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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

What to Expect From SpaceX Starlink Broadband Service Next Year and Beyond

Last May, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted "6 more launches of 60 sats needed for minor coverage, 12 for moderate" and SpaceX President and CEO Gwynne Shotwell recently said they planned to be offering service in parts of the US in mid-2020, which would require six to eight 60-satellite launches. The first of those launches will be in the middle of this month on a thrice-flown Falcon 9 booster. (They will also need customer terminals and Elon Musk has used a prototype to post a tweet from his home). 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

Gartner Says SDN Has Left the Building – Say Hello to Network Automation

In their annual hype cycle on on network technologies, Gartner lists the emerging technologies and an estimate of the timeframe in which they will reach the plateau of productivity. The latest hype cycle on enterprise networking labels Software-Defined Networks (SDN) as an obsolete technology. So on the surface, it would appear that SDN is now semi-officially dead. While most natural scientists accept the Darwinian theories, the technology industry has traditionally been trying to defy evolution. 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

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

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