Nothing like a cool $7.2 billion to make things interesting among broadband vendors these days. The broadband stimulus program is in full swing, with roughly $3 billion of the program committed (not counting matching funds), although it’s not exactly clear how much of the actual cash has been distributed. Never the less, the pursuit of those funds has the broadband vendor community engaged, to say the least.
Competition among the companies that make the equipment and provide the engineering and business consulting services which enables rural carriers to offer broadband services was already quite active. Adding the stimulus program to the mix took that competition up a notch or three. At my day job with Pivot Media, we’ve been known to help a client or two develop strategies to pursue rural broadband opportunities.
Demonstrating that you are making progress in the stimulus hunt has generated a press release war of sorts, with companies issuing press releases weekly touting their stimulus wins. Apparently it’s a good time to be in the broadband vendor public relations business.
The latest salvo comes from Calix, who just announced XIT Communications will use Calix equipment for their broadband stimulus project. Calix competitors Adtran and Occam Networks have issued their fair share of stimulus win press releases as well. From my vantage point, these three broadband access vendors seem to be the most active with the stimulus program– or maybe the most active in reporting about it.
It’s not just press releases though. These companies have all launched microsites/blogs – Adtran, Calix, and Occam stimulus sites – and other media tools to spread their broadband stimulus story. Other vendors are in on the mix as well. Alcatel-Lucent, Infinera, ECI Telecom and others ‘smell broadband stimulus blood’ too. There are many more – too many to list in one post.
I’m sure some of these vendors will tell you it’s been a long time coming. The stimulus program created a slowdown of sorts prior to its actual implementation. Many broadband carriers took a wait-and-see approach to the program and stopped or considerably slowed down broadband projects until they had a better understanding of it. It begs the question though – what will happen when the program dries up?