Wednesday's keynote speakers at NXTcomm touted their companies' respective accomplishments and new service plans in wireline and wireless broadband. Verizon Communications president and COO Denny Strigl officially announced the news that had broken earlier that morning--that Verizon is expanding in 50 Mbps top-tier FiOS service to more markets. He also took critics of lagging U.S. broadband penetration to task for apparently not focusing on the broadband numbers that really matter, and apparently the numbers that should really matter, according to Strigl, are the ones that demonstrate the sheer size of the market, and the speeds and penetration levels in selective markets that offer a more apples-to-apples comparison with other countries.
Strigl said it also must be noted that the U.S. broadband market has grown to more than 100 million connections via private investment, a direct knock on those countries where the government has played a strong handed in forcing carriers toward broadband goals.
Speaking after Strigl, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said Sprint will launch its next-generation wireless broadband service, based on WiMAX, in Baltimore in September. It will be a small step that comes after delays, but considering some in the industry were speculating just a few months ago that Sprint would drop WiMAX, it is a significant step. Hesse touted the service as "open broadband, no walled gardens," but added almost as a disclaimer: "Some carrier control [of bandwidth usage] will be required so the network is not held hostage" by a small number of overachieving downloaders. Such disclaimers are now increasingly frequent with any carrier executive's mention of broadband. Still, Hesse further added a bit awkwardly that any new broadband regulation was a bad idea.