Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Study Critical of Carriers Highlights Problem Areas

J.D. Power has been studying wireless network coverage for 14 years, and according to The Motley Fool, the study addresses 10 problem areas in coverage: dropped calls, calls not connected, audio issues, failed/late voice mails, lost calls, text transmission failures, late text message notifications, web/app connection errors, slow downloads/apps, and email connection errors. The study gives a geographical score based on 100 connections, the lowest being the best. Six geographical regions were scored, with 43,300 wireless customers participating.

Highlights from the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study Volume 2, as reported by The Motley Fool, include:   Continue Reading

Monday, August 29, 2016

Look Who Owns Beachfront Property in ‘App City’

The proof is in: the rise of mobile apps with games like Pokemon Go and thousands of others is good for tower owners reports Forbes.  According to a recent article, companies that own data centers and wireless network towers could profit from mobile activity driven by apps for years.
Along with the ubiquitous Pokemon, services like Instagram and Snapchat that require the transmission and storage of data, images, video and messages. Which means companies that lease cell tower space to wireless carriers and those that house servers for data retrieval are now beachfront property in the digital world, according to Forbes. Continue Reading

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Alliance Forms To Commercialize 3.5 GHz Band

Several wireless companies have formed an alliance to tackle the challenges of commercializing the shared 3.5 GHz band. Calling themselves the Citizens Radio Broadband Service (CRBS) Alliance, initial members include Google, Federated Wireless, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm and Ruckus Wireless.
The goal is to enable carriers and enterprises to seamlessly and cost-effectively alleviate the challenges of sharing and managing spectrum while improving the performance and capacity of wireless networks for their customers,” said Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi.

The band consists of 150 MHz of spectrum (3550-3700 MHz). The FCC adopted rules for commercial use of the band last April. Continue Reading

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fiber-Optic Delays Force Google To Go Wireless

High costs associated with laying fiber-optic cables has forced Google Fiber to turn to wireless internet. Current fiber projects have been placed on hold in San Jose, CA, and Portland, OR. Projects in a dozen other metro areas, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas, will use wireless technology according to the Wall Street Journal.
Google Fiber has spent millions of dollars on its fiber internet project since 2010, and has only expanded service to customers in six U.S. cities. The cheap cost of wireless internet has attracted other companies, including Facebook, AT&T and Verizon, looking to add or improve their networks. Continue Reading

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wireless Associations Join Forces Over 5G Spectrum Sharing

A recent FCC request has turned adversaries into friends. A request made by Ligado Networks requesting the FCC to allow formation of a 5G network with shared spectrum has drawn support from rival carriers along with industry trade groups like the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) and Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA).
The two groups count major wireless rivals – T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon – as members. CTIA comments to the FCC state, “Repurposing this band [1675-1680 MHz] for shared commercial use is one more step the commission can take to help accommodate the explosive growth in demand for mobile broadband.” Although the CTIA and CCA are currently supporting the proposal, digital advocacy groups claim it will bring more competition to the market. If mobile broadband space is widely used, it is expected to spur creation of additional hardware, software, and applications. Continue Reading

Monday, August 22, 2016

Comcast Contemplates Wireless Future

Wireless opportunities have prompted Comcast to form a new mobile unit, even as the company claims its wireline broadband business is expanding. The creation of the unit has prompted questions regarding the direction Comcast plans to go.
Since mobile carriers currently deliver Comcast content to subscribers, analysts are skeptical about how Comcast will benefit from adding a wireless component to its business model. In Q2, Comcast added 220,000 high-speed broadband internet subscribers. Marcien Jenckes, Comcast’s executive vice president of consumer services, declares the business is just considering its options. Multichannel News points out he told a group at Nomura’s 2016 Media, Telecom & Internet Conference, “At the moment, what we are doing is very carefully evaluating our options. We are understanding the market.” Continue Reading

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

AT&T Outages Add To Louisiana Flooding Woes

In addition to the death and devastation across southeast Louisiana, emergency management crews have been hampered by significant cell outages, reports The New Orleans Advocate. The cause of the outage appears to have been an AT&T switching facility in Baton Rouge that was flooded.
Governor John Bel Edwards said the service disruption makes managing the ongoing emergency situation more difficult.  The governor’s own staff and several first responders rely on AT&T for their cell phone service, making it more difficult to direct public safety efforts, reports Edwards said late Sunday that more than 10,000 people are in shelters and more than 20,000 people have been rescued across southern Louisiana. Continue Reading

Friday, August 12, 2016

FCC Plans to Regulate BDS Rates, Industry Howls

The FCC in April proposed new rules for Business Data Services (BDS) as part of “an internet protocol environment” but met with wide industry disapproval this week as more than four dozen comments were filed against the plan to regulate rates.

Multichannel News reported that the FCC wants to put a price cap regulation “for cable operators’ business services, in the category now called BDS that used to be called special access.”

Critical comments spanned from industry trade groups to carriers to major towercos. Crown Castle, with more than 40,000 towers for shared wireless infrastructure, argued that “commenters who supported rate regulation ‘completely ignore or merely pay lip service to this critical investment dynamic.’” The company continued with its argument, stating that “rate regulation would be antithetical to the commission’s goal of promoting network investment by competing providers and thereby increasing competitive alternatives for BDS” and said that “rate regulation would deter investment.” Continue Reading

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

FCC Agreement To Streamline Deployment Met With Approval

The FCC’s recent Amended Co-location Agreement is drawing applause from industry representatives.  Jonathan Adelstein, CEO and President of WIA  said, “The Wireless Infrastructure Association commends the FCC for its collaborative and ongoing effort to promote the efficient and responsible deployment of wireless broadband. The FCC is taking a big step forward by streamlining the review of small cell and Distributed Antenna System (DAS) deployments under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This agreement shows how government entities and industry can work together to deploy wireless infrastructure while also protecting historic resources. The action the FCC takes today will enable 5G technologies of tomorrow by reducing a regulatory barrier to wireless infrastructure deployment.” Adelstein said yesterday. Continue Reading

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Alaska’s Budget Cuts Puts GCI Out In The Cold

As a result of the State of Alaska’s failure to approve a 2016 fiscal plan, General Communications Inc. (GCI) has announced it will decrease its spending by 20 to 25%, reports the Alaska Journal of Commerce in a recent article.
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker put forward a plan to fund the state government by restructuring the state’s Permanent Fund. Although passed in the Senate, the House failed to vote on the bill, leading Walker to veto $1.3 billion in state spending. 

GCI had originally planned to spend roughly $210 million in 2017 on expanding its rural presence within the state, which it had been doing by “adding redundancies to existing broadband networks,” says the article. Continue Reading