Communications Reports

Reports from CoBank Knowledge Exchange focusing on the communications industry.

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Rural Broadband Operators Poised to Enter the MVNO Market
September 2023

The latest communications bundle has gained traction with consumers and is forcing broadband and wireless operators to enter new markets. 

Slowdown in M&A Activity Does Little to Dent Private Valuations for US Communications Companies
June 2023

The feverish pace of M&A activity in the U.S. communications market has seen a considerable slowdown over the last 12 months.

Opportunity Awaits in the Rural Wireless Tower Business
February 2023

Providing wireless coverage in rural America has not been a priority for the national wireless operators as the limited market opportunity didn’t justify the cost to provide “urban like” coverage in remote parts of the country.

As Fixed Wireless Wreaks Havoc on Cable, are Smaller ISPs Next?
November 2022

The national wireless operators, most notably Verizon and T-Mobile, have been wreaking havoc on the internet business of cable companies. The wireless operators are looking for new growth opportunities and have set their sights on the home internet market. 

Niche for Now, Satellite Smartphones Could Answer the Call for Rural Connectivity
October 2022

Smartphones with satellite connectivity are generating quite the buzz in the wireless
market thanks to recent announcements from industry heavyweights including
Apple, T-Mobile, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

5 Timely Trends Shaping Telecommunications into 2023
August 2022

Rural telecommunications are one of the most dynamic markets in the U.S. Here are five notable market-moving developments to watch. 

How Co-ops Can Lead the Way for DIY On-Farm Broadband
May 2022

Although precision agriculture has been around for more than 25 years, the past decade has introduced advanced computing technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, connected devices, robotics, and automation.

Big Gap in Valuations Puts Private Companies in Broadband Catbird Seat
March 2022

There has always been a valuation gap between public cable and private communication operators that offer internet, cable and phone services. Public equities are exposed to the whims of the stock market which can have a significant impact on valuations

Self-Driving EVs Could Overwhelm the Data Center Market. Can the Industry Respond?
February 2022

As auto manufacturers pivot their business model away from internal combustion engine vehicles and towards electric vehicles, the stage is being set for millions of self-driving EVs to buzz through the streets. 

Major Forces Will Shape the Communications Industry for Years to Come
November 2021

The communications industry is expected to evolve significantly over the next several years as our work and lives grow increasingly digitized.

Is Now the Time for Smaller Cable Operators to Enter the Wireless Market?
August 2021

New advancements in wireless technologies and the flood of newly available spectrum are enabling national wireless operators to enter the home broadband market with a fixed wireless access solution.

Federal Funds, Satellite Rivals Could Expedite Rural 5G Plans
May 2021

The current state of 5G, when rural America can expect true high-speed 5G, and the opportunities that exist for rural operators as 5G is deployed.

Broadband Operators Well Positioned to Capitalize on Accelerated Connected TV Growth
March 2021

With millions of bored consumers waiting out the pandemic at home this past year, 2020 was a tipping point for connected TV on-demand video streaming services, which drove an acceleration in cable cord cutting.

RDOF Broadband Results Raise Concerns About Execution, Financial Risk
January 2021

The FCC’s recently-released results for the first round of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund left many questioning how the commission decided to allocate the funds.

Funding Uncertainties Wreak Havoc for Rural Communications at the Worst Time Possible
November 2020

As the U.S. and China continue to battle over trade, technology, and intellectual property rights, those living in rural America are getting caught in the middle.

Rural Broadband Valuations Remain High as Investors Move Down Market for New Opportunities
September 2020

The abrupt shift in 2020 to working from home and remote learning has significantly increased high-speed data subscriptions, representing a new catalyst for the broadband market.

What the CBRS Spectrum Auction Results Mean for Rural Telecom
September 2020

The FCC recently concluded its CBRS spectrum auction and as expected, there was a wide range of winning bidders.

New Networks and Spectrum to Fuel Tower Industry Growth
August 2020

T-Mobile’s efforts to expand rural coverage should be a tailwind for rural tower operators as it’s likely the company will use existing towers in remote parts of the country rather than building its own.

As CBRS Auction Shapes Broadband Landscape Should Rural Operators Make a Bid?
June 2020

On July 23, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will start its highly anticipated CBRS auction for the licensed portion of the spectrum band.

LEO Satellite Broadband Expectations Need to Come Back to Earth
June 2020

Satellite-based internet has been around for several years, but for the most part it has failed to gain traction due to slow data speeds and pricey rate plans with data caps.

Rural Telecom Operators Take on Risks for Their Communities, But for How Long?
May 2020

Numerous rural operators are going above and beyond to keep their communities connected. However, in doing so, these operators are taking on increased cash flow risks.

Network Sharing Could Be a Creative Way to Bridge the Digital Divide
April 2020

The primary challenge to bridging the digital divide is cost. In many rural markets there simply aren’t enough residents to justify the capital and operating expenditures needed to run a profitable network. 

COVID-19 Pushes Rural Internet Providers to Get Creative
April 2020

Broadband operators are seeing a 20-40% increase in data traffic where a shelter in place order has been issued. This is putting undue stress on rural communication networks.

COVID-19 Highlights the "Digital Disadvantage"
March 2020

The coronavirus and the measures to prevent its spread are wreaking havoc for all Americans. But for those living in rural America, the disruption is even worse.

Sprint – T-Mobile Merger Takeaways
February 2020

The verdict is in and a federal judge has cleared the way for Sprint and T-Mobile to merge. There are three main takeaways for rural America.

Deal or No Deal: How the Sprint – T-Mobile Saga Will Impact Rural America
January 2020

As Sprint and T-Mobile forge ahead with their merger, a number of states are standing in the way citing anti-trust concerns, among other factors. 

Flush with Cash and Ready to Buy, Investors Take Aim at Fiber-Rich Operators
November 2019

Mergers & acquisition activity in the telecom market has driven an explosion in cloud computing, consumers’ insatiable demand for data, and new technologies.

Pay-TV Operators: To Cut or Not to Cut?
October 2019

Consumer adoption of over-the-top video streaming services, coupled with rising programming costs, have created significant headwinds for traditional pay-TV operators.

5G: What Does One More G Mean to You?
September 2019

Hype is reaching fever pitch for 5G (fifth-generation cellular wireless service), which has been touted as a quantum leap for wireless internet speed. However, operators’ go-to-market strategies are unclear.

Recent Insights into Successful Broadband Partnerships
August 2019

Broadband partnerships between Rural Local Exchange Carriers (RLEC) and Electric Distribution Cooperatives (EDs) are uncommon, but when done right, can benefit all involved.

Equipment Ban Creates Static for Rural Telecom Operators
June 2019

Rural operators will be the ones hurt the most by the executive order, which will likely soon ban U.S. telecom operators from buying Huawei-made telecom equipment.

Spectrum Sharing Shows Promise for Broadband Access
May 2019

Citizens Broadband Radio Service, or CBRS, has introduced a new spectrum sharing business model that will improve broadband coverage in rural America.

Digital Clouds are Brewing over Rural America
April 2019

As organizations look for cost-effective ways to manage their IT operations, the hybrid cloud offers an attractive alternative to on-premise data centers.

US Wireless Tower Market Standing Tall Despite Headwinds
March 2019

Wireless operator margins are being pressured and cost management is under the microscope as the mobile market matures. As a result, the legacy tower business model with its annual escalators and amendment fees are becoming a problem for operators. 

5G Value Proposition Remains Murky
February 2019

As wireless carriers work towards building their 5G networks, many of them have yet to finalize their commercial strategy and business case, according to a report from McKinsey & Company.

Fiber Valuations: Secular Tailwinds to Support Current Multiples
February 2019

Investments in U.S. fiber networks have become an area of focus for infrastructure funds looking to take advantage of the industry’s secular tailwinds and strategic buyers who want to diversify their business and/or gain operating leverage.

Executive Order to Ban Chinese Telecom Manufacturers
February 2019

The U.S. administration is reportedly close to issuing an executive order preventing U.S. companies from buying telecom equipment from Chinese manufacturers.

Diversification: The How and Why for Rural Telco Operators
December 2018

Many rural local exchange carriers, or LECs, face secular headwinds in their core business thanks to declining regulated revenues. These revenues have been under pressure for years given a variety of factors, particularly with the shift away from landline service in favor of wireless. 

FirstNet Brings New Opportunities for Rural Operators
November 2018

FirstNet will enable rural wireless operators to evolve their business model with AT&T to a co-locate/backhaul structure versus just a roaming relationship, which opens the door to new long-term recurring revenue opportunities.

5G Fixed Wireless: Is It Really a Solution to Help Bridge the Digital Divide?
October 2018

As rural telecom operators look for cost-effective ways to bridge the digital divide, 5G FWA has been identified as a potential solution. The issues deploying widespread fiber networks in rural markets are numerous and well documented, which has led to an estimated 25 million consumers without broadband access.