New Windsor, NY – April 25, 2023 – Wireless 20/20, LLC (www.wireless2020.com), a broadband network consulting group and developer of the industry-leading WiROI™ Broadband Networks Business Case Analysis Tools, today published a White Paper presenting research that shows Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) funds may not be sufficient to bridge the digital divide using fiber-to-the-home broadband networks.
Utilizing their WiROI™ db Geospatial SaaS Platform, Wireless 20/20 has analyzed the CapEx required for fiber deployments in over 800 counties in the United States. In this White Paper, Wireless 20/20 applied its fiber planning methodology to determine whether the available funding would be sufficient to provide fiber to all unserved locations in ten counties in Georgia. The chosen counties, which are generally south of Atlanta, represent a typical mix of exurban, and rural areas in Georgia where housing density is low, with an average of 1,795 unserved homes in each county.
“While BEAD funds are allocated on the basis of the number of unserved locations, the CapEx needed to serve these locations is calculated by the number of access fiber miles,” said Haig Sarkissian, Principal Consultant at Wireless 20/20. “Wireless 20/20 has concluded that it is critical to have accurate data regarding the minimum number of fiber access miles needed to serve the set of locations to be analyzed.”
Calculating the number of access fiber miles is required to cover a specific set of unserved locations and determining the minimum cost paths among the locations requires sophisticated geospatial optimization software. With five thousand dollars available per unserved home, broadband operators cannot ignore BEAD funding. Several broadband operator clients already rely on the Wireless 20/20 WiROI™ db database and mapping tools to identify the best places to build networks and prepare grant applications.
“The latest release of our WiROI™ db Geospatial SaaS Platform allows operators to quickly calculate the number of miles needed to connect the unserved locations in a given county,” said Fred Campbell, Principal Advisor and Consultant at Wireless 20/20. “WiROI™ db 2.1 allows operators to identify unserved dwellings in targeted expansion areas within or around the broadband provider’s current footprint and automatically designs access fiber networks using highly accurate location data, AI algorithms, and road mapping data from the U.S. Census Bureau.”
Wireless 20/20’s analysis shows that most states may not have sufficient BEAD funds to bring fiber to every unserved location in every county. States have to determine how to distribute BEAD funding in ways that maximize the number of unserved homes that ultimately receive broadband access. Service providers who plan to apply for BEAD funding will have to examine large areas and calculate fiber access miles needed for ROI analysis. Counties, locations, and subsidy levels have to be prioritized in each application. The use of next-generation, fixed wireless access could provide a lower-cost complement to fiber in closing the digital divide. Priorities and choices cannot be made effectively without a map-based analysis that shows, among other things, the access fiber miles needed to connect the unserved locations.
The Wireless 20/20 White Paper, Will BEAD Funding Close the Digital Divide with Fiber?, is available at: https://wireless2020.com/pr-news-events/white-papers. Maps are available for viewing at: https://wireless2020.com/pr-news-events/maps. An interactive dashboard with unserved locations for all states is available on the Wireless 20/20 website at: https://wireless2020.com/fabric-locations-dashboard.
About Wireless 20/20, LLC
Wireless 20/20 is a consulting firm focused on wired and wireless broadband markets. Wireless 20/20 has helped over 180 broadband operators worldwide build business cases, analyze market opportunities, complete technology and vendor selections, and develop network rollout strategies. The principals have been engaged in the broadband wireless industry since its inception and have a thorough understanding of the technical, business, and product issues surrounding the development of wireless devices, equipment, networks, and services. For more information and to schedule a private demonstration of the Wireless 20/20 WiROI™ db Geospatial SaaS Platform, please visit https://wireless2020.com.
To read the release online, visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2023/04/prweb19298115.htm.
WiROI™ is a trademark of Wireless 20/20, LLC.