Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2018

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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INDUSTRY ANALYSIS 4 0 | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 A Busy Year Ahead for Broadband There's much to look forward to – more fiber to the home, more deep fiber, more wireless, smarter homes and buildings. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities A s the new year began, I rounded up a panel of industry experts to talk about what might happen in the world of broadband in 2018. Forecasting can be perilous, but our panelists ventured – and defended – opinions on the major topics of the day. FTTH DEPLOYMENT WILL CONTINUE TO GROW "My best educated guess is that there will be some additional growth in FTTH deployment this year over last year," says Michael Render, president of RVA LLC. Render's guess on this subject is likely the most educated of anyone's, as he has tracked the deployment of fiber to the home in North America every year since it began. His surveys formed the basis for a report recently published by the Fiber Broadband Association, which shows that 2017 was a record year for FTTH deployment. "e larger providers, AT&T especially, are back in the high zone," Render explains, "and the smaller group continues to do quite well. AT&T is still planning a really large build, and the smaller players look reasonably strong. ere are some good signs for electric co-ops, which appear to be continuing to cover the really rural areas. Municipalities are more mixed, as are public-private partnerships" – though the growth of the internet of things and smart-cities applications offer more reasons than ever for providers and cities to work together, he says. Render continues, "Barring a major economic collapse, the demand is strong, the need is there, and whether they like or dislike the current policies, the general trend is up because they see the need for fiber … for the reliability that comes with a stable fiber system and the blended up- and-down speed, not just download speed." Render says that although growth in 2018 over 2017 could be fairly strong, there are some limits to growth. "ere are constraints in capital, in fiber and in construction crews," he says, "and some companies will try to make do with copper for as long as they can. But more and more cable companies are admitting that all-fiber is on their future roadmaps." In multifamily communities, most large providers are deploying fiber primarily in new, upscale buildings. However, in older buildings, owners and smaller providers have found a way to pay for retrofits. According to Bryan Rader, president of UpStream Network, an independent multifamily provider, bulk internet service is becoming more prevalent in part because it guarantees a return on investment for a fiber upgrade. "I see that as a really big, accelerating trend," Rader says. "Lots of good, class B properties built in the 1980s are desperate for technology." POPULAR SUPPORT FOR MUNICIPAL NETWORKS WILL GROW ough municipal fiber networks are opposed by many incumbent providers, they are less controversial among members of the public. In fact, a Pew Research Center survey found in 2017 that 70 percent of U.S. adults believe local governments should be able to build broadband

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