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Gigabit Is the New Black

Jason Meyers

It's a little jarring to go from regularly talking to, and writing about, the many entities that are deploying gigabit services to reading a report about how the state with the highest average Internet speed (Virginia) clocks in at a whopping 13.7 Mbit/s.

Those figures comes from the hosted voice and cloud services provider Broadview Networks Holdings Inc. , which compiled a list and a map of average Internet speeds by state, based on numbers it gleaned from Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM)'s State of the Internet report.

The state-by-state averages in the report are pretty low, but in many cases the per-state year-on-year changes are fairly high. That indicates a couple things: that gigabit network rollouts around the country are starting to up the averages; and that there are still large underserved areas of the country dragging them down.

Get the latest updates on the Gigabit Cities trend by visiting Light Reading's broadband/FTTx content channel.

Interestingly, every state's average is above the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's current definition of broadband (4Mbit/s download speed and 1Mbit/s upload speed). The commission is currently seeking public comment on whether those thresholds should be increased.

The Gigabit Cities trend is increasingly prominent -- and, judging from the diverse group of entities building and operating gigabit networks (now numbering 55 and including service providers, utilities, municipalities and others), is very real. (See The Power of the Gig.)

But numbers like the ones the Broadview report cites beg the question of how much -- and how quickly -- the rollout of gigabit networks will change the overall state of broadband in the US, especially since many of them are limited to relatively small geographic areas.

So while it's foolish not to acknowledge the significance of the gigabit network trend, it's probably equally foolish not to be aggressively looking for other near-term solutions to the bigger challenge of reaching large underserved populations still thirsty for basic broadband.

— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Beer
8/13/2014 | 11:59:30 AM
Re: Gigabit Influence
ATT and especially VZ are clearly focusing on wireless services to the detriment of the wireline divisions.   The wired BB delivery systems will increasingly be cable provided.   Google is doing its thing and I applaud them but its very limited  although they have prodded the other carriers to step up [or at least say they are going to step up].   Unless the government decides to make it a national project we'll be stuck with the Comcasts and telcos who are much more concerned about making money and not serving customers.  
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/13/2014 | 8:19:18 AM
The greater good
When two major organizations merge with a common course in mind, in most cases it is usually for the better. Take soft bank and Ericsson for example, their coming together to create software that will not only allocate radio resources but also reduce network wide signaling resources. This is a good happening for those involved. I can't help but marvel at this near fete by these Ericsson and soft bank.
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 2:28:48 PM
Re: Justification
For CBS to embark on this sort of venture should not come as a surprise. With competitive pressure on the rise, these industries have become a do or die affair and with CBS trying to diversify their services, it only means that they are trying to improve themselves. it might seem weird that what they rallied against sometime is what they are banking on now but desperate times call for desperate measures.
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 2:28:01 PM
Re: Step in the right direction
Colt technology services know exactly what they are doing, as the rest of the world are still trying to figure out how to virtualize their services, they are actually putting their own vision to test and making it real. The sooner the others follow soot, the better for all of us, for in they end, actions speak louder than words or in this case blueprints and mere plans.
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 2:26:50 PM
Re: Wireless technology
Clearly, most of our states are either underserved r just completely unserved. We wont turn ourselves to sitting ducks waiting for broadband to fix something that wasn't supposed to be a problem in the first place so instead of concentrating on wired infrastructure, broadband should really consider making a move into wireless technology. After all, we are already using that way so all they need to do is just improve it.
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 2:54:55 AM
Re: Gigabit Influence
Size has nothing to do with it. With area of 9.6m km2,  US should have better broadband coverage than Europe of 10.2m km2 -- yet it lags behind shamefully.

The reason is elsewhere. As long as introduction of broadband services/access depends only on private initiative and economic interests, you'll have to do with a couple of megs.

User Rank: Light Sabre
8/9/2014 | 6:58:06 PM
Re: Gigabit Influence
Broadband speeds in the US continue to lag behind other countries - and some of that has to do with the large geographic size of America. 

That said, people are increasingly using mobile devices for things once done on broadband. It brings up an interesting question. Shoud broadband comapnies focus on wired infrastructure or the development of wireless technology?
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/9/2014 | 12:23:55 PM
Re: Gigabit Influence
I agree with the point you raised in the piece about finding ways to get basic service to unserved or underserved communities. That is one of the hardest parts of dealing with broadband in America where there is a big difference in geography and population across the country. 
User Rank: Blogger
8/8/2014 | 12:35:40 PM
Gigabit Influence
With so many new Gigabit Cities being added to the map on a weekly basis lately, it will be very interesting to track this average speed trend and see how much those deployments up the averages over the next six months to a year. 
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