The internet has changed nearly every aspect of American life. It has transformed how we shop, listen to music, learn, do business, bank… and connect with each other. With so many Americans now working or learning from home, our dependence on it has grown. Yet, in dark contrast to internet usage growth, the gap between those who have broadband access and those who do not is growing, too.
According to the FCC, 97% of Americans who live in urban areas have access to high-speed fixed service. In rural areas, that number falls to 65%. And for those living on Tribal lands, more than 40% don’t have access to high-speed broadband at all. In my August 14 blog, I shared more specifics about the plight of Native Americans and the unprecedented opportunity they face for prime 2.5GHz wireless spectrum.
All told, nearly 30 million Americans don’t have access to the information and resources that can help turn their worlds around. The digital divide is real, and it’s growing.
Yet there’s hope. Through a series of programs involving $37 billion in federal funding, the U.S. Government has committed to closing the digital divide, particularly in rural areas where broadband is insufficient. Their programs provide funding that will maintain, improve, and expand rural broadband across the United States, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including 44,243 locations on Tribal lands.
At Cisco, we believe in a world with equal access to opportunity. Working with our biggest networking customers, we are focused on connecting more people to more places and more things. We are doing this by transforming the economics of networking. By developing new ways to increase our customers’ revenue, lower their costs and mitigate their risk, we will improve their cost structures and move one step closer to building an inclusive future for all. Here are a few important innovations:
Converged SDN Transport converges services, protocols, and layers into one unified architecture. The solution removes redundant levels, legacy technologies, and overlapping functionalities. And it simplifies the network, increases capacity, and improves scalability while maintaining a consistent and superior customer experience.
Cisco Crosswork Automation
incorporates advanced data consolidation, machine learning, event correlation, and change automation to proactively manage end-to-end networks, improving time to revenue and time to remediation while lowering operating costs. It enables networks to ultimately self-heal, self-optimize, and self-protect, by repairing and optimizing infrastructure from the inside – without interruption or human intervention.
Architectural Shifts in Optics
As bit rates increase from 10G to 100G to 400G, optics represents an increasingly larger portion of the network spend. Cisco’s advances in silicon photonics enable our customers to transition from large, chassis-based solutions to much smaller DWDM pluggable in a router or switch. This new technology provides a significant opportunity to lower the total cost of ownership.
Over the past decade, network operators have been grappling with two opposing challenges: increasing data demands, and declining revenues. We believe 5G is a key opportunity to regain network profitability. Our focus on the network architecture—the ability to create new services, as well as lower costs leveraging cloud and automation—provide tremendous value to our 5G customers.
We’re not just focused on innovating technology, we’re focused on the entire business equation. Financial flexibility is a big part of our portfolio of solutions. For example, Our Pay as You Grow funding model helps our customers reduce their initial outlay and improve CapEx efficiency. License Pooling allows them to use software licenses flexibly across their entire organization. And Enterprise Agreements consolidate multiple software subscriptions and renewal dates down to a single agreement with unified terms and conditions.
Cisco is relentlessly focused on transforming the economics of networking. We are determined to connect the unconnected and create a more inclusive future for everyone, reaching those most in need. Learn more about Cisco rural broadband solutions.