We’ve already looked back and recapped the biggest trends in the fiber industry in 2018, along with the top IFN moments of 2018, which included a new name and look for us. Now it’s time to look forward and assess what’s in store for fiber, the digital divide, and the industry as a whole in 2019.
Broadband Federal Assistance Program
Recently, a new Congressional Research Service Report was released on the state of broadband deployment adoption, which features information about the current broadband federal assistance programs. The report includes a list of studies that attempt to assess the economic impact of broadband. Additionally, the report details the potential broadband legislation on which the 116th Congress could vote. This is not only a meaningful tool for research on the current industry landscape and state of the nation’s digital divide, but it also provides a glimpse into fiber-relevant legislation that could pass in 2019.
5G continues to dominate the conversation
In the many schools of thought around 5G, some proponents believe that 5G will ultimately replace landlines and cell towers, meaning that fiber build-outs will be crucial to communication. 5G is a fiber-intensive technology and trying to manage spectrum, with minimal wavelength reach, presents a new challenge to the transport industry. In order to keep up, existing fiber infrastructure will undoubtedly need to be updated as new build-outs occur to meet the high speed, high user bandwidth demands.
With cloud services like Netflix, Slack, and Dropbox in high demand, the consumer expectation is that mass amounts of data can be delivered quickly. This continued meeting of IT and the telecom industries will create new opportunities for fiber providers to intervene and help meet the demand while reducing the amount of low-bandwidth locations. Additional fiber build-out capacity could not only eliminate the congestion that comes with sudden bursts of traffic—often seen in video streaming—but also ensure that the connection has multiple paths. As a result, failures can be mitigated quickly and network availability is that much stronger.
What do all these predictions have in common? The need for more fiber build-outs in order to keep Indiana (and America) ready to compete on a global scale.
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