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AVIA Philippines in View: Optimistic Future for Pay TV and Broadband

Industry leaders and experts at this year's Philippines in View event are confident that the country’s pay-TV and broadband will reach greater heights moving forward. Held on May 18, the virtual conference organized by the Asia Video Industry Association, or AVIA, highlighted the triumphs and hurdles operators faced in meeting customer needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic and ABS-CBN Corp.'s mandated shutdown.

2021 U.S. Broadband Forecast Lifted by Rising Digital Home Profiles

U.S. broadband providers are carrying considerable momentum out of the pandemic despite increased competition and impending service maturity with penetrations nearing 90% of occupied households, according to the updated forecast from Kagan, a research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Shifting work and school patterns fueled 5.5 million new customers in 2020 and promise unflattering year-over-year comparisons, but the prospects for growth remain upbeat.

An emphasis on remote work as many companies discuss turning makeshift office closures into permanent situations along with enduring digital lifestyle changes suggest increased room for growth in the five-year outlook.

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Infrastructure Bill Poses Opportunities, Challenges for Broadband Providers

The $1 trillion infrastructure bill moving through Congress stands to be a windfall for broadband providers, but how quickly the money is spent and by whom could hinge on the details, telecom attorneys said.

The broadband provisions of the infrastructure bill — which collectively would allocate roughly $65 billion toward internet deployment and affordability efforts — are designed to increase connectivity across the country, close the digital divide and boost internet access for communities hard-hit by the pandemic. But rules and regulations regarding when, where and how internet services providers deploy the funds are likely to impact which companies choose to participate in the various programs covered by the legislation.

Widening U.S. Digital Gap Illustrates Infrastructure Bill Rationale

The $65 billion earmarked for broadband within the proposed $1-trillion infrastructure bill will primarily aim at closing a U.S. digital divide that expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Kagan analysis of the nation's broadband take rate across various household density areas.

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Biden, Senators Reach Deal Containing Tens of Billions for Energy Infrastructure

President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of 10 U.S. senators reached an agreement on an infrastructure package that includes tens of billions in energy infrastructure funding.

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What the $14.2B Affordable Connectivity Fund Could Mean for Broadband Providers

The U.S. Senate's $1 trillion infrastructure bill puts low-income Americans one step closer to a permanent broadband subsidy, but how that could force service providers to change their current low-income internet offerings remains to be seen.

Of the $65 billion that the infrastructure bill allocates for broadband projects, $14.20 billion, or nearly 22%, is set aside for the establishment of the Affordable Connectivity Fund. The fund is an extension and reworking of the existing $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, or EBBP, a subsidy program established during the pandemic to help low income households and Americans laid off during the pandemic stay connected to the internet.

While the EBBP was seen as temporary, the new fund is seen as more indefinite. Policy experts agree a longer-term broadband subsidy program will be a boon to consumers, especially in the face of the ongoing pandemic, as connectivity is critical for anyone trying to work or learn from home. But the differences between the original benefit program and new connectivity fund — both in terms of requirements around eligibility and promotional outreach — mean the new fund could have a greater impact on operators.

FCC Vacancy Must be Filled to Execute White House Broadband Plans — Experts

President Joe Biden has big ideas about broadband policy. But to enact them, policy experts say he must first fill some key agency roles.

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FCC's Rosenworcel Talks Net Neutrality After Biden Executive Order

Just days after U.S. President Joe Biden cemented his support for net neutrality in a sweeping executive order, Federal Communications Commission Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel reaffirmed her commitment to reinstating protections for internet users.

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U.S. Broadband Proposal A 'Down Payment' on Closing Digital Divide, Experts Say

While broadband policy experts applauded the $65 billion in funding for internet infrastructure included as part of U.S. President Joe Biden's $579 billion infrastructure framework, some rural broadband proponents cautioned that more is needed to connect all Americans to the internet.

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Events Tackle 'Digital Divide' Debate After Biden's Broadband Proposals

The pandemic brought the digital divide into stark relief, separating those who can learn and work from home from those who cannot.

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5G Reliability, Customer Retention are Top Concerns Ahead of Wireless Earnings

When major U.S. wireless operators start reporting earnings in the coming days, analysts will be closely monitoring if post-lockdown spending and pandemic-related supply chain shortages impacted their balance sheets.

67 Markets Worldwide Have Commercial 5G Services

5G commercial rollouts accelerated in the past year despite disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching 158 local operators with active networks in 67 markets worldwide as of March 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic derailed the 5G timeline of many operators and regulators worldwide, primarily through postponed or canceled spectrum auctions and restrictions on tower building.

Nevertheless, more commercial 5G launches happened in 2020 than ever before. At least 36 launches occurred in the first half of the year, followed by 56 launches in the latter half. Seven more launches followed as of March 2021.

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Technological disruption is the driving change agent for businesses, their competitive and industrial dynamics, and capital markets that fund growth. Media—including broadcast, cable, cinema, OTT, and telecom—is creating the culture of the future.


Cable Competition

U.S. Satellite Providers Diverge in the Struggle to Stem a Shrinking Market: an In-Depth Peer Comparison of DISH DBS Corp. and DirecTV Entertainment Holdings LLC

Many U.S. consumers are choosing direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming video services, while opting out of pay-TV video bundles--also known as cord-cutting. Although these trends have eased slightly in recent quarters, S&P Global Ratings believes the slowdown could be temporary and primarily COVID-related.

Not only were many consumers stuck indoors over the past year watching more TV, but government stimulus helped customers pay bills.

We expect cord-cutting to return to pre-COVID levels as restrictions ease and stimulus ends. Furthermore, the industry faces a significant long-term threat from potentially massive government funding for the buildout of broadband in rural markets where satellite TV is prominent.

Cable Companies Challenged by New Broadband Competition, Regulation Risk

Though broadband subscriber gains buoyed cable operators through the pandemic, analysts worry that increased competition from wireless carriers and the potential for greater federal regulation could impede the industry's continued growth.

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NOS Portugal, Telenet Belgium Lead Way on 3-, 4-Play Bundle Take-Up In Western Europe

Bundling has been at the heart of operator's strategies to increase average revenue per user and reduce churn for over 20 years.

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High-Speed Rivalry Between Cable and Telcos Enters New Phase as Infrastructure Proposal Raises Stakes for Broadband Providers

Several developments over the past two months have shed more light on the potential long-term threats and opportunities facing cable operators.

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Cable Changes

Comcast Now a 'Majority Broadband-Centric Company' – CEO

Comcast Corp.'s broadband business is booming.

The company reported 354,000 broadband subscriber additions in the June period, the best second-quarter subscriber growth on record. This came despite the bump the company saw in 2020 due to the pandemic as more people began working and learning from home.

CEO Brian Roberts referred to Comcast as a "majority broadband-centric company" and said he now expects higher growth relative to 2019 than he predicted at the beginning of 2021.

Televisa Makes 'Pure Play' Broadband Move In Mexican Market

Grupo Televisa SAB's recently announced decision to merge its content unit with Univision will create a Spanish-language content giant and leave a very different company bearing the Televisa name in Mexico: a heavily focused broadband and pay TV operation looking to expand its domestic market share.

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COVID-19 Implications

COVID Broadband Subsidy Program Sees 'Strong Start,' but More Outreach Needed

Just one month in, more than 2.5 million American households had taken advantage of a federal broadband subsidy program aimed at blunting the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. But millions more eligible households have yet to sign up, experts say, meaning more outreach is needed.

COVID-19 Impact & Recovery: Technology, Media and Telecom Outlook for H2 2021

The Technology, Media and Telecom sectors are emerging from a global pandemic that brought into focus the demise of legacy services and accelerated the transition to digital entertainment and communication habits. It also brought into sharp focus the power of technology providers and antitrust scrutiny over the companies that play such a central role in how we operate daily.

Firstly, evolving consumer behaviors, new video entrants and the stay-at-home orders helped push streaming subscriptions and digital viewership to record levels in 2020.

Free ad-supported services also recorded strong growth with both having an impact on pay TV cord cutting.

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