to provide broadband from the sky, with 482 launched so far. SpaceX will launch another batch of nearly 60 satellites this weekend. It currently has the regulatory thumbs up for 12,000 and is seeking approval for an additional 30,000 satellites.
- As we all must, the FTTH Council Europe set out new priorities for itself this week. In a press release, the industry group that seeks to accelerate fiber connectivity across Europe noted "significant progress" has been made in FTTH/B deployment, but that it will soon release a breakdown of connectivity in urban and rural areas "to highlight where the digital divide is most prominent." Further, the Council said it will focus on fiber's pivotal role in transitioning to a green economy, as well as release reporting on cost savings opportunities from the convergence of fiber and 5G in brownfield areas.
— Nicole Ferraro, Contributing Editor, Light Reading
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.
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