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SpaceX Starlink Is on a Roll

The last two months have seen a flurry of Starlink activity, including the following: Bill Gates has a history of interest in satellite Internet and in September, Microsoft announced their Azure Obrital ground station service, which enables satellite access to its Azure cloud services. SES, Viasat, and Intelsat were announced as initial partners and SpaceX just signed up. Starlink+Azure Orbital will compete with Amazon's satellite constellation and its ground-station service... more

The Magnitude of the Urban Digital Divide

The web is full of stories of rural areas with no broadband options, and I've spent a lot of time in the last few decades helping rural areas get better broadband. There has not been nearly as much coverage of the huge broadband gap in urban areas. There are a lot of urban homes that can't afford broadband and, in many cases, got bypassed when the telcos and/or cable companies built their networks. more

The Race to Bury Net Neutrality

The Internet is currently full of news articles describing how the FCC will soon be putting to bed the last vestiges of its order a few years ago to eliminate net neutrality rules. The order that is widely being called the net neutrality ruling was a far-reaching change at the FCC that essentially wrote the FCC out of any role in regulating broadband. more

Who Should Solve the Digital Divide?

Adjit Walia, a Global Technology Strategist at Deutsche Bank, suggested in a recent paper that it's in the best interest of U.S. tech companies to tackle the digital divide. He says that those companies rely on a computer-literate public and workforce and that they ought to take a small sliver of their earnings and invest in students today before they fall on the wrong side of the digital divide. more

Smart Cities Want to Co-Design Change With Telcos

With 5G earmarked as a game-changer for cities, wireless technologies are already widely deployed by leading smart cities, including those here in Australia. However, cities do not want to be locked into proprietary technology solutions, rather seeing themselves as a platform on which many organisations can build infrastructure, applications, and services to benefit all citizens and all local businesses. more

Are Cable Companies a Broadband Monopoly?

One of the products my consulting firm offers are statistically valid surveys and conducting surveys has let us get a close look in many communities at the mix between cable broadband and telco DSL. In the last few years, the percentage of DSL subscribers in towns with a good cable company network has plummeted. It's not unusual to see DSL market penetration in bigger towns of 10% or less, meaning in most cases that the cable company has essentially won the competitive battle. more

Is Laser Going to Be the Next Telecoms Frontier?

When I became involved in the telecoms industry back in the late 1970s, we were just seeing fiber optic cables being commercially developed by Corning. Over the following decades, I have been asked many, many times -- do we need fiber cables or wireless technologies, and what is next? During all that time, my answer has been that there was no other communication technology available in any commercial sense that would make either fiber optical or mobile technologies obsolete. more

A New Chinese Broadband Satellite Constellation

In an earlier post, I described three Chinese low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations that seemed to be oriented toward broadband communication... None of those companies seem to be pursuing the global consumer market that SpaceX and OneWeb hope to serve, but a new Chinese company code-named GW seems to plan on doing so. more

5G/F5G Cloud Announcements: NFV Game-Changing Confirmations

Over the past few days, Microsoft made two major announcements. One was a "playbook [for] providing a carrier-grade platform for edge and cloud computing to help network operators realize the full potential of 5G technology" using its it Azure cloud data centres. The second announcement was a new platform that enables satellite-based access to those same cloud data centres designated Azure Orbital. Coupled with these announcements was another one by Samsung... more

What Became of the ARCOS Undersea Cable Connection to Cuba?

Cuba's primary connection to the global Internet is through the ALBA-1 undersea cable linking landing points on the south-east shore of the island to Venezuela and Jamaica; however, the bulk of Cuban traffic originates in Havana which is on the north-west coast. Traffic from Havana and other cities in the west travels over a backbone to reach the cable landing points. A landing point near Havana would reduce the load on the backbone... more

Loving to Hate Our Big ISPs

The American Customer Satisfaction Survey (ACSI) was released earlier this summer that ranks hundreds of companies that provide services for consumers. Historically cable companies and ISPs have fared poorly in these rankings compared to other businesses in the country. The running joke reported in numerous articles about this survey is that people like the IRS more than they like their cable company (and that is still true this year). more

The Reverse Donut

A lot of rural areas are going to get fiber over the next five years. This is due to the various large federal grant programs like ReConnect and RDOF. New rural broadband is also coming from the numerous electric cooperatives that have decided to build broadband in the areas where they serve rural electric customers. This is all great news because once a rural area has fiber it ought to be ready for the rest of this century. more

Bill Gates Has Not Forgotten Teledesic – Might We See Another Broadband LEO Constellation?

Teledesic was the first company to plan to offer broadband connectivity using a constellation of low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites. Craig McCaw, who had sold McCaw Cellular to AT&T, founded Teledesic in 1990 and it got a big visibility and credibility boost when Bill Gates made a small ($5 million) investment in the company. McCaw and Gates were able to attract capital - $200 million from a Saudi Prince, $750 million from Motorola, and $100 million from Boeing, which signed on as the prime contractor.  more

A New Fiber Optic Speed Record

Researchers at University College London (UCL) have set a new bandwidth record for fiber optic bandwidth transmission. They've been able to communicate through a fiber optic cable at over 178 terabits per second, or 178,000 gigabits per second. The research was done in collaboration with fiber optic firms Xtera and KDDI Research. The press release of the achieved speed claims this is 20% faster than the previously highest achieved speed. more

Is Telemedicine Here to Stay?

It's going to be interesting to see if telemedicine stays after the end of the pandemic. In the past months, telemedicine visits have skyrocketed. During March and April, telemedicine billings were almost $4 billion, compared to only $60 million for the same months a year earlier. As soon as Medicare and other insurance plans agreed to cover telemedicine, a lot of doctors insisted on remote visits during the first few months of the pandemic. more

News Briefs

SpaceX Gets FCC’s Approval to Bid in a Federal Auction for Rural-Broadband Funding

New Digital Services Act Should Not Disrupt Internet's Technical Operations, Warn RIPE NCC, CENTR

The Defense Department Opening Large Areas of Mid-Band Spectrum to Help US Compete With China in 5G

Google to Invest $10 Billion in India to Help Accelerate Its Digital Economy

Alphabet's Loon Goes Live With Its Commercial Internet Service in Kenya

Japan Fueling China's Leap to 5G, but for How Long?

FCC Doubts LEO Satellite Broadband Services Like SpaceX's Starlink Can Meet Latency Requirements

SpaceX Launches Another Batch of 60 Starlink Internet Satellites

FCC Grants ISPs Temporary Access to Wireless Spectrum to Help Handle Demand During Pandemic

BT Removes Broadband Caps, Offers Unlimited Data to Customers Amid COVID-19 Crisis

EU Commissioner Calls on Streaming Services to Switch Streaming Videos From HD to Standard Mode

Broadband Companies Take Connectivity Pledge Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Red Sea Region Suffers From Multi-Day Internet Outage Following an Undersea Cable Cut

New York City Releases Internet Master Plan For City's Broadband Future

Russia Says It Has Successfully Tested a Country-Wide Alternative to the Global Internet

Fiber Infrastructure in China Has Grown Nine Times Faster Than in the U.S. Since 2013

Iran Almost Completely Shuts Off Internet Access Across the Country Amid Protests Over Fuel Prices

EFF: For ISPs to Retain Power to Censor the Internet, DNS Needs to Remain Leaky

China to Require Face Scan for Internet Access and New Phone Numbers Starting December

US Court Upholds FCC's Net Neutrality Repeal But Says States Can't Be Barred from Passing Own Rules

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