In partnership with FirstLight Fiber, Bell Canada announced new, unique wavelength data routes this week with speeds up to 400G b/sec with triple redundancy between Secaucus, NJ, Toronto, and Montreal, Canada. These data routes, enabling triversity, are expected to be available in Q1 of 2024.
According to the statement, Bell launched 400G wavelength technology in April 2021, delivering increased speeds and the capacity required for large cloud and data centre providers. The technology is said to offer reliable, secure fibre-optic networks for the transport of voice, data, and video.
Additionally, Bell noted that, as Secaucus, NJ is a major data centre hub experiencing growth and increased customer demand, this development will support the company in enhancing network resilience. This improvement addresses the needs of customers requiring connectivity between Canada and the US.
The new routes will terminate at Equinix’s data centre campus in Secaucus, facilitating traffic flow into the U.S. and strengthening the networks for Bell customers.
The introduction of new routes brings triversity to Secaucus, offering alternative connections without the need to pass through New York City for two key routes.
The first route originates in Toronto, directly connecting to Secaucus. The second route from Montreal to Secaucus travels via Albany, creating a diverse pathway. The third route, also from Montreal to Secaucus through the Maritimes, passes through Manhattan.
These routes not only enhance accessibility to Secaucus but also contribute to triversity in New York City. Alongside the existing routes to New York City, these new connections with diverse paths include Toronto to Secaucus to NYC, Montreal to NYC via Albany, and Montreal to NYC via the Maritimes.
Bell Canada said these new routes will fortify its extensive footprint, enabling faster and more reliable data transport between major hubs in Secaucus, Toronto, and Montreal.
“With continued growth in data demand, – particularly because of cloud technology and AI delivered by leading telecom networks like Bell Canada – we are excited to fortify Bell’s extensive footprint further with these new routes, which will enable faster and more reliable data transport between the major hubs in Secaucus, Toronto, and Montréal.”
– Ivan Mihaljevic, SVP, Bell Wholesale
“Given the vast amount of bandwidth we expect AI will require, coupled with the criticality of network resilience, we are delighted to work with Bell Canada to offer these unique routes that provide bandwidth up to 400G, diversely routed between Canada and the United States.”
– Patrick Coughlin, Chief Development Officer for FirstLight.
Bell is Canada’s largest communications company,1 providing advanced broadband wireless, TV, Internet, media, and business communication services throughout the country. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca or BCE.ca.
Through Bell for Better, we are investing to create a better today and a better tomorrow by supporting the social and economic prosperity of our communities. This includes the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, which promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk Day and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research, and workplace leadership initiatives throughout the country. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.
1 Based on total revenue and total combined customer connections.
FirstLight, headquartered in Albany, New York, provides fibre-optic data, Internet, data center, cloud, unified communications, and managed services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic connecting more than 15,000 locations in service with more than 125,000 locations serviceable by our more than 25,000-route mile network. FirstLight offers a robust suite of advanced telecommunications products featuring a comprehensive portfolio of high bandwidth connectivity solutions including Ethernet, wavelength and dark fibre services as well as dedicated Internet access solutions, data center, cloud and voice services. FirstLight’s clientele includes national cellular providers and wireline carriers and many leading enterprises, spanning high tech manufacturing and research, hospitals and healthcare, banking and financial, secondary education, colleges and universities, and local and state governments FirstLight was named a Top Workplace USA in 2022 and 2023.
Rochester, N.Y., based Precision Optical Technologies (OT) has struck a multi-year “strategic partnership” with Charter Communications to upgrade the latter’s optical network. In alignment with Charter’s Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) network expansion and operational enhancement initiatives, this collaboration will see the deployment of nearly all of Precision OT’s active and passive portfolio of solutions; to include 10G DWDM tunable optics, 100G and 400G optics, Bluetooth® DWDM tuning modules, passive connectivity solutions and more. Precision OT didn’t announce the financial terms of the agreement.
Charter plans to upgrade about 85% of its HFC plant using a distributed architecture paired with a virtual cable modem termination system (vCMTS) and “high-split’ upgrades that dedicate more spectrum to the DOCSIS upstream. About 50% of Charter’s HFC plant will be upgraded to 1.2GHz of capacity and 35% will upgrade to 1.8GHz and a full deployment of DOCSIS 4.0. The remaining 15% of Charter’s footprint will be moved to 1.2GHz with a high-split but forgo DAA and a vCMTS.
Greg Mott, SVP Field Operations Engineering at Charter Communications said of the partnership, saying: “The team at Precision OT has a clear understanding of Charter’s broadband network evolution — cost, scale, and speed — and their mix of solutions will help us deliver on our commitments across our 41-state service area.”
Charter has also tapped Harmonic for the vCMTS component and selected Vecima Networks’ DAA platform, including remote PHY nodes. ATX Networks, which recently introduced a 1.8GHz platform that can be used to upgrade legacy Cisco nodes, is also expected to be in the mix at Charter. Teleste, a Finnish supplier that is boosting its investment in the North American cable market as operators push ahead with DAA and D4.0 upgrades, also has projects underway with Charter, according to industry sources.
With a global footprint, Precision OT currently serves a diverse range of customers across various industries worldwide. Among its clientele are leading broadband service providers in North America, Europe, Latin America, and beyond. This partnership further solidifies Precision OT’s reputation as a trusted partner and solutions provider in the telecommunications and optical technology sectors.
“We are pleased that Charter Communications has chosen Precision OT as a trusted technology partner to deploy cutting-edge optical networking solutions,” said Keith Habberfield, SVP of Sales & Marketing at Precision OT. “Optics and their components are the integration point that enables networks to communicate. We provide a suite of solutions that work in all of Charter’s identified use-cases; this drives measurable operational simplicity and speeds deployments for their project.”
About Charter Communications:
Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR) is a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving more than 32 million customers in 41 states through its Spectrum brand. Over an advanced communications network, the Company offers a full range of state-of-the-art residential and business services including Spectrum Internet®, TV, Mobile and Voice.
For small and medium-sized companies, Spectrum Business® delivers the same suite of broadband products and services coupled with special features and applications to enhance productivity, while for larger businesses and government entities, Spectrum Enterprise® provides highly customized, fiber-based solutions. Spectrum Reach® delivers tailored advertising and production for the modern media landscape. The Company also distributes award-winning news coverage and sports programming to its customers through Spectrum Networks. More information about Charter can be found at corporate.charter.com.
About Precision OT:
Precision OT is a systems integration company focused on end-to-end optical networking solutions, network design services and cutting-edge product development advancements. Backed by our extensive experience and robust R&D efforts, we play an integral role in enabling next-generation optical networks worldwide. For more information, visit www.precisionot.com.
Charter Communications selects Nokia AirScale to support 5G connectivity for Spectrum Mobile™ customers
Derek Kelly, Lumos’ VP of market development, went as far as to say that “fiber is always the answer,” and suggested cable alternatives will not stand the test of time. Kelly claimed that as $42.5 billion is set to roll out through the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, relying on investments in fiber will provide stability over the next 15 years.
“I think we’ve all seen DSL and fixed wireless projects get funded over the last couple of years. And then what happens? Those areas ultimately become blocked from future funding until the definitions change. And then they become available for another grant. And we see public dollars going on top of previous public dollars.” Kelly said. He noted Lumos defines “unserved being no cable, underserved means they’re stuck with cable. And then there’s everyone else that has life-changing fiber. So we don’t care about speeds at this point.”
While acknowledging the need for funding in areas without even cable access, he noted another large-scale program after the BEAD initiative is unlikely. “Cable modems aren’t going to keep up with these definitions forever. Their lobbyists aren’t going to be able to convince people forever just make sure that they just barely can meet the definition of unserved,” he said. “We have communities that don’t have access to fiber. The FCC and NTIA may consider them as served today. And I agree the funding should go to areas that don’t even have cable yet, but the time is coming, where cable is going to be what’s unserved or underserved.”
Fiber execs mostly targeted cable’s “Achilles heel,” which is its lacking symmetric speed capabilities (upstream and downstream).
AT&T Fiber’s EVP Chris Sambar told a large keynote audience, “Don’t ask cable about symmetrical speeds, they don’t even know what that means.” In an earlier blog post, he wrote, “Fiber is superior technology for things like uploading large files and increased bandwidth. It delivers an amazing experience, with multi-gig speeds and equally fast up- and downlinks. It’s also critical for powering technologies like 5G (backhaul) and edge computing (fiber access for ultra low latency). And with a far superior upgradeable capacity to handle soaring demand for high-quality bandwidth well into the future.”
However, Jay Lee, CTO of ATX Networks said that cable operators are “right in the throes” of upgrading their networks to get to full DOCSIS 3.1, and that high-split type of architecture will allow them to achieve competitive speeds in the upstream. “Their downstream is probably two gigabits per second now and there’s a line of sight to be more than that,” he said. “Is it 10 Gig PON? No. But it’s still in that gig threshold that I think is as important from a consumer standpoint,” he added.
The next plan phase for cable is to move up to DOCSIS 4.0, which starts to get toward multi-gigabit upstream and five-plus in the downstream, sometimes upwards of 10 in the downstream. Lee noted that plenty of cable companies are doing “lots” of their own fiber buildouts. “Some of the statements made on cable were like ‘they can’t do anything about it’ and certainly they can. DOCSIS 3.1 high-split is just the start.”
Jeff Heynen, VP at Dell’Oro Group echoed Lee’s comments, noting that current DOCSIS 3.1 mid-split can deliver 2 Gbps downstream and up to 200 Mbps upstream, which is what Comcast is offering today. Charter and Cox’s high-split offerings can go even further, delivering 2 Gbps downstream and up to 1 Gbps upstream.
A recent interoperability test conducted by Cable Labs showed that DOCSIS 4.0 modems paired with CCAP and vCMTS platforms in high-split configurations could deliver up to 8.6 Gbps downstream and 1.5 Gbps upstream. Cable operators have claimed DOCSIS 4.0 modems should become available later this year, with volumes in 2024. Those downstream speeds would give cable “very comparable service tiers to most fiber providers,” Heynen said. “And this is before the outside plant is upgraded to DOCSIS 4.0, which will be capable of delivering up to 10 Gbps down and 6 Gbps up.” However, other analysts have hinted that DOCSIS 4.0 rollouts will take longer than cable companies are saying.
Zayo, a leading global communications infrastructure provider, announced a series of expansions to its independent fiber network infrastructure, including new long-haul dark fiber routes, increased fiber capacity for existing routes, additional 400G-enabled routes and new IP PoPs. A digital-first world requires continued investment in infrastructure, of which Zayo is leading the charge. These updates, which build upon Zayo’s significant plans to grow and modernize its network, will ensure customers have the speed, resilience and flexibility needed to stay ahead of digital demand.
“The network our future requires does not exist today. A digital-first world requires continued and intentional investment in infrastructure, of which Zayo is leading the charge. Our continued expansion and modernization of our long-haul dark fiber, wavelength, and Tier-1 IP infrastructure is critical in ensuring our customers have the speed, resilience and flexibility they need in their network to stay ahead of this increasing digital demand,” said Bill Long, Chief Product Officer at Zayo.
In April, Zayo unveiled significant plans to grow and modernize its network, including the addition of nearly 3,000 route miles and more than 700,000 fiber miles to its global network. The company has begun building these new long-haul dark fiber routes to provide its customers with diverse routing options and a customizable, robust and scalable network. The new routes are built entirely underground to provide the highest level of security and redundancy for customers.
Zayo’s newest long-haul dark fiber routes include:
St. Louis to Indianapolis: Expands connectivity in these growing markets, bypassing the heavily trafficked Chicago metro area with four In-Line Amplification (ILA) sites in key markets along the route.
Chicago to Omaha Overbuild: Provides the most direct route between Denver and Chicago, including a new high fiber count cable that connects 11 ILA sites in strategic markets, facilitating seamless network connections for customers. As a heavily used route, this overbuild will allow for more capacity.
Network Modernization with 400G:
400G routes provide better routing performance, stability, high bandwidth and reduced pricing for Zayo’s customers. The enhanced capacity from these routes supports customers with exponential growth needs driven by emerging technologies like 5G, generative AI, cloud adoption, IoT and edge computing.
With four new 400G-enabled routes made operational in the second quarter of 2023 and two more slated for completion in Q3, Zayo is expanding high-bandwidth options between key cities, including:
Las Vegas to Phoenix
Kansas City to Indianapolis
Dallas to East St Louis
Albany to Boston
Denver to Dallas (a direct route scheduled for completion in Q3 2023)
Atlanta to DC (scheduled for completion in Q3 2023)
IP Infrastructure Improvements:
To enhance overall customer experience, Zayo has bolstered its infrastructure with new IP PoPs that ensure a more seamless and uninterrupted communication experience for its customers. Zayo has added 14 neutral data centers in Q1 2023 and nine in Q2 2023 across North America, including:
1050 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC, Canada
8636 S Peoria St, Englewood, CO, USA
1400 Federal Blvd, Carteret, NJ, USA
525 D St NW, Quincy, WA, USA
23403 E Mission Ave, Liberty Lake, WA, USA
179 Social Hall Ave, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
3011 Lafayette St, Santa Clara, CA, USA
1 Enterprise Ave N, Secaucus, NJ, USA
400 Minuteman Rd, Andover, MA, USA
1275 K St NW, Washington, DC, USA
2220 De La Cruz Blvd, Santa Clara, CA, USA
5660 W Badura Ave (NAP15), Las Vegas, NV, USA
1250 Boul Rene-Levesque O, Montreal, QC, Canada
3015 Winona Ave, Burbank, CA, USA
3011 S 52nd St, Tempe, AZ, USA
5225 W Capovilla Ave, Las Vegas, NV, USA
8375 Dominion Pkwy, Plano, TX
6653 Pinecrest Dr, Plano, TX
3470 Gabel Rd, Billings, MT, USA
6428 Westwood Blvd, Orlando, FL, USA
Zayo is one of the only communications infrastructure providers actively pursuing new building and modernization of its infrastructure. In June, Zayo was awarded a $92.9M grant from the National Telecommunications and Information (NTIA) Middle Mile Program—the only national provider to receive funding—to expand network infrastructure to unserved and underserved communities across eight states. As part of its aggressive growth strategy, Zayo has also continued to expand its global footprint, including new connections for its high-capacity network across Europe, Mexico, and South America.
Zayo says it will continue to invest in future-proofing its network and services to connect what’s next for its customers.
About Zayo Group Holdings, Inc:
For more than 15 years, Zayo has empowered some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies to connect what’s next for their business. Zayo’s future-ready network spans over 16.8 million fiber miles and 141,000 route miles. Zayo’s tailored connectivity and edge solutions enable carriers, cloud providers, data centers, schools, and enterprises to deliver exceptional experiences, from core to cloud to edge. Discover how Zayo connects what’s next at www.zayo.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Global fixed broadband connections reached 1.377 billion as of Q1-2023, up by 83 million from a year earlier and reflecting an annual growth rate of 1.59%, according to Point Topic.
There was a decline in fixed broadband subscriptions in 18 countries which mainly include emerging markets, as well as some saturated markets such as Singapore. However, while there were fluctuations in growth rates across regions and markets, the overall trend indicates a steady expansion of global broadband connectivity.
Among global regions, Africa, East Asia and America Other saw the fastest growth in broadband connections (2.9%, 2.2% and 1.8%), not least due to healthy increases in broadband subscribers in the vast markets of Egypt, Brazil and China.
The share of FTTH/B in the total fixed broadband subscriptions continued to increase and stood at 66.7%. Broadband connections based on other technologies saw their market shares shrink further, with an exception of satellite and wireless (mainly FWA).
VDSL subscriber numbers grew in ten countries, while they dropped in at least 22 markets as consumers migrated to FTTH/B.
The highest FTTH/B broadband subscriber growth rates in Q1 2023 were in Algeria, Peru and UK.
At 21.6 million, the quarterly net adds were close to the figure we recorded a year ago, though the growth rate (1.59%) was slower, compared to 1.77% in Q1 2022, with global inflation and economic instability having an impact.
East Asia continued to dominate in Q1 2023, maintaining its position as the largest market with a 49.6% share of global fixed broadband subscribers. This substantial market share is primarily driven by China with its vast population.
In Q1 2023, broadband subscriber base grew faster in China, Hong Kong and Korea, compared to Q4 2022. As a result, the region’s net adds share globally went up from 63.2% to 68.8%. Asia Other accounted for 10.8% of the global broadband market, similarly to the previous quarter, though the region’s net adds share went down from 12.8% to 9.4%.
Europe’s market shares remained rather consistent, though Eastern Europe saw their net adds share decline from 3.4% to 0.5%, as a result of slower growth in almost all markets and the decline in broadband subscribers in Russia having an especially significant impact due to its market size.
Similarly, Americas maintained relatively stable market shares of 10.3% and 8.1% respectively, while America – Other’s net adds share increased from 7.8% to 9%, driven by higher growth in such sizeable markets as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Chile, to name a few.
Next Point Topic looks at fixed broadband penetration among population, comparing it to growth rates across the regions.
Africa and Asia Other continue to have relatively low fixed broadband penetration rates among their populations. In Q1 2023, this metric in Africa stood at 4.6%, while Asia Other reached 5.6%. These figures indicate the potential for future expansion in these regions. Not surprisingly, Africa also recorded the highest quarterly growth rate of 2.9%.
The markets of East Asia and America Other followed closely with growth rates of 2.2% and 1.8% respectively, despite East Asia already having the highest population penetration at 41.9%. This reflects a widespread adoption of fixed broadband services in East Asia, while America Other showcases steady growth in a region with significant potential, where broadband penetration is among the lowest, at 17.2%.
Eastern Europe displayed a modest growth rate of 0.2% with a population penetration of 24.8%. Some markets in this region still have a lot of headspace when it comes to broadband adoption but the growth was sluggish, likely due to economic pressures. Other European regions showed a slightly higher growth rate, with Europe Other at 0.5%, coupled with the second highest population penetration of 39.4%. These figures indicate a mature market with limited growth opportunities.
Among the largest twenty broadband markets all but one saw fixed broadband subscribers grow in Q1 2023, although in ten of them the growth was slower than in the Q4 2022. There was a slight drop in broadband subscribers in Russia which is under international sanctions.
The less saturated broadband markets of India, Egypt, Brazil and Mexico recorded the highest quarterly growth rates in Q1 2023, all higher than 2%. China recorded an above 2% growth as well. At the other end of the spectrum, the mature markets of Germany, France, Japan, UK, and Italy saw modest growth rates at below 0.5%. At the same time, Italy was among the countries that saw one of the largest improvements in growth rates, from -0.44% in Q4 2022 to 0.04% in Q1 2023, as its GDP growth also went from negative to positive in that period. Mexico, China and Brazil recorded the largest improvements in their growth rates, at +1.14.%, +0.52% and +0.41% respectively.
Between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, the share of FTTH/B connections in the total fixed broadband subscriptions went up by 0.7% and stood at 66.7%. Broadband connections based on other technologies saw their market shares shrink further, with an exception of satellite and wireless (mainly FWA), which remained stable.
FTTx (mainly VDSL) share stood at 6.7%. VDSL subscriber numbers grew in ten countries (including modest quarterly increase in the large VDSL markets of Turkey, Czech Republic, Greece and Germany, for example), while they fell in 22 other markets as consumers migrated to FTTH/B.
It remains to be seen whether consumers will continue to gravitate toward fibre broadband offerings, particularly as global economies face potential slowdown and inflationary pressures.
In terms of FTTH/B broadband net additions in Q1 2023, China continued to maintain a significant lead with 13.5 million while Brazil added 1.4 million. Mexico is back in the top ten league, having pushed out Argentina this quarter.
Satellite broadband also saw a modest growth of 1.3% while wireless broadband demonstrated continued relevance with a respectable growth rate of 4.9%. These trends can be attributed to the demand for connectivity in remote or underserved areas where traditional broadband infrastructure is not feasible.
The diverse growth rates among different broadband technologies highlight the dynamic nature of the industry as consumers seek more reliable and high-speed connections. The significant increase in FTTH/B connections and the growth of satellite and wireless broadband underline the ongoing efforts to bridge the digital divide and ensure connectivity for all.
The top ten countries by fixed broadband subscribers remained unchanged (Figure 5). As of Q1 2023, China exceeded 0.6 billion fixed broadband subscribers, having added 14.6 million in the quarter. Also, the country is approaching 1.2 billion 5G subscribers, with the service now being used by 84% of the population.
Overall, the latest fixed broadband subscriber data reveals a clear trend towards advanced, high-speed broadband solutions like FTTH/B, while older technologies such as copper-based broadband (ADSL and VDSL) are experiencing a decline, suggesting that the broadband landscape is continuously evolving to meet the growing demand for faster and more reliable connectivity.
Altice USA’s Optimum is the latest provider to trot out a symmetrical 8-gig fiber tier, which Altice said is now available to more than 1.7 million residents and businesses across the company’s fiber footprint. By year end, Optimum 8 Gig Fiber will be available to nearly 3 million passings and will expand as the Company’s fiber network build continues.
This launch represents the largest deployment of 8 Gig internet speeds in the country and cements Optimum as the nation’s largest 8 Gig internet provider, delivering the fastest Fiber Internet available in its serviceable footprint that is four times faster than Verizon, 60% faster than Frontier, and 32 times faster than T-Mobile 5G Home Internet.
“After launching 2 and 5 Gig symmetrical Fiber Internet speeds last year, Optimum is pleased to have invested even further in our network and infrastructure to bring next level 8 Gig symmetrical internet speeds to our fiber footprint,” said Leroy Williams, Chief Growth Officer, Optimum. “Optimum is now the nation’s largest 8 Gig Fiber Internet provider, and availability will continue to increase as we deploy fiber to more homes and businesses as we solidify our position as the connectivity provider of choice across all the communities we serve. We look forward to bringing these reliable and faster speeds, along with an enhanced customer experience, to meet our customers’ growing data needs today and into the future.”
Backed by Optimum’s 100% Fiber Internet network with 99.9% network reliability, Optimum’s 8 Gig Fiber Internet offers 8 Gig symmetrical upload and download speeds to support the most data-intensive applications such as AR/VR, gaming, graphic design, and video production, all while providing increased bandwidth that can simultaneously connect 100+ devices to the internet at once. The service is delivered directly into the home via the Optimum Fiber Gateway to enable fast, reliable WiFi in the home or business, with extenders available for extra coverage.
“Optimum’s Fiber is deployed using XGS-PON, an advanced technology that enables multi-gigabit symmetrical speeds and that is superior to the legacy GPON standard used by many other fiber providers,” said Pragash Pillai, Chief Technology and Information Officer, Optimum. “As we continue to bring faster, more reliable service to customers through this state-of-the-art technology, the strength of Optimum’s Fiber network goes unmatched.”
Optimum continues to be a leader in the deployment of multi-gigabit internet speeds across the nation, having launched 2 and 5 Gig internet service across its fiber footprint in the New York tri-state area last year, and now adding an additional 8 Gig speed tier to more homes and businesses on its 100% Fiber Internet Network.
An Altice rep told Fierce the 8-gig offering is currently live in all markets where multi-gig speeds are available, which is “predominantly” in the New York tri-state area. Consumers can check the Optimum website to see if they’re eligible for the service. “In addition to multi-gig, up to 1 gig speeds are available in more than 90% of the Optimum footprint,” the rep told Fierce.
8-gig speeds come after Altice last year released 2-gig and 5-gig tiers across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Altice said “nearly 3 million passings” will have access to 8-gig fiber by year-end, and that number will increase as Altice ramps up its fiber expansion.
For more information on Optimum’s multi-gig speed tiers and other fiber offerings, prospective customers can visit Optimum.com/8Gig. Existing customers can call 1.866.347.4784 to upgrade.
Optimum is a brand of Altice USA, one of the largest broadband communications and video services providers in the United States, delivering broadband, video, and mobile services to nearly 5 million residential and business customers across 21 states. The company operates a4, an advanced advertising and data business, which provides audience-based, multiscreen advertising solutions to local, regional and national businesses and advertising clients. Altice USA also offers hyper-local, national, international and business news through its News 12, Cheddar News and i24NEWS networks.
Other 8-gig Network Providers:
Windstream’s Kinetic has also gotten into the 8-gig game, as a spokesperson recently told Fierce it will make 8-gig speeds available to 400,000 households across its 18-state footprint. Others that have rolled out 8-gig tiers include C Spire, Google Fiber, Lumen Technologies and TDS Telecom. Google Fiber is particularly stepping up its speeds, as it’s seeking testers for its nascent 20-gig product.
KKR, Telefónica Hispanoamérica, and Entel today announced agreements under which KKR will acquire a majority interest in PangeaCo and the existing fiber optic networks of Telefónica del Perú and Entel Perú to build Perú’s first nationwide open access wholesale fiber optics company with the mission to bring greater access to fiber optics connectivity across the country. The transaction will combine the existing fiber optic networks of PangeaCo, Telefónica del Perú, and Entel Perú into an independent company controlled by KKR. The newly formed network will be open access, allowing usage to all internet service providers for the first time. KKR plans to make approximately US$200 million of additional investment to more than double the ultra-fast fiber network from more than 2 million homes passed today to reach 5.2 million homes passed across 86 provinces by the end of 2026.
Telefonica did not disclose the value of the transaction but said the deal would cut its debt by 200 million euros ($217.8 million). According to a banking source close to the deal, the transaction valued 100% of the unit at about 550 million euros, including debt.
Under the terms of the agreement, KKR will acquire a controlling interest in PangeaCo, which will subsequently acquire the existing fiber optic networks of Telefónica del Perú and Entel Perú. Through the combination of these networks, KKR will establish ON*NET Fibra de Perú as the new name for the platform which will independently build and operate the nation’s largest fiber optic network with world-class quality standards. KKR will own a 54% interest in ON*NET Fibra de Perú alongside Telefónica Hispanoamérica, which will own 36%, and Entel Perú, which will own 10%.
The entire ON*NET Fibra de Perú fiber optic network will be open to use by all internet service providers, increasing competition in the wholesale market. Telefónica del Perú and Entel Perú will be anchor tenants on the expanded open access network, enabling both providers to reach a greater number of customers with ultra-high-speed offerings. The transaction does not impact the services provided by existing customers of PangeaCo, Telefónica del Perú or Entel Perú. Upon closing of the transaction, customers will benefit from the scale of the larger network.
In Perú, approximately 88% of households have mobile or fixed internet service, but less than 35% have access to high-speed fiber optic networks.1 KKR, as the controlling shareholder, intends for ON*NET Fibra de Perú to more than double the households reached by fiber optic network, including reaching municipal areas outside of Lima as well as middle- and low-income households. This transaction demonstrates continued investor confidence in Peruvian infrastructure and the commitment of the companies to contribute to the sustainable development of the digital connectivity in the country.
Today’s announcement builds on KKR’s success in expanding nationwide connectivity and increasing competition in Chile and Colombia. ON*NET Fibra de Chile has expanded access from 2.4 million homes passed to 3.7 million homes passed since KKR signed the acquisition in February 2021 and ON*NET Fibra de Colombia has increased homes passed from 1.2 million to 2.4 million since signing in July 2021.2 Both companies have attracted multiple internet service providers to utilize their open access networks.
KKR is making the investment through its KKR Global Infrastructure Investors III fund and plans to provide operational support to ON*NET Fibra de Perú through NEXO LatAm, a digital infrastructure business supporting KKR’s Infrastructure strategy across Latin America. KKR and NEXO LatAm have significant experience supporting the successful expansion of open access fiber optic investments. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, including the approval of the Peruvian antitrust agency (INDECOPI).
When Telefonica first sold a stake in its Chilean fibre business to KKR it had a footprint of 2.4 million homes passed. The deal valued the entire business at $1 billion. The Colombian fiber business that KKR bought into was valued at half that amount and just over half the footprint:1.2 million homes. Admittedly, the Colombia deal was inked two years ago and Chile even longer ago, and a fair bit has changed in the economic situation in that time. However, we can get a sense of the scale of spend we might be looking at.
KKR wants to share the progress made by those Chilean and Colombian ventures. ON*NET Fibra de Chile passed 3.7 million homes as of the end of 2022, while ON*NET Fibra de Colombia had doubled the number of homes passed to 2.4 million, it said, adding that both have attracted multiple ISP customers.
That surely bodes well for the new venture’s aims in Peru, where at present around 88% of households have mobile or fixed internet service, but less than 35% have access to high-speed fibre networks, KKR said, citing data from regulator OSIPTEL and market research firm Omdia (owned by Informa).
It should also help smooth the regulatory process. The deal needs a number of approvals, including that of Peruvian antitrust agency INDECOPI, but it’s hard to foresee any major difficulties, given that this is an established model across the region and one that seems to be working.
Elmwood Lake Apartments is a suburban haven of elevated comfort, where sweet serenity meets desirable convenience. From cozy interiors and relaxing leisure spaces to an idyllic setting next to private Elmwood Lake, the welcoming apartments in Hudsonville, MI, are ready to deliver a heightened living experience.
“With STELLAR Broadband, residents of Elmwood Lake Apartments will enjoy the fastest and most reliable internet service available. STELLAR Broadband’s fiber optic network provides symmetrical speeds of up to 10Gbps so residents can stream, game, and work from home without any lag or buffering,” said Richard Laing, president of STELLAR Broadband.
“Bosgraaf Homes has been building homes in West Michigan for four generations. Over the years, we’ve seen the industry change dramatically thanks to advances in technology. Construction methods have evolved, and the amenities that homeowners expect have grown more sophisticated. We’re grateful for our partnership with STELLAR Broadband, a company that has been at the forefront of the industry for 22 years. Their experience and leadership have helped us make the transition into multi-family housing,” said Mike Bosgraaf, president of Bosgraaf Homes.
The first in the U.S. to bring 10Gbps Internet to the apartment in student housing, STELLAR today serves over 149 communities totaling over 10,000 residents with a wide range of technology solutions, from managed Wi-Fi, TV, and access control to security.
“DTN is excited to partner with Bosgraaf Homes and STELLAR Broadband to provide Elmwood Lake residents with a unique and enjoyable experience. Bosgraaf is building beautiful homes that will be easy to lease, and STELLAR will provide residents and our office with the best possible internet service,” said Dayle Braden, DTN property manager.
“We’ve seen and have been on the forefront of technology evolving from a desired amenity to a necessity. We are proud to partner with Bosgraaf to provide the high-quality technology that their residents expect and deserve,” Laing stated.
About Spartan Net Co, dba STELLAR Broadband:
STELLAR Broadband is the largest residential fiber internet service provider in Michigan, servicing over 149 communities with multi-Gigabit fiber internet. STELLAR provides technology design and installation services for the full portfolio of technologies for multi-tenant developments, including network design, structured wiring, consulting, door entry and access control, engineered Wi-Fi, security, voice, television services, and various Internet of Things solutions. To learn more, visit: www.stellarbb.com
Once again, AT&T ranked #1 in the U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings Leaderboard fromVertical Systems Group (VSG) for a seventh consecutive year. The fiber focused U.S. carrier retained the top spot with the highest number of fiber lit buildings across its footprint in 2022. But there’s a whole lot more AT&T #1 rankings that the carrier has not gotten proper credit for achieving:
- AT&T also holds the #1 ranking in VSG 2022 U.S. Carrier Ethernet LEADERBOARD.
- AT&T ranked #1 for the fifth consecutive year in VSG’s year end 2022 U.S. managed carrier SD-WAN leaderboard.
–>Please see the images below, courtesy of VSG.
Major mobile operators like AT&T and Verizon are actively installing new fiber for their 5G network backhaul, which facilitates new fiber connectivity to nearby commercial sites. T-Mobile no longer has any fiber assets from their Sprint acquisition. They were sold to Cogent along with all other wireline assets in a deal that closed May 1, 2023.
Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, Lumen, Comcast Business, Cox Business, Zayo, Crown Castle, Frontier, Brightspeed, Breezeline and Optimum followed. Those retail and wholesale fiber providers qualified for the leaderboard with 15,000 or more on-net U.S. fiber lit commercial buildings as of year-end 2022.
“Fiber installations at U.S. commercial sites increased in 2022, driven by escalating requirements for gigabit-speed connectivity to support cloud-based services, data centers, 5G rollouts, and other applications,” said Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group. “New fiber investments in the U.S. will continue to be impacted by pending federal programs and funding initiatives. Opportunities in the commercial segment include monetizing the millions of small buildings underserved.”
U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD Highlights:
- The 2022 LEADERBOARD roster increases to twelve commercial fiber providers, up from eleven in 2021.
- AT&T retains the #1 rank on the 2022 U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD for the seventh consecutive year.
- Rankings for the top six companies on the 2022 LEADERBOARD are unchanged from 2021, which includes AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, Lumen, Comcast Business, and Cox Business.
- The next six LEADERBOARD provider rankings change as compared to the previous year. Zayo advances to rank seventh ahead of Crown Castle, which dips to eighth. Frontier moves up to ninth position from tenth. Brightspeed debuts in tenth position with fiber assets acquired from Lumen. Breezeline (formerly Atlantic Broadband) falls to eleventh position from ninth. Optimum (Altice USA brand) drops from eleventh to the twelfth and final position.
- The number of 2022 Challenge Tier citations expands from eight to nine with the addition of Ritter Communications.
Market Players include all other fiber providers with fewer than 5,000 U.S. commercial fiber lit buildings. The 2022 Market Players tier covers more than two hundred metro, regional and other fiber providers, including the following companies (in alphabetical order): 11:11 Systems, ACD, Alaska Communications, American Telesis, Armstrong Business Solutions, Astound Business, C Spire, Centracom, Cogent, Conterra, DFN, DQE Communications, Everstream, ExteNet Systems, Fatbeam, FiberLight, First Digital, Flo Networks, Fusion Connect, Google Fiber, GTT, Horizon, Hunter Communications, Logix Fiber Networks, LS Networks, Mediacom Business, MetroNet Business, Midco, Pilot Fiber, PS Lightwave, Shentel Business, Silver Star Telecom, Sonic Business, Sparklight Business, Syringa, T-Mobile, TDS Telecom, TPx, U.S. Signal, Vast Networks, WOW!Business, Ziply Fiber and others.
For this analysis, a fiber lit building is defined as a commercial site or data center that has on-net optical fiber connectivity to a network provider’s infrastructure, plus active service termination equipment onsite. Excluded from this analysis are standalone cell towers, small cells not located in fiber lit buildings, near net buildings, buildings classified as coiled at curb or coiled in building, HFC-connected buildings, carrier central offices, residential buildings, and private or dark fiber installations.
AT&T is expanding its network of fiber-optic cables to deliver fast internet speeds for customers, including those in places where it doesn’t already provide broadband. The plan will cost billions of dollars over the next several years, a price tag that the company—whose debt load outstrips its annual revenue—will not carry alone. AT&T formed a joint venture with BlackRock to fund the project and also wants to access government funding to accelerate the build-out. AT&T and BlackRock have collectively invested $1.5 billion in the venture—named Gigapower—to date, the company said.
Gigapower plans to provide a state-of-the-art fiber network to internet service providers and other businesses in parts of select metro areas throughout the country using a commercial wholesale open access platform. Both companies believe now is the time to create the United States’ largest commercial wholesale open access fiber network to bring high-speed connectivity to more Americans.
AT&T will serve as the anchor tenant of the Gigapower network, but other companies could also provide internet service over the network. That so-called open-access model has become common throughout Europe, but has yet to be widely embraced in the U.S. Gigapower recently introduced plans to build out fiber in Las Vegas, northeastern Pennsylvania and parts of Arizona, Alabama and Florida.
Doubling down on fiber optics sets AT&T on a different path than its rivals Verizon and T-Mobile US, which are relying on improved technology that beams broadband internet service from the same cellular towers that link their millions of mobile smartphone customers. AT&T is testing a similar fixed wireless access service but on a smaller scale, but executives say fiber remains the long-term focus.
AT&T updated shareholders on its vision for fiber internet and 5G cellular networks at its annual meeting, but the documentation/replay was not available at press time. AT&T spent about $24 billion on its fiber and 5G networks last year, and it forecast a similar level of spending this year. The company is confident it will get a very good return on investment (ROI).
The Dallas-based company and its peers face heightened competition in the cellphone business—their core profit engine. After the Covid-19 pandemic brought a surge in new accounts, the cellphone business has cooled, pushing companies to seek alternate paths for growth. AT&T, which has nearly 14 million consumer broadband customers, has provided internet service for years, and executives say that keeping customers plugged in requires faster connections as more data is used.
“We should be putting more fiber out faster, quicker and in more places than anybody else,” AT&T Chief Executive John Stankey said in a recent interview. “If we do that, that means our network is always going to be ahead of anybody else’s.”
Fiber-optic cables, wired directly to or near Americans’ homes, contain easy-to-upgrade glass strands that can carry much more data than radio waves. That higher capacity is crucial for video calls, streaming, videogames and other services, which use more internet data than most smartphone apps. As of last year, fiber was available at some 63 million homes, or more than half of primary residences, according to the Fiber Broadband Association.
AT&T wants its fiber network to cover more than 30 million homes and businesses within its current service area by the end of 2025. In many cases, fiber will replace internet connections over copper wirelines.
Laying the fiber is one thing, but progress in getting customer sign-ups has been slower than some analysts expected. In the first three months of the year, AT&T signed up 272,000 home fiber subscribers, a deceleration from the December quarter and the same period last year.
The results also marked the fourth straight quarter during which residential fiber sign-ups failed to offset declines in broadband customers overall. Stankey said he isn’t expecting the trend to reverse this year.
AT&T offers its fiber service at various speed tiers, starting at $55 a month for downloads up to 300 megabits a second. Prices run as high as $180 a month for 5-gigabit speeds.
In the March quarter, the average AT&T fiber internet customer paid about $66 a month. That total was up 9% from last year but still slightly less than the sums paid by customers of cable rivals Charter Communications and Comcast, according to Roger Entner, the founder of Recon Analytics.
While AT&T’s fiber build-out continues, it hopes its Internet Air service—which uses cell towers to beam broadband to homes—can stem customer defections in the short term. The service, which costs $55 a month, isn’t yet widely available, said Stankey, who took over as CEO in 2020 and unwound AT&T’s bet on entertainment.