Doug Dawson

Doug Dawson

President at CCG Consulting
Joined on May 20, 2019
Total Post Views: 277,056

About

Dawson has worked in the telecom industry since 1978 and has both a consulting and operational background. He and CCG specialize in helping clients launch new broadband markets, develop new products, and finance new ventures. CCG, the largest telecom consulting firm in the country in terms of clients, has a varied telecommunications practice and helps clients with engineering, regulatory, operation and planning issues.

Featured Blogs

Free the Fiber Now

In a previous blog post I mentioned that the FCC had taken away restrictions to allow broadband supplied by E-Rate funding to be used to provide free WiFi for the public. That's a good idea that will provide some relief for areas with little or no other broadband. But the announcement raises a more fundamental question - why was such a restriction in place to begin with? more

The Government Needs to Address the Homework Gap

I've been at a bit of a loss over the last few days on what to write about, because suddenly newspapers, blogs, and social media are full of stories of how impossible it is for some students to work at home during the COVID-19 shutdowns. I've been writing this topic for years, and there doesn't seem to be a lot I can add right now - because the endless testimonials from students and families struggling with the issue speak louder than anything I can say. more

Will COVID-19 Traffic Kill the Internet?

This is the question being asked all across the industry as the volume of data traffic has leaped upward due to students and employees working from their homes. We got our first glimpse of the impact of the crisis when Verizon announced a week into the crisis that they were seeing a 22% increase in data traffic in their network. More recently, AT&T announced a 27% increase in network traffic. more

Using Bigger Bandwidth Applications

The recent Cisco Annual Internet Report for 2018–2023 had one chart that I found intriguing. The purpose of Cisco's report is to look at the future of broadband usage, and the report included a chart showing the amount of bandwidth needed for various web functions. To me, this list was reminiscent of the list that the FCC made in 2015 when they set the definition of broadband at 25/3 Mbps -- except that all of the items on this list require more bandwidth than the functions the FCC foresaw just five years ago. more

Quantifying the Homework Gap – Finally a Definitive Study

The Quello Center that is part of the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University just released a definitive study that looks at the impact of lack of broadband on students. The study was done in conjunction with Merit Networks, the organization that acts as the ISP for schools in Michigan. I describe the study as definitive because it used study techniques that isolate the impact of broadband from other factors such as sex, race, and family income. more

A New Busy Hour – One of the Many Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic

One of the many consequences of the coronavirus is that networks are going to see a shift in busy hour traffic. Busy hour traffic is just what it sounds like -- it's the time of the day when a network is busiest, and network engineers design networks to accommodate the expected peak amount of bandwidth usage. Verizon reported on March 18 that in the week since people started moving to work from home that they've seen a 20% overall increase in broadband traffic. more

Low-Orbit Satellite Security

I've been watching the progress of the low-orbit satellite providers, which are promising to bring broadband solutions across the planet. There has been some serious movement since the last time I discussed their status. On January 29, Starlink launched its latest round of low-orbit satellites, bringing the number in space to 242. Not all of these will be delivering broadband. The first half dozen satellites were test units to try out various concepts. more

Apple Satellites?

Word has leaked out that Apple is working on a satellite project. The company is at the beginning of the research project, so there is no way to know exactly what they have in mind. For example, is the company considering launching satellites, or would they lease capacity from one of the other planned satellite networks? The fact that Apple is working on the concept is a good segue to discuss the many ways that satellite connectivity could be useful to Apple or other companies. more

Most Employees in Rural America Can't Work From Home Due to Lack of Required Broadband Speeds

One of the hottest topics in the news related to coronavirus is working from home. Companies of all sizes are telling employees to work from home as a way to help curb the spread of the virus. Companies without work-at-home policies are scrambling to define how to make this work to minimize disruption to their business. Allowing employees to work at home is not a new phenomenon. more

The Growth Rate of Broadband Speeds

Cisco has changed the name of its periodic predictions of broadband usage from the Visual Networking Index to the Annual Broadband Report, and recently issued a report that covers the period from 2018 to predictions made through 2023. Cisco is one of the few industry players that projects future broadband usage. Their past reports have been spot on in terms of predicting future broadband usage. more

Why Are the U.S. Broadband Prices So High?

I've wondered for years about why broadband prices are higher in the U.S. than the rest of the world. The average price in other industrial counties is significantly lower. In France, broadband averages $31, Germany is $35, Japan is $35, South Korea is $33, and the U.K. is $35. The average price of broadband in the U.S. is approaching $70, so we're at twice the price as other countries. more

There Is No Artificial Intelligence

It seems like most new technology today comes with a lot of hype. Just a few years ago, the press was full of predictions that we'd be awash with Internet of Thing sensors that would transform the way we live. We've heard similar claims for technologies like virtual reality, blockchain, and self-driving cars. I've written a lot about the massive hype surrounding 5G -- in my way of measuring things, there isn't any 5G in the world yet, but the cellular carriers are loudly proclaiming its everywhere. more

Broadband Consumption Continues Explosive Growth

OpenVault Just released its Broadband Industry Report for 4Q 2019 that tracks the way that the US consumes data. The results of the reports are as eye-opening as OpenVault reports for the last few years. OpenVault has been collecting broadband usage for more than ten years. As usual, the OpenVault statistics are a wake-up cry for the industry. more

Broadband in China

For years I've been hearing how we are losing the broadband battle with China, so I decided to take a look at the current state of broadband in the country. The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) publishes statistics about the state of broadband in the country, and I used the Statistical Report on Internet Development in China from August 2019 in writing this blog. more

Can 5G Replace WiFi?

Verizon recently posted a webcast with investors where Ronan Dunne, EVP and CEO of the Verizon Consumer Group said that he believed that 5G hotspots using millimeter wave spectrum would eventually displace WiFi in homes. He cites major benefits of 5G over WiFi. He believes that a 5G network will be more reliable and more secure. He thinks that people will value the safety that comes from having traffic inside their home being encrypted... more

A Reality Check on 5G in Rural America

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently told the crowd at CES that 5G would be a huge benefit to rural America and would help to close the rural broadband divide. I have to imagine he's saying this to keep rural legislators on board to support that FCC's emphasis on promoting 5G. I've thought hard about the topic, and I have a hard time seeing how 5G will make much difference in rural America – particularly with broadband. more

Is 5G Radiation Safe?

There is a lot of public sentiment against placing small cell sites on residential streets. There is a particular fear of broadcasting higher millimeter wave frequencies near to homes since these frequencies have never been in widespread use before. In the public's mind, higher frequencies mean a greater danger of health problems related to exposure to radiofrequency emissions. more

Killing 3G

I have bad news for anybody still clinging to their flip phones. All of the big cellular carriers have announced plans to end 3G cellular service, and each has a different timeline in mind... The amount of usage on 3G networks is still significant. GSMA reported that at the end of 2018 that as many as 17% of US cellular customers still made 3G connections, which accounted for as much as 19% of all cellular connections. more

Broadband and Presidential Politics

For the first time in my memory, broadband has entered into U.S. presidential politics. This is an important milestone for rural broadband – not because of the proposals being made by candidates, but because it indicates that the voices of those without rural broadband have reached upward to the top of the political system. I'm sure that when the presidential candidates go to rural areas, they are asked if they can help find a solution for the lack of broadband in many rural counties. more

U.S. Has Poor Cellular Video

Opensignal recently published a report that looks around the world at the quality of cellular video. Video has become a key part of the cellular experience as people are using cellphones for entertainment, and since social media and advertising have migrated to video. The use of cellular video is exploding. Netflix reports that 25% of its total streaming worldwide is sent to mobile devices. The new Disney+ app that was just launched got over 3 million downloads of their cellular app in just the first 24 hours. more

Spectrum and Weather Forecasting

There is currently a brewing controversy over the allocation of various radio frequencies for 5G that could have a negative impact on weather forecasting. Weather forecasting has become extremely sophisticated and relies on masses of data gathered from weather satellites and other data-gathering devices. The masses of data, along with modern supercomputers and data center computing, have significantly improved the ability to predict future weather. more

My Telecom Predictions for 2020

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. more

Fiber Resource Shortages

The fiber industry is as busy as I have ever seen it, and it's about to get even busier. The cellular carriers, particularly Verizon are actively building fiber to reach small cell sites. The cable companies are building a significant amount of fiber, particularly Altice which is upgrading to FTTP. The FCC is going to award $9 billion in 2020 for the 5G Fund grant program, much which will go for fiber to reach rural cell sites. more

A Tale of Tackling the Digital Divide

A new book came out in November that tells about one of the first attempts to solve the digital divide on a large scale. The book is 'The Charisma Machine: The Life, Death, and Legacy of One Laptop per Child' published by MIT Press and available on Amazon and other places online. In 2005, Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of MIT Media Lab, created a program that he hoped would solve the digital divide in the third world. more

The Upcoming 5G Confusion

Until now, the 5G industry has spread a lot of hype, but it hasn't affected customers. That's all starting to change as the cellular carriers are starting to offer 5G phones. Many customers who spend extra for 5G phones are going to quickly be frustrated and disappointed as they try to participate in the new 5G world. Consider both AT&T and T-Mobile. Both companies are introducing both a low-band and a high-band 5G phone, and customers who want 5G will have to choose... more

Counting Gigabit Households

I ran across a website called the Gigabit Monitor that is tracking the population worldwide that has access to gigabit broadband. The website is sponsored by VIAVI Solutions, a manufacturer of network test equipment. The website claims that in the US, over 68.5 million people have access to gigabit broadband or 21% of the population. That number gets sketchy when you look at the details. more

Our Digital Illiteracy

Pew Research Center recently surveyed 4,272 adults and tested their knowledge of basic computer topics. The results showed that there was a lack of general knowledge about a few of the terms that are important for how people use the Internet. For example, the survey showed that only 30% of survey takers knew that website starting with https:// means that the information provided over that site is encrypted. Only 28% of respondents understood the concept of two-factor authentication... more

Starlink Making a Space Grab

SpaceNews recently reported that Elon Musk and his low-orbit space venture Starlink have filed with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to launch an additional 30,000 broadband satellites in addition to the 11,927 now in the planning stages. This looks like a land grab and Musk is hoping to grab valuable orbital satellite paths to keep them away from competitors. more

Nielsen's Law of Internet Bandwidth

One of the more interesting rules-of-thumb in the industry is Nielsen's Law of Internet bandwidth, which states that: A high-end user's connection speed grows by 50% per year. This 'law' was postulated by Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group in 1998 and subsequently updated in 2008 and 2019. Nielsen started by looking at usage for himself and other big data users, going back to a 300 bps (bits per second) modem used in 1984. more

Do Cable Companies Have a Wireless Advantage?

The big wireless companies have been wrangling for years with the issues associated with placing small cells on poles. Even with new FCC rules in their favor, they are still getting a lot of resistance from communities. Maybe the future of urban/suburban wireless lies with the big cable companies. Cable companies have a few major cost advantages over the wireless companies, including the ability to bypass the pole issue. The first advantage is the ability to deploy mid-span cellular small cells. more

Be Wary of 5G Hardware

We've now entered the period of 5G competition where the wireless carriers are trying to outdo each other in announcing 5G rollouts. If you believe the announcements, you'd think 5G is soon going to be everywhere. Device manufacturers are joining the fray and are advertising devices that can be used with the early carrier 5G products. Buyers beware -- because most of what the cellular companies and the manufacturers are hyping as 5G is not yet 5G. more

Farm Access to Broadband

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been measuring computer usage on farms and publishes the results every two years in its Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report. The most recently released report for 2019 was compiled by asking questions to 20,000 farmers. This is a large sample from the more than 2 million farms in the country. more

Shame on the Regulators

It's clear that even before the turn of this century that the big telcos largely walked away from maintaining and improving residential service. The evidence for this is the huge numbers of neighborhoods that are stuck with older copper technologies that haven't been upgraded. The telcos made huge profits over the decades in these neighborhoods and ideally should not have been allowed to walk away from their customers. more

The Myth of 5G and Driverless Cars

A colleague sent me an article that had been published earlier this year in MachineDesign magazine that predicts that driverless cars can't be realized until we have a ubiquitous 5G network. When looking for the original article on the web I noticed numerous similar articles like this one in Forbes that have the same opinion. These articles and other similar articles predict that high-bandwidth, low-latency 5G networks are only a few years away. more

US Court Upholds Repeal of Net Neutrality

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the last day of September that the FCC had the authority to kill Title II regulation and to repeal net neutrality. However, the ruling wasn't entirely in the FCC's favor. The agency was ordered to look again at how the repeal of Title II regulation affects public safety. In a more important ruling, the courts said that the FCC didn't have the authority to stop states and municipalities from establishing their own rules for net neutrality. more

Happy Birthday Wi-Fi

This year is the twentieth anniversary of the formation of the Wi-Fi Alliance and the launch of commercial Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi has become so ubiquitous in our lives that it's hard to believe that it's only been twenty years since all broadband connections came with wires. In 1999 most people were still using dial-up, and that's the year when early adapters started buying DSL. I remember having incredibly long phone cords so that I could use my laptop at different places around the house. more

The Hidden World of Undersea Fiber

Since the first undersea cable was completed in 1858 to deliver telegraph messages between the US and England, we've had an extensive network of undersea cable networks that enable communications between continents. Earlier this year there were 378 undersea fiber cables in place that stretch over 745,000 miles. Here's an interactive map that shows all of the cables... What's most intriguing about the map is that there are a few cities around the world where numerous cables terminate. more

Unlicensed Millimeter Wave Spectrum

I haven't seen it talked about a lot, but the FCC has set aside millimeter wave spectrum that can be used by anybody to provide broadband. That means that entities will be able to use the spectrum in rural America in areas that the big cellphone companies are likely to ignore. The FCC set aside the V band (60 GHz) as unlicensed spectrum. This band provides 14 GHz of contiguous spectrum available for anybody to use. This is an interesting spectrum because it has a few drawbacks. more

Busy Skies: Weighing the Downside of Launching Huge Numbers of Satellites for Broadband

I was looking over the stated goals of the broadband satellite companies and was struck by the sheer numbers of satellites that are being planned. The table further down in the blog shows plans for nearly 15,000 new satellites. To put this into perspective, consider the number of satellites ever shot into space. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (NOOSA) has been tracking space launches for decades. more

Is There a Business Case for Fast Cellular?

We've gotten a glimpse of the challenges of marketing faster cellular usage since the two major cellular providers in South Korea made a big push in offering ultrafast cellular broadband. South Korea has two primary cellular carriers – SK Telecom and KT – and both have implemented cellular products using millimeter wave spectrum in Seoul and other dense urban areas. more

A New Cellular Carrier?

One of the most interesting aspects of the proposed merger of Sprint and T-Mobile is that the agreement now includes selling some of Sprint's spectrum to Dish Networks to enable them to become a 5G cellular provider. This arrangement is part of the compromise required by the Department of Justice to preserve industry competition when the major wireless carriers shrink from four to three. more

Worldwide Broadband Trends as the World Wide Web Turns 30

Hootsuite is the premier tracker of social media usage around the world. They publish numerous reports annually that track broadband statistics and social media statistic from around the world. They report the following statistics for the end of 2018. The world has been seeing one million new users online every day since January 2018. That means there are 11 new users on the web every second. There are now 5.11 billion mobile subscribers in the world, 67% of the world's population. more

Broadband and the Census: Why Decision to Go Online Is Probably Ten Years Premature

The US government is gearing up to begin the 2020 census which will be administered starting next April 20. For the first time, the census is going to rely heavily on people answering the census questions online. Live census takers will then follow-up with those that don't submit the online response. This seems like an odd decision since there are still many people who don't have home broadband. more

Terahertz WiFi

While labs across the world are busy figuring out how to implement the 5G standards, there are scientists already working in the higher frequency spectrum looking to achieve even faster speeds. The frequencies that are just now being explored are labeled as the terahertz range and are at 300 GHz and higher spectrum. This spectrum is the upper ranges of radio spectrum and lies just below ultraviolet light. more

Are You Ready for 10 Gbps?

Around the world, we're seeing some migration to 10 Gbps residential broadband. During the last year, the broadband providers in South Korea, Japan, and China began upgrading to the next-generation PON and are offering the blazingly fast broadband products to consumers. South Korea is leading the pack and expects to have the 10 Gbps speed to about 50% of subscribers by the end of 2022. more

Open Access for Apartment Buildings

San Francisco recently passed an interesting ordinance that requires that landlords of apartments and multi-tenant business buildings allow access to multiple ISPs to bring broadband. This ordinance raises all sorts of regulatory and legal questions. At the most recent FCC monthly meeting, the FCC jumped into the fray and voted on language that is intended to kill or weaken the ordinance. more

We Need Public 5G Spectrum

Last October the FCC issued a Notice for Proposed Rulemaking that proposed expanding WiFi into the 6 GHz band of spectrum (5.925 to 7.125 GHz). WiFi has been a huge economic boon to the country, and the FCC recognizes that providing more free public spectrum is a vital piece of the spectrum puzzle. Entrepreneurs have found a myriad of inventive ways to use WiFi that go far beyond what carriers have provided with licensed spectrum. more

Will Broadband Go Wireless?

For years it's been impossible to go to any industry forum without meeting a few folks who predict that residential broadband will go wireless. This buzz has accelerated with the exaggerated claims that fast 5G broadband is right around the corner. I've seen even more talk about this due to a recent Pew poll that shows that the number of people that only use their cellphones for data has climbed significantly over the last few years – I'm going to discuss that poll in another upcoming blog. more

Why 5G Won't Be Here Tomorrow

I just saw another article yesterday written by a major-city newspaper telling the public that 5G is coming in 2020. I hate to see reporters who have accepted the nonsense being peddled by the carriers without digging a little deeper to find the truth. At some point in the near future, the public will finally realize that the 5G talk has mostly been hype. more

Looking at the Correlation Between Broadband Speeds and Unemployment

Economists at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Oklahoma State University conducted a study that correlates broadband speeds to unemployment. They concluded that unemployment rates are 0.26% lower in counties with faster broadband. They further concluded that broadband has a bigger impact on jobs in rural areas than in metropolitan ones. more

Squirrels Are the Number One Culprit for Animal Damage to Aerial Fiber

These cute rodents are the number one culprit for animal damage to aerial fiber. To a lesser degree, fiber owners report similar damage by rats and mice. Squirrels mainly chew on cables as a way to sharpen their teeth. Squirrel teeth grow up to 8 inches per year and if squirrels aren't wearing their teeth down from their diet, they look for other things to chew. more

The Impact of Satellite Broadband

Recently I've had several people ask me about the expected impact of low-orbit satellite broadband. While significant competition from satellites is probably a number of years away, there are several major initiatives like StarLink (Elon Musk), Project Kuiper (Amazon), and OneWeb that have announced plans to launch swarms of satellites to provide broadband. more

Broadband and Food Safety

I recently saw a presentation that showed how food safety is starting to rely on good rural broadband. I've already witnessed many other ways that farmers use broadband like precision farming, herd monitoring, and drone surveillance, but food safety was a new concept for me. The presentation centered around the romaine lettuce scare of a few months ago. The food industry was unable to quickly identify the source of the contaminated produce and the result was a recall of all romaine nationwide. more

Topic Interests

TelecomMobile InternetWirelessBroadbandAccess ProvidersPolicy & RegulationWebNet NeutralityInternet GovernanceBlockchainInternet of ThingsCoronavirusNetworks

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Popular Posts

Squirrels Are the Number One Culprit for Animal Damage to Aerial Fiber

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Happy Birthday Wi-Fi

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