BBWN Bites: Starlink shows it's up to speed
Also in this roundup: US broadband competition is lacking; Openreach connects Bedfordshire village of Cranfield; Bluebird builds fiber in Missouri; Charter preps Milwaukee for DNC.
- Beta users of SpaceX's Starlink service posted speed tests on Reddit indicating that Elon Musk's satellite service will meet the FCC's standard for what qualifies as broadband. According to the early results shared online, speeds got as high as 60.24 Mbit/s in the downstream and over 17 Mbit/s in the upstream, with latency levels as low as 31 milliseconds. As Jeff Baumgartner writes on Light Reading, this still doesn’t make Starlink much of a threat to existing ISPs: "While the tests indicate that Starlink will well exceed the FCC's broadband speed threshold, they are a far cry from what consumers and businesses can get from most terrestrial cable and fiber services, with 1 Gbit/s being the typical high-level target these days."
- Meanwhile in Missouri, Bluebird is expanding its fiber build by 60 miles in the city of Columbia. The expansion is part of the company's series of builds being completed throughout the state in Springfield, Jefferson City, Joplin and Strafford. In a press release, Bluebird notes that the company's growth has been helped by its acquisition of PEG Bandwidth Illinois and the Illinois Network Alliance (INA) over the last year, strengthening its fiber infrastructure.
- Broadband competition in the US is lacking overall. That's according to a new study from the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) showing that almost 50 million Americans have only one choice of broadband provider where they live. The data further shows that 22 million people only have access to broadband through Comcast and Xfinity; and that Comcast and Charter Communications have a monopoly in areas of 47 million people. (See Broadband competition MIA for millions of US homes – study.)
- Speaking of Charter, with the Democratic National Convention kicking off next week "in" Wisconsin but really "on" Zoom windows across the country, the cableco announced its plan to spend an additional $100,000 to support the region. According to a press release: "Charter's $100,000 community impact support is part of a broader $1.4 million investment in conjunction with the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC). Charter will serve as a premier connectivity provider for the Convention and has built and upgraded the broadband infrastructure in downtown Milwaukee to serve the Wisconsin Convention Center, Panther Arena and Miller High Life Theater, much of which will remain in place post-Convention." The additional $100,000 will help support a weeklong community impact series organized by non-profits, including Sojourner Family Peace Center, Revitalize Milwaukee and more.
- Openreach is encouraging people living and working in the Bedfordshire village of Cranfield to upgrade their Internet. After nearly a year of work, the UK provider announced that full-fiber broadband is now available for more than 2,000 local homes and businesses. In a press announcement, Openreach (which is working toward its goal of reaching 20 million premises throughout the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s) said work is also underway in the nearby towns and villages of Olney, Weston Underwood, Lavendon, Emberton, Clifton Reynes, Shefford, Clifton and Henlow.
— 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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