2015 USA - Telecoms, IP Networks and Digital Media

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Last updated: 25 Feb 2015 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 90

Publication Overview

This report provides an overview of the US broadband market, including FttP and other fibre network developments. It details the major fibre deployments and key market statistics and forecasts. The report also provides analyses, key statistics and forecasts on the US mobile market, including telcos’ financial and operating data to Q4 2014, and assessments of their strategies, regulatory policies, and market developments in emerging technologies.

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- February 2015 (13th Edition)

Executive Summary

Network neutrality promising major changes to fixed and mobile broadband service conditions

The US broadband market is currently witnessing significant investment activity in fibre deployments, HFC upgrades and mobile broadband network rollouts. Much of the investment in fibre is being undertaken by a significant number of smaller players and municipalities rather than the two key telcos, which are concentrating on a hybrid fibre/copper network. The activities of market players such as Google, Cincinnati Bell and others have encouraged smaller carriers to continue to deploy fibre deeper into their networks.

Broadband services in most regions still lack effective competition, with the AT&T and Verizon managing an effective duopoly in many areas of the country. Municipal activity, often geared at breaking this stranglehold and introducing competition and innovation, continues to be stymied by lobbying pressure from these main telcos, which has led to at least 19 states banning or restricting municipal or state-led infrastructure projects.

There is now a growing consensus, supported by the President in his 2015 State of the Union address, that such restrictions should be lifted. The FCC Chairman also in February 2015 proposed measures which would reclassify broadband as a telecom service rather than a content service, and would extend network neutrality conditions to mobile broadband services. The FCC is also determined to use its authority to override restrictive state laws.

The US mobile subscriber base is approaching 340 million, and although growth has slowed with higher penetration levels, mobile data use remains strong in line with the fast development of LTE networks and the high take-up of smartphones, which now account for about 80% of all handset devices on mobile networks. Data revenue also continues to grow steadily year-on-year, though is subject to considerable price competition among the main players. A potential shift market dynamics can be expected in coming years following the FCC’s recommendation that mobile broadband be subject to network neutrality rules.

Key developments:

  • Google Fibre extended to four more cities;
  • C Spire adopts Google Fiber’s strategy to build out fibre in Mississippi;
  • fibre extends to more than 39% of commercial buildings;
  • AT&T to invest $14 billion in LTE and U-verse network to 2015;
  • FCC proposes new net neutrality measures, also to cover mobile broadband;
  • State of the Union address promotes end to state legislation banning municipal broadband networks;;
  • Frontier acquires Verizon’s wireline assets in three western states for $10.5 billion;
  • New York state proposal for $1 billion investment in broadband infrastructure, using state and private funds;
  • Next Century Cities program expands to 50 cities developing affordable broadband solutions;
  • USDA makes available $190.5 million in loans and grants for rural broadband;
  • FCC rules 25Mb/s as a newly defined broadband speed;
  • Liberty Media to spin off new Liberty Broadband Group;
  • FCC approves $2 billion to improve WiFi to schools;
  • FCC concludes AWS auction, securing $44.9 billion;
  • AT&T to close down 2G infrastructure by end-2016;
  • telcos’ operating and financial data to Q4 2014;
  • recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report

Verizon; Google; AT&T; CenturyLink, Clearwire; Sprint; MetroPCS; US Cellular; Qwest; Frontier; Windstream; Fairpoint; Cincinnati Bell; Comcast; HughesNet; ViaSat, T-Mobile US, Tracfone, MetroPCS Communications, Leap Wireless, Frontline, Alltel.

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