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5 Broadband Predictions for 2020

The 2010's have been nothing short of transformative in the broadband space. Despite disappointing deployment rates across the U.S., the past decade has been a period of exponential change and innovation.

As we look toward the new decade, here are five key predictions based on current trends and developments in the broadband industry.

5G will be live in all major U.S. cities by the end of 2020

Next generation 5G cellular service is already live in dozens of U.S. cities across multiple carriers, and expansion is likely to explode in 2020 as American infrastructure matures and more devices are released that support the baseband. By the end of the year, it is likely that every major market in the country will have at least one carrier providing commercial 5G services.

Municipal broadband networks will experience a massive surge

Despite numerous roadblocks, community broadband networks have been growing steadily in recent years, and 2020 could be a major tipping point in their development. As the public becomes better acquainted with broadband policy issues thanks to the election cycle and the growing digital disparity, we are seeing that more and more communities are taking matters into their own hands, often with exciting results.

The vast majority of proposed cybersecurity laws in 2020 will not be passed

Despite cybersecurity being one of the most pressing consumer issues faced today, over the past several years, most bills intended to help curb the effects of rampant cybercrime have not successfully passed in congress.

As these issues continue to define the internet era, it is unlikely that effective legislation will come to fruition in the new year. Technological progress tends to outpace governance, and until a more agile system is put into place, consumer protections will continue to play catch-up in 2020 and beyond.

Rural broadband connectivity will improve by less than 10 percent in 2020

For all the FCC's talk about focusing on closing the digital divide in rural America, remarkably little progress has actually been made in the last several years. Each year, millions in rural funding are doled out to help build connectivity out to those who need it most, but the FCC's latest deployment report shows that more than 21 million residents still lack access to broadband.

Exciting but unproven innovations like low-orbit satellite could shake things up for rural America, but taking stock of where we are now, it is unlikely that anything fundamental will change until the private industry is sufficiently incentivized to build out robust connectivity in areas with little hope for an economic return.

The democratic nominee for the 2020 election will release a full-fledged broadband bill to tackle the digital divide

Several candidates have already released broadband infrastructure proposals, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, two frontrunners for the democratic nomination. Perhaps in this election more than any other, broadband policy is being given its due on both the debate stage and the campaign trail. Whoever wins the nomination will likely make building out broadband internet to all Americans a key proposal leading up to the 2020 election.

By Tyler Cooper, Consumer Policy Expert at BroadbandNow

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Comments

We need a new networking framework By Michael Elling  –  Feb 11, 2020 12:48 pm PST

Tyler,

This is all well and fine.  But after studying and predicting trends in the industry for over 30 years I can safely say: "government has failed us, monopolies have failed us, competition has failed us and the internet has failed us."

Why? Because our socio-economic and political institutions (aka networks) do not follow those of natural networks around us.  So too, our information networks.  I offer up a new approach to and thinking about networks called Equilibrism.  Equilibrism holds that all networks need to be interconnected (in some fashion) and supply and demand within and between need to be cleared via settlements that provide both incentives and disincentives as well as value sharing/conveyance from the geometrically growing core and top to the costs growing more or less linearly at the bottom and edge of the network (ecosystem).  A discussion about equilibrism in the context of answering the net neutrality debate can be found here:  http://bit.ly/2iLAHlG

Cheers,
Michael

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