Two years ago, we reported that “Verizon has completed a field trial of NG-PON2 fiber-to-the-premises technology that could provide the infrastructure for download speeds up to 10 Gbps for residential and business customers.”
This past January, Verizon completed its first interoperability trial of NG-PON2 technology at its Verizon Labs location in Waltham, MA. During the trial, Verizon demonstrated that equipment from different vendors on each end of a single fiber—one on the service provider’s endpoint and that the customer premises—can deliver service without any end-user impact.
In an October 16th press release in advance of the Broadband Forum’s Access Summit, Verizon said NG-PON2 represent a paradigm shift in the access space and a more certain path towards long-term success.
“Technologies such as NG-PON2 present exciting new opportunities for vendors, such as delivering residential and business services on multiple wavelengths over the same fiber,” said Vincent O’Byrne, Director of Technology at Verizon.
“Not only does NG-PON2 parse business and residential customer traffic to isolate and resolve potential problems in the network, it can also scale to achieve speeds of 40 Gbps and above,” O’Byrne added.
“Technologies such as NG-PON2 present exciting new opportunities for vendors, such as delivering residential and business services on multiple wavelengths over the same fiber,” said O’Byrne. “Not only does NG-PON2 parse business and residential customer traffic to isolate and resolve potential problems in the network, it can also scale to achieve speeds of 40 Gbps and above.”
At the Broadband Forum’s Access Summit, The Verizon executive will address how the fiber access space is constantly evolving, with emerging PON technology providing solutions to some of the issues around cost and reliability during the Broadband World Forum, at the Messe Berlin on Tuesday, Oct. 24th.
Verizon has been an active participant in driving awareness about how NG-PON2 can work in a real-world carrier environment. The company completed NG-PON2 interoperability with five vendors for its OpenOMCI (ONT Management and Control Interface) spec, bringing it one step closer toward achieving interoperable NG PON systems.
The mega telco plans to offer it’s own OpenOMCI specification , which define the optical line terminal (OLT)-to-optical network terminal (ONT) interface, to the larger telecom industry.
Note 1. OpenOMCI specification was developed and is owned by Verizon, rathr than a formal standards/spec writing body like the ITU-T or Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF). Is this the new way of producing specs (like “5G” used in trials)?
Bernd Hesse, Chair of the Broadband Access Summit and Senior Director Technology Development at Calix, said:
“We will be exploring NG-PON2 in depth and the use cases that underpin the decisions to deploy them. I look forward to the debate, hearing from the experts in the industry and welcoming the community to these new Forum events.”
NOTE: This article complements others we’ve recently posted on U.S. carriers move to broadband fixed wireless access for rural and under-served geographical areas.
In many rural communities, where available broadband speed and capacity barely surpass old-fashioned dial-up connections, residents sacrifice not only their online pastimes but also chances at a better living. Counties without modern internet connections can’t attract new firms, and their isolation discourages the enterprises they have: ranchers who want to buy and sell cattle in online auctions or farmers who could use the internet to monitor crops. Reliance on broadband includes any business that uses high-speed data transmission, spanning banks to insurance firms to factories.
Rural counties with more households connected to broadband had higher incomes and lower unemployment than those with fewer, according to a 2015 study by university researchers in Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas who compared rural counties before and after getting high-speed internet service.
“Having access to broadband is simply keeping up,” said Sharon Strover, a University of Texas professor who studies rural communication. “Not having it means sinking.”
Ensuring access to an open, thriving online ecosystem through modern and even-handed internet rules is critical for every American, but much more so for the 60 million rural Americans who rely on the internet to connect them to a rapidly evolving global economy. Studies show that as rural communities adopt and use broadband services, incomes go up and unemployment falls. Broadband providers support protections that ensure consumers and innovators alike don’t have to worry about blocked websites or throttled service. Rural areas need more investment, not less. And modern Open Internet rules will encourage this needed progress.
Full Story: ustelecom.org
Sidebar – Fast Internet Service:
About 39% of the U.S. rural population, or 23 million people, lack access to broadband internet service—defined as “fast” by the Federal Communications Commission—compared with 4% of the urban residents.
Fast Internet service, according to the FCC, means a minimum download speed of 25 megabits per second, a measure of bandwidth known as Mbps. That speed can support email, web surfing, video streaming and graphics for more than one device at once. It is faster than old dial-up connections—typically, less than 1 Mbps—but slower than the 100 Mbps service common in cities.
A recent Forbes article titled “Don’t Forget Rural America…..” by Richard Boucher stated:
In announcing the “Restoring Internet Freedom” rulemaking, the FCC stated that “[o]ur actions today continue our critical work to promote broadband deployment to rural consumers and infrastructure investment throughout our nation, to brighten the future of innovation both within networks and at their edge, and to close the digital divide.” This past July, the Commission declared August to be “Rural Broadband Month” at the FCC.
Two years following the 2015 reclassification of broadband as a common carrier telecommunications service, it’s clear that broadband investment has declined in rural America. Representatives of internet service providers (ISPs) from states like Arkansas, Washington, Kentucky, and Nebraska have all offered evidence detailing how regulatory uncertainty arising from the “Title II” decision has retarded and, in many situations, stopped investment in their regions.
The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), which has a large rural membership, said that the switch to Title II has led to “vast uncertainty and significant negative economic impacts for WISPA members who have built their networks from scratch using their own at-risk capital without federal subsidies[.]”
The formula for bringing high-speed internet connectivity to everyone in rural America is multi-faceted. It requires a combination of wired and wireless deployments, and government – through the FCC’s Universal Service programs and loans and grants from the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture – all have a role to play. But indispensable to success is the creation of a regulatory framework that incentivizes private capital to deploy broadband everywhere, including rural America. As long as the regulatory uncertainty of Title II remains, rural America to a large extent will be cut off from essential private broadband deployment funding and, as a result, fall even further behind.
The discussion, as well as a fair amount of heated rhetoric, are sure to continue over the next few weeks regarding the proper classification for broadband. Meanwhile, don’t forget rural America. The best way to ensure that all corners of the country get the connectivity they need is for the FCC to restore the classification of broadband as an information service. Thereafter, Congress should enact legislation that codifies open internet rules and at long last puts to rest a debate that has raged for more than a decade.
Another approach to delivering rural broadband are co-ops like this one:
AT&T is not the only U.S. carrier attempting to provide broadband fixed wireless access to rural areas. CenturyLink has requested an experimental license from the Federal Communications Commission for a test to reach isolated rural areas via a fixed wireless service over the 3.4 GHz to 3.7 GHz spectrum band.
The trial is aimed to evaluate the use of wireless spectrum to provide broadband services to those rural areas where it’s difficult to make wire-line infrastructure/facilities available.
“The testing seeks to understand the viability of new technologies in this band,” CenturyLink wrote in an FCC filing.
“CenturyLink seeks confidential treatment for the Exhibit on the basis that it contains confidential commercial information, technical data and trade secrets concerning CenturyLink services under development and related testing processes, all of which CenturyLink customarily guards from public disclosure,” CenturyLink said.
Besides the 3.4-3.7 GHz bands, CenturyLink is looking at how it might work with other network service providers rolling out future 5G wireless networks.
Glen Post, CEO of CenturyLink, told investors during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in September that it would be open to such partnerships to accelerate the speed at which it is rolling out service to rural areas under the CAF-II program.
“On the wireless side, we want to partner with 5G providers and other wireless providers where we can bring higher speeds to customers at less costs,” Post said. “If some of the proposed wireless build-outs occur in the CAF-II areas we cover, we think it will be a lower-cost opportunity to reach those customers and cover higher speeds for a lot more customers with that type of technology.”
CenturyLink joins several other rural-centric providers like Frontier, Consolidated and Windstream are seeing similar potential. As we’ve previously noted, AT&T’s rural wireless broadband recently added 9 more states.
Frontier confirmed it was conducting tests of how it can use fixed wireless to address the broadband availability problem in very rural areas via the FCC’s CAF-II funds.
Frontier joined Consolidated and Windstream in a joint FCC filing (PDF) related to a request to create flexible use of spectrum bands between 3.7 and 24 GHz.
Consolidated and Windstream also expressed interest in being able to use 3.7-4.2 GHz band spectrum for rural fixed point-to-multipoint deployments, such as through the rules proposed by the Broadband Access Coalition.
The service providers said that these spectrum bands would “provide another key tool in the toolbox to reach the hardest to serve rural Americans.”
AT&T has brought its fixed wireless broadband service to nine more states, bringing the total coverage to more than 160,000 rural locations in 18 states. The service, partly funded by the U.S. federal Connect America Fund (CAF) program, provides homes and businesses with download speeds of at least 10 Mbps with a minimum of 1 Mbps upstream. The service uses licensed WCS (Band 30) 2.3 GHz spectrum.
This fixed wireless service has broadband usage caps of 160 GB per month, with additional 50 GB increments of data charged at $10 per month. It’s priced at $60 per month when bundled with other AT&T services.
The additional 9 states include:
They join Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, where this AT&T rural broadband service is already available in certain markets. AT&T has plans to reach 400,000 locations by the end of this year, and over 1.1 million locations by 2020. This AT&T rural broadband expansion is partially funded by the Connect America Fund (CAF), the FCC’s program to expand rural broadband access.
“Closing the connectivity gap is a top priority for us,” said Cheryl Choy, vice president, wired voice and internet products at AT&T in a press release announcing the expansion. “Access to fast and reliable internet is a game changer in today’s world.”
AT&T may gain some competition for this fixed wireless service, at least in Mississippi. C Spire just announced their intention to aggressively expand fixed wireless service in Mississippi this week. They cited the advantage their 25 Mbps fixed wireless service has over certain CAF funded 10 Mbps fixed wireless options, a specific reference to AT&T.
“For many rural families and communities, the introduction of this service from AT&T will mark a new era of increased broadband speeds and access to cheaper and more diverse content.” said Bret Swanson, president, Entropy Economics. “AT&T’s move into these new communities will also yield additional economic benefits and can help create new jobs.”
To learn more about Fixed Wireless Internet from AT&T, go to att.com/internet/fixed-wireless.html.
Research conducted by IHS Markit and Point Topic was published today by the European Commission (EC). The Broadband Coverage in Europe 2016 study found that at the end of June 2016, more than three-quarters of EU homes have access to high-speed broadband services and 4G LTE coverage was nearly ubiquitous with 96 percent of EU households covered by 4G LTE networks.
This is the fourth edition of the study delivered by IHS Markit and Point Topic to the EC which provides data and analysis on availability of broadband services by various technologies in 31 countries across Europe (EU-28, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland).
The final report and accompanying data tables are available at the EC website.
- In the 12 months to the end of June 2016, 12.8 million new EU households gained access to high-speed broadband delivered via Next-Generation Access (NGA) networks
s:By mid-2016, high-speed broadband services (at least 30 Mbps download speeds) were available to 75.9 percent of EU households
- Very-high-speed-DSL (VDSL) continues to be the key driver of NGA coverage growth across the EU, increasing by 7.1 percentage points and reaching nearly a half (48.2 percent) of EU homes
- 4G-LTE networks expanded at a fast pace and covered 96 percent of EU households by the end of June 2016
- The gap between rural and national NGA coverage is closing, but remains significant with only 39.2 percent rural households across the EU having access to high-speed broadband services
“Availability of 4G-LTE services has become near-universal in many study countries,” said Alzbeta Fellenbaum, principal analyst at IHS Markit and manager of the project. “In 11 countries, LTE coverage reached 99 percent of households and overall, LTE coverage now reaches similar levels to those of 3G HSPA networks. This is a major improvement compared to just four years ago, when 4G LTE services were available to only 59.1 percent of EU homes.”
Copper upgrades continue to be key for high-speed broadband growth in Europe
Broadband network operators across Europe continue to focus their deployment strategies on upgrading existing copper DSL networks instead of investing in the typically more expensive deployments of fibre optic networks all the way to customers’ property.
“Since 2013, VDSL has been the fastest growing fixed broadband technology tracked by the study, and some countries have seen dramatic year-on-year growth in VDSL,” Fellenbaum said. “For instance, VDSL coverage in Italy more than doubled during the twelve-month period to mid-2016, as coverage increased by 33.6 percentage points. Iceland, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia also witnessed double-digit growth in VDSL coverage during the twelve-month period to mid-2016.”
Portugal breaks Baltic leadership in super-fast FTTP broadband availability for the first time
Availability of fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) services in Portugal improved by 10.7 percentage points during the twelve-month period to mid-2016 and as a consequence of this growth, Portugal with 86.1 percent of home passed by FTTP networks has now surpassed Latvia (85.2 percent) and Lithuania (81.4 percent) to rank first in terms of FTTP coverage among all study countries.
However, big differences remain among European countries in terms of FTTP availability and while FTTP access is on offer in all study countries, in some of the countries FTTP services are available only on a very limited basis.
As in previous years, Greece and Belgium reported the lowest levels of FTTP coverage, at 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent. In the UK, FTTP coverage was only slightly higher at 1.8 percent. “This reflects the preference of operators in these countries to prioritise their deployment strategies on upgrading existing VDSL networks, rather than investing in the typically more expensive FTTP technology,” Fellenbaum reiterated.
Gap in rural broadband coverage shrinking
Access to broadband services in rural areas remains a key priority for the EU. At the end of June 2016, 92.6 percent of rural households across the EU28 had access to at least one fixed broadband technology. However, only 39.2 percent (12.0 million rural households) could benefit from NGA broadband.
Nevertheless, rural NGA coverage increased by 9.5 percentage points by mid-2016 and in total, 2.9 million additional rural households gained access to next generation broadband services between the end of June 2015 and 2016.
“Moreover, we have seen that the gap between rural and national coverage, for both overall fixed and NGA technologies, is declining compared to previous editions of the study suggesting increasing investment in rural broadband,” Fellenbaum said.
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The State of Broadband 2017: Broadband Catalyzing Sustainable Development report has been released by the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.
According to the report, while 48% of the global population is now online, some 3.9 billion people still do not have Internet access, with the digital gap growing between developed and developing countries.
In addition, only 76% of the world’s population lives within access of a 3G signal, and only 43% of people within access of a 4G connection. The disparities in gender access are also becoming wider in developing countries.
“Broadband is crucial to connecting people to the resources needed to improve their livelihoods, and to the world achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, who serves as co-Vice Chair of the Commission with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.
“The goals for education, gender equality and infrastructure include bold targets for information and communication technology. The State of Broadband 2017 report outlines how broadband is already contributing to this and makes valuable recommendations for how it can increase this contribution into the future.”
Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani, Group CEO, Ooredoo, said:
“The report shines a crucial light on the ongoing global challenge to help people across the world access the life-changing benefits of internet access. At Ooredoo, we continue to invest in mobile technology, people and resources that enable our communities – in particular underserved women and youth – to enjoy the internet and use it as a means to improve their lives and achieve their full potential. As we deploy the power of digital technology to give people access to the services and support they need, we urge governments, operators and regulators to continue working closely together to address the deepening digital inequality in global connectivity.”
Issued annually, The State of Broadband report is a unique global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by-country data measuring broadband access against key advocacy targets set by the Commission in 2011.
The report also examines global trends in broadband connectivity and technologies, reflects on policy and regulatory developments, as well as the applications of broadband for sustainable development. It also presents several policy recommendations.
Promoting investment in broadband connectivity from a broad range of sectors, the report notes, can help achieve the full potential of these technologies and bring the world closer to the goal of an inclusive digital society accessible by all.