Bridging the Digital Divide: Part 4

In the final installment of this four-part sponsored series, we look at still more key highlights from a new Heavy Reading study about the broadband industry's plans for closing the Digital Divide. #sponsored

Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

January 27, 2023

3 Min Read
Bridging the Digital Divide: Part 4

How do telcos, cable operators, fiber providers, wireless operators, utilities, municipalities and other broadband players aim to close the Digital Divide? What kinds of networks are operators and vendors looking to build, adapt and/or expand? How much are they planning to leverage public subsidies? What are the biggest challenges they face in wiring unserved regions, and how can they meet these challenges?

Seeking to address these and other related issues, Heavy Reading teamed up with four leading tech suppliers — Corning, DZS, Radisys and Vantiva — to conduct a comprehensive study about ways to bridge the Digital Divide. In this series of four sponsored blog posts, we present key study highlights, analyze the findings and discuss the implications. We also draw some conclusions about what the findings mean for the overall drive to close the Digital Divide around the world.

Most important CPE-related services and features

The Heavy Reading study looked at what providers consider the most important CPE-related services and features for their Digital Divide solutions. Survey participants could select up to three different services or features.

Not too surprisingly, an integrated solution with access and Wi-Fi in a single device was the top choice, with slightly more than one-half of the respondents (51%) picking it. Connection and service speeds emerged as the second choice, with more than two-fifths of operators (44%) choosing it.

Notably, three other choices — self-install options, Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities and managed Wi-Fi capabilities — finished in a dead heat for third place. Each generated support from just over one-third of respondents (34%). No other choice scored higher than 17%, as shown in the figure below.

These results indicate that service providers view Digital Divide solutions as encompassing much more than just blazing broadband speeds. They are seeking a basket of services and features, not merely gigabit or multi-gigabit speeds.

Figure 1: n=85 (Source: Heavy Reading) n=85
(Source: Heavy Reading)

Most important criteria for picking a CPE supplier

Given what operators are seeking in CPE-related services and features, how do they go about choosing an equipment supplier? That is what the next question sought to find out in another prime section. Survey participants were asked to identify their most important criteria for picking a CPE supplier.

With up to two choices permitted, slightly more than one-half of operators (52%) selected a vendor that can offer an end-to-end solution, making that the lead choice. Lowest cost came in a strong second, attracting votes from 45% of the sample. No other choice came close to those two, as depicted in the figure below.

These findings suggest that operators would ideally like to work with one uber vendor that can supply the whole ecosystem in terms of devices: optical line terminal (OLT), optical network terminal (ONT) and gateway/extender. Thus, it should be good news for larger vendors offering comprehensive solutions that address the full ecosystem, not just separate individual elements. But it is also good news for vendors that offer lower priced equipment.

Figure 2: n=85 (Source: Heavy Reading) n=85
(Source: Heavy Reading)

That wraps up the final key results from the Digital Divide study. For a free copy of Bridging the Digital Divide, the Heavy Reading white paper detailing all the study results, please click here.

This blog is sponsored by Vantiva.

— Alan Breznick, Practice Leader – Cable & Video, Heavy Reading

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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