BBWN Bites: Openreach keeps reaching
Also in this roundup: Mississippi subpoenas AT&T; record-setting broadband growth for Comcast; TalkTalk study says workers more productive at home.
- Openreach, the fiber-loving arm of BT, has added another 67 locations to its plan to build FTTP across the entire UK by mid-to-late 2020s. According to an announcement, that now makes for over 560 "towns, cities, boroughs, villages and hamlets" included in the company's "Fibre First" program. Work on the new locations will start in March 2021 and occur over the next two years. As Openreach states in its release, "Since the build programme began in February 2018, Openreach engineers have deployed around 2.6 million kilometres of fibre – enough to travel to the moon and back three times." (The ideal vacation.)
- UK broadband provider TalkTalk released a "study" this week showing that a majority of workers say they are more productive working from home and do not expect to return to an office five days per week. As per the report, entitled "Lockdown Lessons," 58% of workers in the UK said they were more productive as a result of working from home (although only 30% of business leaders agreed that working remotely made their teams more productive). Further, 52% of respondents said the pandemic had made them realize "the importance of the fast, reliable Internet connection." Good thing, as it just so happens that TalkTalk has a Homeworker package it's promoting in conjunction with the report. The package offers a second, business-only line with speeds up to 76 Mbit/s for £24.95 ($32.30) a month.
- The state of Mississippi issued a subpoena late last week to AT&T demanding records of the broadband expansion work it promised to do in the state, for which AT&T received nearly $300 million from the state's Public Service Commission. The subpoena requests records showing the number of actual subscribers to AT&T's service within the 133,000 locations where the company says it provided it, in addition to records of customer complaints, according to AP.
The AP story further quotes Commissioner Brandon Presley as saying: "AT&T has pocketed $283,780,632 of public money with a promise to expand internet service, yet they refuse to answer the most basic questions of a regulator surrounding the use of these dollars and the actual success of their plans... It is very clear to me that AT&T's position is to take as much public money as possible and answer as few questions from regulators as possible." An AT&T spokesperson was quoted as saying "we are confident that we will exceed the final CAF II goal of providing high-speed access to 133,000 rural Mississippi homes by the end of this year."
- Speaking at the Goldman Sachs 29th Annual Communacopia Conference this week, Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts confirmed that the company is on target for a banner broadband year. According to Roberts, Comcast is experiencing record broadband subscriber growth for the current third quarter, with an additional 500,000 new subs (the previous record, set in Q1 2008, was 492,000). Overall, Comcast expects new broadband subscribers for 2020 to "greatly exceed" the 1.4 million it added in 2019.
— 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.