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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

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

Gaming and Broadband Demand

Broadband usage has spiked across the US this year as students and employees suddenly found themselves working from home and needing broadband to connect to school and work servers. But there is another quickly growing demand for broadband coming from gaming. We've had online gaming of some sort over the last decade, but gaming has not been a data-intensive activity for ISPs. more

Keeping Track of Satellites

The topic of satellite broadband has been heating up lately. Elon Musk's StarLink now has over 540 broadband satellites in the sky and is talking about starting a few beta tests of the technology with customers. OneWeb went into bankruptcy, but it is being bought out by a team consisting of the British government and Bharti Airtel, the largest cellular company in India. Jeff Bezos has continued to move forward with Project Kuiper, and the FCC recently gave the nod for the company to move ahead. more

The Impact of a Work-at-Home Economy

Analysts at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta looked at the long-term impact of working from home on the economy and ranked different parts of the economy on two factors related to working at home – the likelihood that an area will generate a lot of work-at-home opportunities, and the ability of an area to support a work-at-home economy. more

Time to Stop Talking About Unserved and Underserved

I work with communities all of the time that want to know if they are unserved or underserved by broadband. I've started to tell them to toss away those two terms, which is not a good way to think about broadband today. The first time I remember the use of these two terms was as part of the 2009 grant program created by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009. The language that created those grants included language from Congress that defined the two terms. more

Bandwidth Needed to Work from Home

The pandemic made it clear that the millions of homes with no broadband or poor broadband were cut off from taking the office or the school home. But the pandemic also showed many additional millions of homes that their current ISP connection isn't up to snuff for working or doing schoolwork from home. Families often found that multiple adults and students couldn't share the bandwidth at the same time. more

2020's New Internet Success – Rejoinder

The posting with a similar name seems a bit contrived by anonymous in some strange attempt to enhance its significance. Many others, including myself, have been discussing this subject for some time. Indeed, a concerted lobbying effort and anti-competitive efforts by legacy TCP/IP internet stakeholders have been really ramped up over the past year to mischaracterize what is occurring. more

2020's New Internet Success

Chinese technology policy is now more effective even than their naval posture in the South China Sea, and both are playing out in full sunshine. This success is not about the hardware pillar of Chinese tech policy, though: its focus is the structural approach China and, increasingly, other stakeholders are taking to global Internet Governance... Late in the Year of the Pig just gone, China's offer of a New Internet Protocol was chewed over in senior-level advisory groups of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)... more

Washington's 5G Mania Endpoint – Global CyberBalkanisation

Over the past two years, governments and foreign intelligence agencies around the world have tried to understand the inexplicable, chaotic, irrational, indeed maniacal 5G policies of the Trump Administration. Revelations by former Trump administration officials and most recently Trump's niece confirm that there is no rational basis for Trumpian positions and policies and that the best response is to recognize that Washington is no longer capable of playing a meaningful role... more

5G Carriers Hoping for Handouts

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) published a recent report that looks at "5G policy Principles and 5G Essentials for Global Policymakers." For those who don't know ITI, they are a DC-based lobbying group that represents most of heavy-hitter tech firms, and which works to help shape policy on tax, trade, talent, security, access, and sustainability issues. I don't think I've seen another document that so clearly outlines the hopes of the big US cellular companies. more

Senate Report on 5G: Recipe for Disaster

The Democratic Staff Report Prepared for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate, July 21, 2020, entitled "The New Big Brother," is actually all about 5G technology. The report jumps on the runaway anti-China train chaotically flailing around Washington these days to "out-Trump, Trump." It characterizes 5G technology, longstanding international collaboration, and COVID-19 tracking as all part of a global conspiracy for "digital authoritarianism" run out of Beijing. more

OneWeb Rises From the Ashes – Maybe

A consortium of the UK Government and Bharti Enterprises bought bankrupt OneWeb, a company that had raised $3.2 billion and had acquired valuable spectrum rights, for $1 billion. That is a good start, but a BBC article says experts believe that at least $3 billion is needed to complete the OneWeb constellation. Will they make it?
The UK government will be a source of further funding. OneWeb's primary goal is closing the digital divide by bringing broadband connectivity... more

News Briefs

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

Hong Kong ISPs Oppose Government Plans for Internet Restrictions Without Industry Consultation

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