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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