Big telcos claim half a billion dollars for rural California broadband

28 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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The two biggest incumbent telephone companies in California will be taking federal subsidies to upgrade rural broadband service. Yesterday was the deadline for AT&T and Verizon to claim the money, and both more or less said yes.

AT&T’s acceptance was unambiguous. It’s taking the Federal Communication Commission’s offer of $60 million a year in Connect America Fund (CAF) subsidies to boost Internet service speeds to 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up for 106,000 homes and businesses in rural California.… More

AT&T says yes to FCC rural broadband subsidies in most states, including California

27 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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AT&T picked up most of the subsidy money offered by the Federal Communications Commission to upgrade rural broadband service, including $60 million a year for six years in California. In total, AT&T accepted $428 million in annual payments, and turned down $66 million. Three states were left off of AT&T’s list: Missouri, Nevada and Oklahoma. It’s been a bad day for Oklahoma; CenturyLink likewise bypassed it. So far, no word on what Verizon is doing.

CenturyLink accepts federal broadband subsidies, but not in California

27 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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Today is the deadline for major telcos to say whether or not they’re accepting Connect America Fund subsidies from the Federal Communications Commission to upgrade rural broadband service.

So far, no word on whether AT&T and Verizon have accepted any of the money, but CenturyLink has picked up most of the half billion dollars per year (per six years) it was offered. However, it turned some of the money down, including $55K per year for 45 homes in Modoc County, in the far northeast corner of California.… More

Comcast's lobbying is extraordinarily aggressive according to one of its peers

1 September 2014 by Steve Blum
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Comcast is a particularly nasty competitor at the political level, according to comments filed by CenturyLink with the FCC regarding the proposed mega-merger with Time-Warner (h/t to Fierce Cable for the pointer). Although CenturyLink claims to be the “third largest telecommunications provider in the United States”, it also points out that it’s relatively small player in TV terms – 215,000 subs in 12 markets, it says – due in part to Comcast’s unique influence and combative stance with local governments…

Comcast has been uniquely and extraordinarily aggressive in seeking to delay CenturyLink’s entry into new markets.


Utopia moves ahead on FTTH bailout plan, but the monthly tax bill could go higher

30 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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A flat monthly fee of $18 to $20 – or, now, perhaps more – to rescue the failing Utopia municipal fiber to the home system in Utah got mixed reviews from the city councils involved, but even so the project’s board of directors voted today to move ahead with negotiating a bailout plan put forward by Australia’s Macquarie Capital Group.

The system encompasses 11 cities in the Salt Lake area (but not Provo, where Google rescued an independent muni FTTH system or Salt Lake City itself).… More

The name of the gigabit game is fractal hopscotch

28 May 2014 by Steve Blum
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Look familiar?

Cox is the latest major Internet service provider to announce that it’s getting into the gigabit business, saying that upgrades…

…will start with new residential construction projects and new and existing neighborhoods in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Omaha. In all Cox locations, the company will begin market-wide deployment of gigabit speeds by the end of 2016.

If those three cities sound familiar, it’s because CenturyLink has already targeted Omaha and Las Vegas, and Phoenix is one of the blessed 34 cities on Google’s maybe list for fiber-to-the-home (but not CenturyLink’s).… More

To nimby or not to nimby is the dilemma for Seattle and Portland broadband upgrades

4 April 2014 by Steve Blum
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Not every emerald city has a wizard to rely on.

Broadband doesn’t arrive by magic. It needs stuff. Like poles and towers and boxes that don’t necessarily match the neighborhood decor. That simple fact is often lost on nimby homeowners who want to be able to watch four channels of Netflix HD movies at once, but don’t want a small, green box planted anywhere nearby.

Seattle and Portland are two cities where it’s difficult, if not impossible, to install telecoms street furniture.… More

Sorry CenturyLink, businesses do need a Lamborghini

Don’t ignore the business model.

“It’s like having a fancy sports car. It might go 200 miles per hour, but what good does that do if the speed limit is 60?” said Jim Schmit, CenturyLink’s vice president and general manager for Idaho, as quoted in the Idaho Statesmen. He was trying to explain that he’s not worried about the threat posed by Google Fiber or other gigabit competition, because homes and businesses don’t need that kind of speed.… More

Don't expect fiber upgrades as telcos transition to IP-based networks

It’s about avoiding the mess.

There’s no cosmic plan to replace copper telephone wires with glass. That’s the clear message coming out of a panel discussion at the Comptel trade show in Las Vegas this week. In an article for Fierce Telecom, Sean Buckley reports that executives from AT&T, CenturyLink and Frontier agreed that there are no plans in the works for wide scale replacement of copper with fiber, but they will look at ending support for plain old telephone networks on a case-by-case basis…

‘Today, we have retired some copper, but where we have done it is very, very rare,’ said Bill Cheek, president of Wholesale Markets Group for CenturyLink.


CenturyLink stokes fiber demand in Utah

Picking the Utah state fruit.

Salt Lake City businesses will be getting gigabit service from CenturyLink soon, according to a company press release. It’s a follow-on to its fiber-to-the-home experiment in Omaha and its gigabit business service push in Las Vegas. Although CenturyLink doesn’t seem to be running quite as scared as AT&T, which is rushing to roll out FTTH service in Austin, it’s a fair bet that it’s feeling the heat from Google Fiber in Provo and the recently refinanced Utopia system, both just a short drive down Interstate 15.… More