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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 – 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

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

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