For this week’s Broadband Bytes, the first 3 articles are interesting in that they cover topics that ISPs must deal with and factor into their budgets outside the scope of what we usually deal with (price and labor costs).

  • This article gives a good summary of the challenge process for BEAD, which most states are currently evaluating or will be soon.
    • What exactly is the BEAD challenge process and what steps must ISPs take to make sure they are not building in a location that is covered by another BEAD-funded service provider? And why does the BEAD challenge process matter to ISPs? Tarana Wireless hosted a recent webinar to address these questions for ISPs. Read More
  • Seven telecom organizations filed comments to the FCC Tuesday opposing an electric utility association’s reconsideration petition, which attempts to remove some of the pole attachment reforms the FCC adopted in December. The December ruling requires pole owners to share in the costs of preparing utility poles for replacement even if they are considered “grandfathered” – meaning they were installed or existed before certain regulations were enacted. This ruling found that when an attacher requests access to a pole that is out of compliance with current safety standards, replacing the pole is “not necessitated solely” by the attacher’s request, and both the pole owner and the attacher who wants access to a pole must share in replacement costs. Read More
  • The Georgia House passed a measure 2/13/24 that would exempt certain federal grants for broadband investment from state income taxes, passing by a vote of 162-1. If enacted, the legislation would waive state income taxes on any grant acquired through the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment program or the American Rescue Plan Act, retroactively effective from January 2022. The bill must now pass through the state Senate. Read More
  • Fixed Wireless Access providers, led by T-Mobile and Verizon, added nearly one million Internet subscribers in the fourth quarter last year while many wireline rivals moved in the opposite direction by losing thousands of customers. Nevertheless, Gregory B. Maffei, President & Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Broadband Corp., believes that FWA providers can’t sustain their growth curve because their networks do not have sufficient spectrum capacity. Comcast President Michael Cavanagh has said his company is focused more on competition from fiber network overbuilders than FWA providers. Read More
  • LTD Broadband has filed a petition for review of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to deny it funding as part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. LTD was initially the largest winner in the FCC’s 2020 RDOF auction, securing over $1.3 billion in planned support over a decade from the $9.2-billion program. However, in August 2022, the FCC rescinded LTD’s award, citing failure to meet eligibility requirements in several states and doubts about the company’s ability to deliver high-speed internet to the designated areas. In March 2023, the owners of LTD created a separate entity, GigFire, which operates under a services agreement with LTD. Read More
  • Where the first 3 articles cover non-traditional cost factors for ISPs, this article reinforces the importance of the labor savings and cost savings our solutions offer:
    • Rob Laudati, who joined the executive team at Render Networks last year, said fiber network builders often face ballooning labor and material costs, leading to fears that some projects may become unprofitable. Despite a resistance to new technology in the telecommunications industry, many firms eventually reach a tipping point caused by market pressures that causes them to look at new solutions to increase efficiency. Read More
  • The following funding was just announced. The majority of the funds will be to ensure clean water access. But there is $42M from USDA ReConnect Round 4 that is going to two awardees in Florida: Suwannee Valley Electric Co-op $17,800,000 and IBT Group $24,200,000.
    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled a $772.6 million investment February 21st to fund 216 projects in 45 states, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands which will enhance rural broadband connectivity and digital skills, ensure access to clean water, and bolster economic growth in underserved communities. A sum of $42 million is coming from the USDA’s Reconnect Program. The program offers both loans and grants to help cooperatives, telecommunications companies, and local governments cover the costs associated with deploying high-speed internet networks in underserved communities. Read More

David Levine of UCL Swift headshot

Broadband Bytes is a regular feature by David Levine of UCL Swift. David is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, a certified BICSI RCDD, and a 35-year industry veteran in fiber and copper solutions. He currently works as a Business Development Manager for UCL Swift.

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