Week in research: Rural broadband climbs; smart grid flexes muscle in Latin America

Rural broadband illuminated: While the FCC's Measuring Broadband America report is a week away from release, Calix (NYSE: CALX) is ahead of the punch, releasing its second U.S. Rural Broadband Report covering January through March 2012. Since April 2011, when Calix began its report covering Internet traffic on over 50 CSP (communications service provider) networks, "the scope of the applications tracked and scale of the endpoints monitored has grown significantly, increasing 40 percent to over 180 Internet applications and over 100,000 endpoints across rural America."  Not surprisingly, video streaming made a huge impact, generating 70 percent of downstream traffic in monitored networks. However, 60 percent of rural broadband subscribers have average download speeds of less than 3 Mbps. News release

Smart grid on the move:  In the Americas, smart grid communications and networking sales are continuing a steady climb. IMS Research forecasts the market will grow from 2011's mark of $700 million to nearly $950 million by 2016. Following a burst of equipment shipments to the North American market late in the last decade, sales there are slowing. But Latin America is poised for growth, and additional technologies needed across the region--such as substation modernization and automated distribution--will spur the market upward. "Smart metering is only beginning in Latin America, but perhaps more interestingly, in North America, utilities are seeing increased efforts from AMI solution providers and grid automation specialists to effectively integrate smart meter data and infrastructure into more sophisticated distribution automation tasks," said Donald Henscel, senior analyst at IMS Research. "Distribution automation-enabled smart meter concentrators will hasten this process." News release

IMS Research smart grid Americas

PC sales flatten: Gartner reports that in the second quarter, shipments of PCs nudged downward 0.1 percent over the same period in 2011, with just 87.5 million units shipping. HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Lenovo paced each other during the quarter, at 14.9 percent and 14.7 percent of the worldwide market respectively. However, HP's shipments fell 12.1 percent in the quarter while Lenovo's grew by 14.9 percent. Story