Tidbits from Fiber Connect 2023

Fiber Connect 2023 is a happy show right now that is leveraging the forty-plus billion of government dollars going toward fiber deployment and the tens of billions of private equity money chasing that!

This show focused on putting fiber in the ground. There were a number of vehicles to help with that. (see below). There were different types of fiber – mesh and painted on?! A good amount of software for digital twinning and mapping out the fiber deployment. For example, “‘Render Insights,’ a data intelligence platform set to revolutionize network deployment with interactive visualizations, ensuring faster, high-quality results for network operators and contractors.”

vehicle to paint fiber on pavement

Non-trenching fiber deployment would change things. See here.

Did you know their was a federal permitting council?  Details here and here about how the council is going to ease the permitting for BEAD winners. Some permitting advice from FBA-NTCA here.

A little bit about how AT&T looks at federal funding HERE. The two things that were mentioned often during the show: “local policy mandates for open access or pricing policies” are things that worry PE as well as operators. They all want the money free and clear (and the ACP funds as well) but without any regulation?!

How does an ISP figure out which funding source is the right fit, and what do they need to know about applying for and actually spending that money? A panel discussed it at the show.

“When Calix researched over a million subscribers across the providers it works with, fewer than 20% opted for speed tiers at 1-gig or higher.” So how do you sell fiber and increase the take rate? Know your Buyers!

Now that the funding spigot has opened, the next two worries are supply chain and labor. Vendors like ADTRAN say that they are forecasting to be a month ahead of supply. The “Built in America” NTIA caveat will burden the supply chain, but vendors are being positive. (What else can they do?)

On the labor side, FBA last year put a plan in place to train fiber techs. There were at least 3 organizations at the show that were schooling workers for the FTTx deployment.

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