The US broadband market is seeing significant investment activity in fibre deployments, HFC upgrades with DOCSIS3.1 technology, and to a lesser extent G.fast. In addition, the market players are in the forefront with developing technologies and services based on 5G, which will facilitate the ability of customers to access their bundled services. For some years much of the investment in fibre was undertaken by a number of smaller players and municipalities rather than the two key telcos, AT&T and Verizon, which had concentrated on a hybrid fibre/copper network.
However, there has been a significant shift in the market since 2016. One of the key proponents of gigabit services, Google Fiber, began scaling back its efforts at the end of the year, though it still promotes services in a number of markets. At the same time, AT&T and Verizon have shifted their investment efforts from a hybrid fibre-copper architecture to pure fibre. AT&T expected to provide a 1Gb/s FttP service to 12.5 million premises by 2019, with a view to upgrading to XG(S)-PON within a few years. For its part, Verizon had a patchy experience with its FttN rollouts and so has chosen to switch deployment to FttP.
At the same time a growing number of cablecos have launched DOCSIS3.1 services, able to provide data at 1Gb/s and above. Future HFC technologies promise considerably faster speeds in the years ahead.
Broadband services in most regions still lack effective competition, with AT&T and Verizon managing an effective duopoly in many areas of the country. Both are looking to expand their reach and service capabilities, with AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner prompting Verizon to consider responding with further acquisitions of its own. 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 almost half of the states banning or restricting municipal or state-led infrastructure projects.
There is growing recognition of the importance of a trans-sectoral approach to broadband networks, including the health, education and energy sectors, in order to fully realise the benefits of the nascent digital economy. The FCC’s 2016 Broadband Progress Report reveals how much still needs to be done to move the US broadband market forward.
This report reviews several aspects of the cable, DSL, FttP, Wi-Fi and WiMAX broadband markets in the US. It provides market analyses as well as a range of relevant statistics in general and on the key operators.
Comcast expands DOCSIS3.1 markets; Altice Group acquires Suddenlink Communications and Cablevisión, rebrands as Altice USA; $1.5 billion allocated to round 2 of the Connect America Fund; 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; FCC approves $2 billion to improve Wi-Fi to schools; FCC releases 2016 Broadband Progress Report; report update includes telcos’ operating and financial data to Q4 2016, recent market developments.
Clearwire, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, MetroPCS, US Cellular, Qwest, CenturyLink, Frontier Communications, Windstream, Fairpoint, Cincinnati Bell, Comcast, Google, HughesNet, ViaSat
Number of pages 52
Last updated 22 Mar 2017
Analyst: Henry Lancaster
Could I thank you for making a contribution to this on so many occasions and declare my association with you as a Central Coast resident. I want to say how proud we are of you and how much your expertise has informed us.
Senator Deborah O’Neill, at the Select Senate Committee on the NBN – March 2014
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