Broadband Communities

JUL 2017

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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80 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | JULY 2017 FIBER CONNECT COVERAGE Visions of the Network of the Future In Orlando The Fiber Broadband Association – formerly the FTTH Council – broadened its technology base but its conference emphasized fiber to the home as the ultimate goal. By Steven S. Ross / Broadband Communities A ttendees at the Fiber Broadband Association's June annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, glimpsed the Network Future: • Billions of connected devices. Comcast's Mike Slovin, vice president of national sales for XFINITY, said 3 billion devices are connected to U.S. networks. Cisco expects 25 billion worldwide by 2020 – two- thirds of them wireless. ese will include driverless vehicles connected mostly with 5G wireless along the roads. • Access networks that quickly and automatically reconfigure themselves to meet demand and emergencies • Low latency along with high bandwidth • New ways to bring good broadband to rural areas and urban dwellers caught on the wrong side of the digital divide. e Network Present is already great for some: • Cities gain new vitality as young workers chose not to live in sterile suburbs. Said Rocket Fiber's Mike Hudson, "Young kids don't want to look out over a suburban parking lot." Rocket's sister company, Quicken Loans, now has 15,000 employees in downtown Detroit. • Fiber is supplemented by point-to-point wireless, and DOCSIS. • Equipment vendors become software companies as equipment becomes cheap and commoditized. But the ghost of Network Past still clanks its chains: • Regulatory muddle as telcos and cable companies increasingly converge but are regulated differently • Federal loans for suburban overbuilds rather than for rural areas with little or no broadband access • Confusion over net neutrality • Lack of political will to deliver good broadband to the one in five Americans without access to it now • Unwillingness of network deployers to share physical networks even though today's technologies overcome every technical reason for not sharing. FTTH GROWTH STILL STRONG Speakers were quick to note what can be and is being accomplished. Mike Render of RVA LLC said 2016 was a banner year for FTTH deployments in the United States – 16 percent year-over-year growth in homes passed and marketed, to 30.4 million, and 13.7 million connected. Homes passed in Canada grew 18 percent in 2016. In North America as a whole, fiber now passes more than 40 million homes. Almost half the U.S. 2016 FTTH growth (close to 2 million homes marketed) came from smaller carriers. Tier-1 carriers accounted for just over 2 million newly marketed homes. e smaller carriers' share has been growing since 2010 and is now poised to overtake the majors.

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