Key Trends 2023
- Broadband deployments have accelerated, driven by massive government and private funding.
- While cable continues to slug along the long path to DOCSIS 4.0, PON has continued to make meaningful inroads with cable operators. Cable vendors have introduced PON solutions that align with cable’s network architecture and operating environment
- Although fiber got most of the buzz, including more than a gentle nudge from the US government (primarily related to BEAD funding), FWA (fixed wireless access) made significant inroads, and proved to be a viable alternative to cable, primarily in the lower tiers. At the same time, companies have introduced innovative next gen FWA technologies that deliver throughput almost on par with fiber, even in dense environments.
- The shine has come of some of the COVID era “innovations”, like work from home, but there are early beginnings of using broadband in more innovative ways across many industries. More on this in 2024.
What to look forward to in 2024
- Broadband deployments will accelerate, even from an already feverish rate, particularly as BEAD funding starts to flow in early 2024, added to massive funding from other government and private sources.
- Fiber continues to win the day, even in areas where ROI is questionable at best, but FWA will continue to make inroads.
- It remains to be seen if the Affordable Connectivity Program will be renewed in 2024. It helps lower income people afford broadband cost. The general sense is that it will be renewed, in some form.
- Cable will continue limited introductions of DOCSIS 4.0, and DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades, including some distributed access architecture deployments, but will continue to deploy massive amounts of fiber, particularly as they seek opportunities in previously unserved areas.
- May be the most exciting development in 2024 will be the beginnings of broadband disrupting existing business models and established ways of doing things. Already, medical schools are training doctors to diagnose patients via a video call (and this is not simply by asking them questions. This is a different approach to treatment). Broadband availability will start to spark meaningful opportunities and innovation in previously unserved areas.