Doug Dawson’s telecom predictions for 2020

Doug Dawson is a smart guy so it’s interesting to take a look at his telecom predictions for 2020. I won’t post all of them here. I won’t say I’m posting my favorites so much as posting the ones where I think you can parlay knowledge into action.

First a good reason to go back to school or look into getting technical skills…

Technical Resource Shortage. There is already a growing shortage of fiber resources that includes engineers, construction companies, and fiber consultants. The upcoming $16.4 billion RDOF program will create a resource shortage in 2020 for those who can help companies seek grant funding. Once the grants are awarded, the size of the program will add stress to the resources needed to build networks. Companies that don’t line up their experts early might find themselves without help.

Unless your thing is to be cutting edge, don’t pay for something you can’t use…

5G Cellphones Will Prove to be a Joke. At least for 2020, almost everybody who spends extra for a 5G handset is going to be disappointed. The companies deploying millimeter wave spectrum are doing it in limited downtown areas of major cities – and the speeds are only faster outdoors. Carriers implementing low frequencies like 600 MHz and 850 MHz admit that service won’t be any faster than 4G LTE.

It’s wonky, but it’s worth the effort, especially for policymakers, to understand broadband technology because regulation is changing. (briefer abstracts from Doug here)…

FCC Will Eliminate the Last Vestiges of Regulation.
Courts Will Chip Away at the 5G Pole Attachment Rules.
State Net Neutrality Will Be Almost as Powerful as Federal Policy.

Our need for better broadband will continue to grow…

Household Bandwidth Usage Will Continue to Grow. OpenVault says the average home now uses 275 gigabytes of data per month, with cord cutting households using 520 GB per month. Opensignal and Cisco both report that household broadband usage continues to grow rapidly, at about 21% annually, or a doubling every 4 years. There is nothing to suggest this growth will be slowing.

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About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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