Connected America: News roundup January 2024 


A selection of the month’s most important stories from the US telecoms market, with commentary from Maddie Hicks, lead conference producer for Connected America 

SpaceX begins launching next-gen satellites for direct-to-mobile services: With US mobile giant T-Mobile already signed on as a major partner, Elon Musk’s latest upgrade to the Starlink satellite constellation will see the company deliver connectivity directly to unmodified smartphones – a move he says could eliminate ‘not-spots’ across the country.  
Hewlett Packard Enterprise closes in on $13 billion Juniper Networks acquisition: HPE believes its purchase of Juniper will help boost its AI and 5G capabilities, helping it carve out a more significant share of the networking market. 
FCC urges Congress to approve more funding for Affordable Connectivity Programme: With ACP funding running out, the FCC are one of numerous industry bodies fighting for more funding to keep the broadband subsidy programme afloat.   
AT&T, Google, and Vodafone partner for $155 million investment in AST SpaceMobile : Starlink is not the only option in the burgeoning direct-to-device satellite connectivity market, with three major players throwing their money behind SpaceX’s rival AST SpaceMobile. 
The US has narrow window “to get back on track” with spectrum strategy: As data demand continues to rise, time is running out for US policymakers to revise their approach to spectrum strategy, according to the CTIA. 
Reunited: Dish Network and EchoStar complete merger: Charlie Ergen’s telecoms empire is reunited, with wireless network operator Dish reabsorbed by its once parent company, satellite operator EchoStar.  

“For many consumers, the end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is devastating news. Unless additional funding is approved soon, the FCC projects that funding will run out in April. This leaves the 23 million households currently enrolled in the program facing a time of immense uncertainty regarding their internet access. The end of the ACP is likely to exacerbate the digital divide, potentially leaving millions of people unable to afford broadband.

The first month of 2024 also proved that direct-to-device satellite communications technology is likely to be increasingly important in the American telecoms landscape. With both AST SpaceMobile and SpaceX strengthening their partnerships with major operators, parts of the USA that are unreachable by terrestrial networks could soon have mobile connectivity.

Join the Total Telecom team at Connected America on March 12-13 to hear experts from across the telecoms ecosystem discussing the most pressing connectivity topics! Get your ticket today.

– Maddie Hicks, lead conference producer for Connected America

Also in the news:
EU telcos join forces against Gigabit Infrastructure Act
Jio releases ‘Jio Brain’ AI platform
Ofcom issues further crackdown on spoof phonecalls

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