BBWN Bites: Q3 saw most broadband gains since 2009 – report
Also in this roundup: Viasat bets on European broadband; Nokia intros 25G PON; signs of broadband boost under President-elect Biden.
- According to data from Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG), the largest providers in the US gained 1.53 million net broadband subscribers in the third quarter of 2020. This compares to 615,000 in the same quarter last year and it represents the largest gain for a quarter since Q1 2009. "These top broadband providers now account for about 104.9 million subscribers, with top cable companies having about 72 million broadband subscribers, and top wireline phone companies having about 32.9 million subscribers," says LRG in a press release. Those top providers in terms of total subscribers and net gains for Q3 2020 include Comcast and Charter Communications in the cable category; with 30.1 million and 28.6 million total broadband subs; and AT&T and Verizon in the wireline category, with 15.4 million and 7.1 million respective subscribers.
- As President-elect Joe Biden moves closer to claiming the office he was elected to (despite Trump's dye-hard loyalists getting in the way), there's growing hope that the federal government will soon make the nation's inefficient and inequitable broadband a priority. As The Washington Post writes this week, "Party leaders are mulling a wide array of proposals that would extend the availability of broadband in hard-to-reach rural areas, raise Internet speeds for American households, assist families who are struggling to pay their Internet bills and provide more funding to schools for computers and other equipment. Many Democrats say they are bullish about their prospects, believing they can shepherd a series of record-breaking investments at a time when the resurgent coronavirus is forcing Americans to work and learn from home again." Furthermore, should Democrats win the two Georgia Senate runoff elections in January, that makes it likely the Biden administration will also be able to sign the Heroes Act into law, passed by the House in May and since stalled in the Republican-led Senate, which contains several broadband measures including $3 billion in emergency funds to help low-income Americans stay online at home during COVID-19. Biden also made Internet connectivity a part of his presidential platform, calling for a $20 billion investment in rural broadband infrastructure.
- In a real snoozefest of a year where almost nothing new or unprecedented has happened, Nokia has emerged as a hero to give us something to remember 2020 by. The company announced this week that it has unveiled the "world's first fully commercial" 25Gbit/s symmetrical PON fiber broadband offering. In a press release, Nokia touts the development as essential for next-generation technologies: "The superior bandwidth and low-latency performance of the Nokia solution – enabled by the purpose built Quillion chipset family – means it can support 5G mobile transport as well as true 10G service for enterprises," it says. Nokia further calls 25G PON a "key technology that will enable fiber to become the single infrastructure that underpins the entire telecom industry." All Nokia customers with 10Gbit/s Quillion boards will have 25Gbit/s capabilities in their network.
- If you were planning to purchase Eutelsat's 51% stake in Euro Broadband Infrastructure (EBI), the company operating the KA-SAT satellite, and its European broadband business, you are too late. Satellite operator and 49% shareholder Viasat announced this week that it will acquire that 51% stake for €140 million (US$165.7 million), in a move to strengthen its standing in Europe's broadband market. The acquisition "accelerates Viasat's European broadband objectives by strengthening our services footprint and facilitating further market penetration," said Keven Lippert, chief commercial officer of Viasat in a press release. "By gaining full control of KA-SAT, Viasat can further expand its growing mobility business as well as establish operations and market presence ahead of our ViaSat-3 service launch, including the introduction of new capabilities enabling high-speed, high-bandwidth 'ViaSat-3-like' home internet service plans in select European markets." (Read more about this on Light Reading: Viasat seizes control of destiny in Europe.)
— 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.