Each month, we collect miscellaneous happenings, studies, trends or observations you might have missed. This month we feature some market statistics, muni Wi-Fi, BPL and a perspective on projecting the future.
Fiber Update: "Controlling Your Broadband Destiny" (BBHR 4/3/2005)
There is typically a long lag time between conceptualizing how new technologies could be used and their widespread adoption. Fiber to the home has been trumpeted as "the future of broadband access" since the mid-1980s. Current trends in customer applications, fiber system costs and competitive dynamics are finally making the decision of going to fiber a logical one, even for incumbents like Verizon.
Last month we described the current Wi-Fi deployment in Florida. Our expectation was that the next likely step was for the city council to vote in March on expanding Wi-Fi coverage city-wide. The council has moved the vote forward and citywide coverage has already been approved.
It wasn't exactly an exotic vacation, but a recent trip provided us the opportunity to try out three very different forms of portable broadband. One system was designed for use in a moving vehicle; another, sporting a low entry price, for traveling to various spots around town; and a third for people in municipalities that believe portable broadband should be a public service, like roads.
City-wide broadband seems to be moving from technical experiments in small cities into the mainstream of big-city thinking. The recent announcement of plans for city-wide Wi-Fi in Philadelphia is only the tip of the iceberg. We report on some of the recent announcements, technologies and issues.
Jackson, Tennessee is known to some as the home of railroading's "Casey" Jones, but Jackson Energy Authority is making "fiber to the home" its new emblem. We visited in person to find out why this municipally-centered public utility decided on fiber, to see how the rollout is proceeding and take the pulse of how its residents are reacting to the new services. We especially wanted to learn "why fiber?" in a community that already has incumbents providing high speed data, voice and video services.
One reader asked about broadband applications "being applicable in daily lives." Another is starting a web site on municipal wireless. And a third told us about his summer project setting up a home-brewed "drive-in movie theater".
Aggaros - Community Broadband (Banda Ancha - Broadband in Spain) (BBHR 6/17/2003)
During our trip to Spain, we met with the incumbent and several aspiring broadband competitors. Despite differences between countries, we found many common themes across borders, including the move to "all IP," innovations in wireless and PLC technologies, and public policy to spur broadband competition. Muchas gracias to our readers in Spain for sharing their insights with us.
Our speech--in a session at the 2002 Western Show titled "They're Just Over the Horizon: Emerging Technologies, Friend or Foe?"--talked about the emergence of all-digital networks and suggested that cable operators should start thinking about a future without analog television. We pointed out that some municipalities are starting to roll out all-digital FTTH networks.