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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

Inter-Satellite Laser Link Update

Inter-satellite laser links (ISLLs) and electronically steerable flat panel antennas are critical technologies for constellations of low-Earth orbit (LEO) Internet-service satellites. Low-cost antennas are critical for the mass consumer market, and ISLLs are required for an effective Internet backbone in space. In an earlier post, we saw that progress is being made on antennas; this one looks at ISLLs. more

Questions Raised by the Takeover of SNET, Havana’s Community Network

Last May, Cuba's Ministry of Communication (MINCOM) announced resolutions 98 and 99 limiting wireles stransmission power and outdoor cables that made community networks like Havana's SNET, illegal. Since SNET was the world's largest community network that did not have Internet access, implementation of the resolutions was postponed for 60 days for negotiations between SNET administrators and MINCOM. 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

An Optimistic Update From Telesat

Emily Jackson interviewed Dan Goldberg, Telesat President and CEO, in a recent episode of the Down to Business podcast. The interview followed the announcement that the Canadian Government would contribute $85 million (all amounts are in Canadian dollars) to support research and development in support of Telesat's planned constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites and another $600 million to subsidize Internet connectivity in rural Canada. 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

In the 5G Era, at Least 20 Million U.S. Homes Will Rely on Wireless for Broadband

There now can be no doubt that fixed wireless, mostly 5G, will be a viable business in the right locations. Today's wireless has enormous capacity, enough to supply the broadband needs of a significant population. It's better than most DSL and a workable alternative to cable in many locations. Traffic demand is falling, with Cisco predicting the U.S. will fall to 31% growth in 2021. more

Cuba Claims New Regulations Expand Internet Access to Homes and Businesses, But Here's the Downside

New Cuban regulations regarding private WiFi networks went into effect yesterday, and the New York Times and others proclaimed that "Cuba expands Internet access to private homes and businesses." Yes, Cubans can legally import and install WiFi routers in their homes, small cafes, B&Bs, etc., but these regulations will make little difference in Internet access. 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

Latecomer Amazon Will Be a Formidable Satellite ISP Competitor

In spite of being a latecomer to the race to deploy a constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) broadband Internet satellites, Amazon's Project Kuiper will be a formidable competitor. SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat already have test satellites in orbit, but Amazon has several strategic advantages. For a start, each of the LEO broadband competitors plans to end the digital divide by providing global connectivity to end-users and small organizations in underserved areas... 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

Amazon's AWS Ground Station Service Is Now Available

Amazon announced that they would be providing satellite ground station service last year and Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web services, announced its availability in the video at the end of this post. AWS Ground Station is a fully managed, ready-to-go ground station service... This sounds like a compelling case, especially for a small operator or startup, but I don't know how the prices compare to existing services or building proprietary ground stations. more

Havana Can Have 5G Before Miami

Compared to Miami, Havana is an Internet desert, but Havana may have 5G wireless connectivity before Miami. 5G architecture, US politics and policy, and the 5G timetable favor Havana. Let's start with 5G architecture. 5G will require many "small cells" because it uses high-frequency radio signals that don't travel as far as 4G signals and are more easily blocked by obstructions like trees and buildings. more

News Briefs

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

OneWeb Fails in Latest Attempt to Get Russian Approval for Its Worldwide Internet Coverage Plan

Telesat and the Government of Canada Join Forces to Tackle Canada's Digital Divide

Other Countries Beginning to Adopt China's Unique Approach to an Isolated Internet Structure

Google Announces a New Private Subsea Cable Connecting Africa With Europe

Greece Announces Plans to Install Free Public Wi-Fi Nationwide

Domestic Internet of Russia, Iran Far Deeper Kind of Fragmentation, More Physical Than Seen Before

Loon Balloons Restore Internet After a Massive Earthquake Strikes Remote Parts of Peru

Critics Say FCC's New Report Declaring US Broadband Healthier Than Ever is Based on Flawed Data

SpaceX Succeeds in Launching Its First Full Batch of Starlink Internet Satellites

NGOs, Academics Warn Against EU’s Deep Packet Inspection Problem, at Least 186 ISPs Breaking Rules

American Households Estimated to Save Over $30 Billion a Year on Broadband With LEO Satellites

Vladimir Putin Signs 'Sovereign Internet' Law to Further Tighten Government Control of the Internet

World's Growing Refugee Population Requires Access to Broadband to Mitigate Problems, Says Report

FCC to Block China Mobile From Gaining Access to the U.S. Market

Russian Lawmakers Pass Bill to Expand Government Control Over Internet, Protests Expected to Ensue

US House of Representatives Pass a Bill to Restore Net Neutrality Rules Repealed by Trump's FCC

Close to Half of America Not Using the Internet at Broadband Speeds, Says Microsoft

Article Expresses Concern That Google and Other Tech Giants are Quietly Buying Up Undersea Cables

Amazon Joins the Race to Offer Broadband Access from Orbit, Uncovered Filings Show

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