Friday, March 5, 2021

“The Big Apple” Asks “Won’t You Be Our 5G Helper?”

 New York City wants companies to step forward as potential partners in building out the city’s 5G infrastructure, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio in a press conference held on Wednesday. The Mayor said any company that wants to gain access to city-owned properties will have to meet requirements set forth by New York officials. 
“The city, land, city buildings, all the places where companies want to expand their capacity, we hold the key to that as the city of New York,” he said. “We're investing $157 million in affordable internet access and that’s going to allow us to reach 600,000 more New Yorkers, including a lot of folks who have been excluded because of where they live,” de Blasio said. The Mayor’s comments follow on the heels of 5G franchises awarded earlier this month by the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). Continue Reading

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Altice USA to Acquire Morris Broadband

 Broadband communications and video services provider Altice USA (NYSE: ATUS) signed an agreement to acquire the assets of Morris Broadband, LLC. The transaction will expand Altice USA’s footprint in North Carolina, where it already has a presence with its Suddenlink business.

Altice says the enterprise value is $310 million total for the Morris Broadband business on a debt-free and cash-free basis. Morris Broadband provides high-speed data, video and voice services to approximately 36,500 residential and business customers in western North Carolina. According to Altice, after the acquisition, North Carolina will represent the sixth largest state for Altice, out of its 21 states of operations, in terms of number of residential customers. Continue Reading

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Senators Urge FCC to Extend Broadband Subsidies Beyond COVID

 UPDATE Major telecoms and other industry participants applauded the FCC’s recent vote to quickly advance the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. The effort will help subsidize internet service for low-income households impacted by COVID. 

AT&T praised the move to “help close the broadband gap,” while Comcast and Charter said they plan to participate in the program. The Benton Institute called it “a lifeline” that will go far to connect Americans who need COVID vaccines. Trade groups including USTelecom, the Internet & Television Association and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association also welcomed the action.

Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel anticipates opening the program within 60 days to qualifying homes signed up with participating providers. Continue Reading

Monday, March 1, 2021

FCC Establishes Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

 UPDATE The FCC voted Thursday to formally adopt rules to establish the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. The $3.2 billion federal initiative will provide qualifying households discounts on their internet service bills and an opportunity to receive a discount on a computer or tablet. 

The bi-partisan 2-2 vote occurred just four days after Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel circulated the Report & Order to her colleagues for a decision. The program, she said, “will help those sitting in cars in parking lots just to catch a WiFi signal to go online for work. It will help those lingering outside the library with a laptop just to get a wireless signal for remote learning. It will help those who worry about choosing between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries.”

The Commission staff is working to get the program up and running. Rosenworcel anticipates eligible households will be able to apply within 60 days. Continue Reading

Friday, February 26, 2021

American Tower’s Global Ambitions

 By John Celentano, Inside Towers Business Editor American Tower (NYSE: AMT) has become, through strategic acquisitions and a record number of new builds, the largest publicly held tower company in the world. On a pro forma basis, including towers from its pending acquisition of Telefonica’s Telxius Towers, announced in January, AMT’s global portfolio is nearly 215,000 towers in 20 countries.

That tally puts the company only second to China Tower’s two million towers, though China Tower is predominantly state-owned.

AMT reported total 2020 property leasing revenues of almost $8.0 billion, up about 7 percent over $7.5 billion in 2019. Adjusted EBITDA grew nearly 9 percent year-over-year to $5.2 billion and consolidated AFFO came in at $3.8 billion, up 8 percent YoY.

Capital expenditures in 2020 were $1.1 billion, up 4 percent from $1.0 billion in 2019. Discretionary capex for new tower builds, tower upgrades and ground lease purchases totaled just over $900 million. The balance went towards tower maintenance and corporate facility investments. Continue Reading

Thursday, February 25, 2021

A Total of 21 Bidders Won All Licenses in C-Band Auction

 The FCC announced the winning bidders and the final bid totals in the C-band auction. Net winning bids totaled $81,114,481,921 and gross winning bids totaled $81,168,677,645 for Auction 107. A total of 21 bidders won all of the available 5,684 licenses, said the agency late Wednesday afternoon.

“It is essential to America’s economic recovery that we deliver on the promise of next-generation wireless services for everyone, everywhere,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “This auction reflects a shift in our nation’s approach to 5G toward mid-band spectrum that can support fast, reliable, and ubiquitous service that is competitive with our global peers.”

The five bidders with the largest total gross winning bid amounts from both the clock and assignments phases were as follows: Continue Reading

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Rosenworcel Proposes Plan to Free Up More Mid-Band Spectrum

 FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel Tuesday circulated among her colleagues a draft Order that would make much-needed mid-band spectrum available for 5G. If adopted at the Commission’s March 17 Open Meeting, 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band would be made available for auction and 5G deployment. 

She also shared a notice to seek comment on procedures for this auction (Auction 110); Bidding would begin in early October of this year. Continue Reading