This edition includes: The slow roll of BEAD, broadband is the hot trade, M&A news, NCTA video on rural broadband challenges, Nokia acquires Infinera.

  1. 2024 hasn’t been the “year of execution” for BEAD. It’s been a year since we found out how much BEAD money each state will get. Only 15 states and territories have had their Initial Proposals approved, unlocking access to BEAD funds. One year has passed since the White House announced how much money each state and territory will receive from the $42.5 billion BEAD program. But those dollars have yet to make it out the door. Thus far, BEAD has basically been a game of hurry up and wait. Read more.
  2. Broadband is the newest trade work for the “toolbelt generation.” Plumbing, welding, electrician work—these may be a few of the best-known trades needed to keep our modern world afloat. But there is an infrastructure in place that has quickly become as common and important to everyday life: the internet.  Beyond simple entertainment, the online world is now a key part of accessing healthcare, job opportunities, education and more. Like running water and heat, it is indispensable—especially as the demands for capacity and speed continue to grow. With growing reliance and investment in broadband, the industry has become the latest skilled trade providing crucial support for our societies. Read more.
  3. Multifamily Broadband Provider M&A: Smartaira Buys Lux Speed. In a deal between two providers focused on multifamily broadband, Smartaira has acquired Florida-based Lux Speed Inc. Additional details were not disclosed. Smartaira provides multi-gigabit, symmetrical service via both fiber internet and managed Wi-Fi. It markets to homeowner-association, condo-association and multi-tenant rental properties in 26 states. The company said that the acquisition is its fourth since 2021 and that it will strengthen its operations in the southeast. Read more.
  4. NCTA has made a 20-minute documentary video focusing on rural broadband deployment challenges. The video, titled “Every Last Mile: The Untold Story of Connecting Rural America,” follows work crews in three states—Alaska, Arizona and Minnesota—as the crews encounter temperature extremes, bedrock, undocumented buried infrastructure and more. Watch it here.
  5. Nokia buys optical vendor Infinera for $2.3 billion. The Finnish company said this afternoon it is buying the optical networking vendor Infinera for $6.65 per share, equating to a value of $2.3 billion. And earlier today, Nokia said it was proposing to sell its Alcatel Submarine Networks business to the French state. The Infinera transaction represents a premium of 28% to Infinera’s share price at the close of June 26. The acquisition will strengthen Nokia’s optical position in North America. Sixty percent of Infinera’s sales come from North America, complementing Nokia’s strong positions in APAC, EMEA and Latin America. Read more.

David Levine of UCL Swift headshot

Broadband Bytes is a regular feature by David Levine. 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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