Telecom Waits, Hopes For Boost From Stimulus Funds

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | September 2009 Vol. 64 No. 9

"There are many reasons for this," he continued, "including the fact that we are geographically larger while other countries are smaller, more urbanized and government oversight agencies play a prominent role in directing which technologies to adopt. If I want to look at what telecommunications will be like in the U.S. three or four years from now, I look at what is being done today in Asia. Communications capabilities have implications from both trade and defense points of view."

The broadband stimulus should have a positive impact on the telecommunications industry, believes Mike Render, president of RVA Market Research & Consulting.

"It's possible that initially some projects were put on hold as carriers waited for details of the stimulus program, but once fund details of implementing the program are fully known and money is available, there should be positive results both generally and for FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises). It can't be known now how much of the construction will include fiber, but because of the benefits of fiber over other technologies, I would expect a significant amount will be fiber."

Render said it is not yet known what locations of projects will qualify for stimulus funds, but he expects clarification of many details soon. Most, he said, likely will be small and medium sized. Small, rural carriers and competitive providers who have been frustrated by a lack of capital to fund projects should especially benefit from the program.

RVA, he added, is in the process of preparing a report that will assist carriers to understand data that will be required in applications for funding.

"There will be some red tape involved in applying for funds, but that should not affect contractors," Render said. "The program should offer opportunities for contractors and specialist subcontractors, and the reaction I am getting from contractors is positive, and some have even expressed concern about having enough equipment to complete work to meet the relatively short completion deadlines that will be required."

RVA is a research and consulting firm serving a regional, national, and international client list in a variety of industries. RVA conducts ongoing research for the Fiber to the Home Council.

Limited new projects?
Mark Bridgers, utility vertical market leader/consultant for FMI Corp., believes the stimulus program will not result in a large number of new projects.