Just What IS 5G?
There's been a lot of buzz about 5G wireless, the "next greatest thing since sliced bread". Lots of claims have been made about the next generation technology, including boasts that 5G will make fiber obsolete.
The funny thing is that 5G hasn't even been defined yet, at least when it comes to mobile wireless. However that definition is becoming closer to reality. The International Telecommunication Union, or ITU, has published a draft of what is expected to become the final 5G standard. And while it will allow for faster data speeds and lower latency on portable devices, it's perhaps not ready to live up to some of the hype its received.
CLICK HERE to read an article about the 5G draft in DSL Reports.
Waverly Utilities has drawn some great positive news coverage from it's FTTP build and rollout. CLICK HERE to read the article in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.
Waukee To Get New Fiber Provider
Portions of Waukee, Iowa in the western Des Moines metro area will be getting fiber-to-the-premise later this year.
GRM Networks has reached an agreement with the Waukee City Council to begin working to identify areas of Waukee for a fiber build. GRM Networks, also known as Grand River Mutual, operates in several exchanges in north central Missouri and south central Iowa.
CLICK HERE to read more in the Des Moines Register online.
Broadband Library has a great article about Mediacom's move to DOCSIS 3.1 system wide. The article, written by a Mediacom SVP, gives a good "insiders account" of the move. CLICK HERE to read the article.
The 2017 IAMU Broadband Conference features several workshop sessions designed to enhance operational knowledge for broadband technicians. The technical track includes the following sessions (so far):
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Thursday, March 23, 2017
To register for the IAMU Broadband Conference, CLICK HERE.
Many retransmission consent agreements between broadcast TV stations and cable operators expire at the end of 2017. And it will come a shock to no one that broadcasters are going to continue ratcheting up their fees moving forward.
In fact, in an article in Multichannel News, CBS even boasts a bit about their big plans.
CBS said it expects to grow retransmission consent revenue by 25% in 2017, adding that it is on track to delivering $2.5 billion in retrans revenue by 2020. -- Multichannel News
With most TV stations already charging more than $2 per sub/month for their signals, assuming that the other networks follow suit, we could be seeing overall retranmission fees for small operators increase by $2 or month or more come January 2018. And if an operator carries network affiliates from multiple DMA's (a common practice), those increases could be even higher.
ESPN Will Go OTT This Year
It's a big change in philosophy for the King of Sports. After saying last year that they have no plans to offer a stand-alone ESPN streaming product, Disney executives now say they plan to launch just such a service later this year. And that move could change the landscape of cable TV as we know it.
Why the change of heart? Subscriber losses. According to an article in Barron's:
Investors and analysts appeared to be zeroing in on ESPN, which has taken a hit as more consumers opt out of cable service in favor of streaming TV options. Revenue fell 2% and operating income dropped 11% at the company’s cable network segment, which is dominated by ESPN
The real impact for cable operators could mean new freedom to package ESPN, cable's most expensive programming content, outside of the most widely distributed packages. As DSL Reports points out:
Many of ESPN's contracts with cable providers dictate that should the company offer a standalone service of its own, pay TV providers would have the right to pull ESPN out of the core channel lineup (ESPN sued Verizon for doing just that)
Obviously having the ability to move ESPN out of Basic or Expanded Basic packages and into another tier (taking with it a big chunk of programming costs) would be a big benefit to operators. They key question is whether the NCTC's master agreement with Disney-ESPN has that language in it. For confidentiality reasons I can't really say. But it would be a great question to ask Frank Hughes with the NCTC when he is at the IAMU Municipal Broadband Conference on March 22nd and 23rd (shameless plug).
Communities that are in various stages of exploring community broadband projects will once again benefit from a track of sessions at this year's IAMU Broadband Conference.
Dubbed the "Explorer's Track", the sessions are designed to assist communities across a wide spectrum of municipal broadband exploration, from pre-election to implementation. Sessions this year include:
To register, go to www.iamu.org and click the "Events" link at the top of the page.
Another day, another FCC move to reduce regulatory burdens on small operators. In this case, the enhanced transparency rules for small ISP's that were supposed to kick in last month following a waiver. It looks like the waiver will be extended again, according to a news release by FCC Chair Ajit Pai:
"Today, I am pleased to announce that I have circulated to my colleagues an order that would waive for five years the enhanced transparency reporting requirements for small businesses with no more than 250,000 subscribers. This order mirrors the bipartisan compromise reflected in the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act of 2017—legislation introduced by Chairman Greg Walden of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Representative Dave Loebsack (and which has received a unanimous vote in the House of Representatives), as well as Senators Steve Daines and Joe Manchin."
As you can see, Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack was one of the sponsors of the House legislation that would codify the extension, so it's a good idea to contact the congressman and thank him for his support.
Technically the new enhanced transparency rules did go into effect on January 17th, but it appears that the FCC does not intend to enforce the rules between now and when they issue a formal order.
New Hampton Municipal Light Plant (NHMLP) is seeking proposals from qualified professional consulting firms to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study for a fiber-to-the-premise network in New Hampton, Iowa. The service territory of this network will include every home and business within the city limits of the City of New Hampton and, where boundaries do not align, within the NHMLP electric service territory. The network should also provide connectivity to all NHMLP electric facilities including substations. The network should be capable of providing any or all telecommunications services to end users, including but not limited to internet service, pay TV service, and telephone service.
A copy of the RFP may be obtained by contacting Brian Quirk, NHMLP General Manager, at the contact details below, or by downloading a copy from the following URL:
Proposals are due no later than 12:00pm on Friday, March 10, 2017.
New Hampton Municipal Light Plant
921 North Canty Avenue
New Hampton, IA 50659
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.