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What Will 2021 Have Install for the ICT Industry?

While 2021 will remain a year with lots of uncertainties, at the same time, we can say that the pandemic has not affected the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in any significant way. Yes, there has been a slowdown, for example, in the sale of smartphones. Shortages in both materials and expertise are slowing fiber deployment, and the recovery over 2021 will be slow and uncertain because of the many lockdowns and travel restrictions. more

Is Starlink the Tesla of Broadband Access? I Have a Chance to Find Out

Starlink is satellite internet access from SpaceX, one of Elon Musk's other companies. If it lives up to its hype, it will cure the problem of broadband availability in rural areas, although affordability will still be an issue. Most satellite-based Internet access sucks (that's a technical term). If based on geostationary satellites (ones you can point a dish at), the distance to the satellite is so great that the round-trip time for data is forever; this problem is called latency. more

Looking Back at the Broadband Industry in 2020

I periodically take a look at broadband trends into the future. But as I was thinking about how unique 2020 was for everybody, I realized that there were some events during the year that we're going to look back on a decade from now as important to the broadband industry. Interestingly, most of these events were not on anybody's radar at the beginning of the year. more

The Legacy of the Pai FCC

As is normal with a change of administration, there are articles in the press discussing the likely legacy of the outgoing administration. Leading the pack in singing his own praises is former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who recently published this document listing a huge list of accomplishments of the FCC under his Chairmanship. Maybe it's just me, but it feels unseemly for a public servant to publish an official self-praise document. more

Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite Internet Service Developments for 2020

I posted reviews of important LEO-satellite Internet service developments during 2017, 2018 and 2019. I've updated those posts during the years and have 18 new posts for 2020. In 2020 we saw increased effort from China, OneWeb's bankruptcy and restructuring with new ownership and prospects, Amazon investng in space-related infrastructure, Telesat making steady progress, SpaceX making rapid progress and satellite and debris tracking and collision-avoidsnce service startups. The following are brief summaries of and links to the 2020 posts. more

Internet Governance and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Part 7: Articles 20-21

Internet Governance, like all governance, needs to be founded on guiding principles from which all policymaking is derived. There are no more fundamental principles to guide policymaking than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This article, Part 7 of a series, looks at Articles 20 and 21 and explores how principles in the UDHR and lessons learned over the last half-century help define the rights and duties of one's engagement in the digital spaces of the Internet ecosystem. more

One More Trump 5G Minefield

As the saying goes, it's not over until it's over. So, it wasn't surprising that Trump's minions just got one last 5G minefield out the door. On 15 January, his followers at Dept. of Commerce's NTIA published the "National Strategy to Secure 5G Implementation Plan". The 40-page document consists of a fairly standard Washington policy playbook of 18 activities with six annexes that "details how the United States along with like-minded countries will lead global development, deployment, and... more

Trump's Parting NTIA 5G Debacle

As Trump's horrific Administration of non-stop debacles and self-serving gambits headed toward the exit over the past few weeks, one last regulatory grab after another has been pushed out the door while the toddler-in-chief rants. Sure enough, the last of the 5G debacles just appeared in the Federal Register courtesy of the President's policy instrument, the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA). It was titled the 5G Challenge Notice of Inquiry. more

SpaceX Starlink Beta and Beyond

SpaceX began public beta testing of the Starlink Internet service late last October. At that time, testing was restricted to locations in the US, near 53 degrees north latitude, where coverage was concentrated. Since then, they have made many software updates based on the beta experience and have expanded the uninterrupted-coverage area by launching new satellites. more

Technology Trends for 2021

The following are the most important current trends that will be affecting the telecom industry in 2021. Fiber Construction Will Continue Fast and Furious in 2021. Carriers of all shapes and sizes are still building fiber. There is a bidding war going on to get the best construction crews and fiber labor rates are rising in some markets. The Supply Chain Still has Issues. The huge demand for building new fiber had already put stress on the supply chain at the beginning of 2020... more

An Open Letter to Big Tech CFOs: Save the Internet Before You're Forced

Dear Chief Financial Officers of tech giants, the internet is in crisis, and you can lead your organization to help solve the problem. You'll be well compensated, and you'll enjoy massive public relations benefits. I fear that if you don't, global governments will force your hand. There is a shortage of available IPv4 addresses but we are years away (possibly a decade or more) from IPv6 viability and adoption in North America. more

The Christmas Goat and IPv6 (Year 11)

This is the fourth year now with almost no snow during the Christmas Goat event here in Sweden, and so once again, you get a photo without any snow. Because of Covid-19 and 99.99% people working for home, I have not even seen the Goat live this year... What a crazy year it has been! more

My Telecom Predictions for 2021

It's that time of the year for me to get out the crystal ball and peer into 2021... The FCC Will Have Egg on its Face from the RDOF Grants. The reverse auction was a disaster in many ways, with a lot of the money going to companies that can't possibly do what they promised or companies that largely intend to make a profit by pocketing a lot of the grants. The FCC will have a chance to rectify some of the problems during the review of the long forms... more

Telesat Update – Proposal for a Larger Constellation, Canadian and DARPA Contracts, IPO and More

I've discussed Telesat's LEO broadband project in earlier posts, but the project has progressed, so an update is needed. The original plan was to launch 117 satellites but that has changed. The phase 1 constellation will now have 298 satellites and the second phase will add 1,373 for a total of 1,671. The revised plan has been submitted to the FCC, and they expect it to be approved next year. more

Video and Broadband Demand

One of the obvious drivers of broadband usage is online video, and a study earlier this year by the Leichtman Research Group provides insight into the continuing role of video growth in broadband usage. The company conducted a nationwide poll in the US looking at how people watch video, and the results show that Americans have embraced online for-pay video services. 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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