VMO2 faced a substantial loss of £3.3 billion in 2023, worsened by a £3.1 billion goodwill impairment rooted in increased capital costs. While their debt soured under challenging economic conditions, they still managed to attract 64,000 new broadband and 47,000 mobile customers. Nevertheless, revenues witnessed a slight tumble as consumer fixed income dipped and the B2B sector lagged.
As both the UK and US strive to deliver full-fibre broadband, each country grapples with its hurdles; one being persuading landlords to greenlight installation plans within their properties. In the UK, mechanisms are in place to enable operators to seek judicial access if landlord agreement is unattainable, a luxury the US lacks, suggesting the potential need for new legislative action in America. A monumental goal for both nations is eliminating the digital divide which requires a comprehensive combination of varied technology methods.
Local government digital leaders across England, Scotland, and Wales continue to prioritize gigabit broadband rollout, viewing it as essential for connectivity improvements, despite differing opinions on 5G and a lagging focus on environmental sustainability. This was highlighted in a recent survey conducted by FarrPoint, a UK-based connectivity consultancy, which released its findings from a December 2023 study involving councils from various regions.
The FCC has recently approved rule changes aimed at streamlining access to the 70 GHz, 80 GHz, and 90 GHz spectrum bands, immensely benefiting airborne and waterborne vehicles and promoting more innovative broadband service options. These updates will also impact the way backhaul service for 5G operates, enabling smaller, lower-cost antennas to be utilized, and ensuring a more efficient use of the spectrum through modifying the link registration process.
In a quest to bring hyper-fast broadband to Scotland’s most rural regions, the Scottish government launched the ambitious R100 (Reaching 100%) project. Backed with sizable financing, R100 aims to boost connectivity for over 180,000 premises. However, stumbling blocks including bidding disputes and slow deployment have pushed timelines back, igniting debates over the project’s efficacy and cost-effectiveness.
In a significant move to bridge the digital divide, Colorado is investing $113 million from its Capital Projects Fund (CPF) in 27 broadband projects. These initiatives aim to connect nearly 19,000 homes and businesses, underscoring the state’s commitment to improving internet access.
In a significant digital milestone, Openreach reports a 9% surge in broadband traffic across the UK throughout 2023, totaling a staggering 94,722 petabytes of data. To put this colossal figure into perspective, one petabyte equals a million gigabytes, and an average 4K movie stream consumes approximately 7.2 gigabytes per hour, as highlighted by Openreach.
In a significant development, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has released updated guidelines for the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. The revised framework, known as Uniform Guidance, outlines rules and requirements for federal financial assistance awards and subawards, aiming to enhance the efficiency of the grant management process.
House Republicans are seeking clarity from the NTIA on its stance on Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program initial proposals, pertaining to potential rate regulations. They argue such regulations may contravene the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) directives. Amid rising concerns, Louisiana becomes the first state to have its BEAD program approved.
Ofcom’s annual report, “Connected Nations,” provides a comprehensive update on the state of broadband and mobile services in the UK. The report reveals a noteworthy advancement, indicating that 78% of the UK now enjoys gigabit-capable broadband, marking an 8% surge from the previous year’s 70% coverage.