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Cuba's New WiFi Regulations – Good, Bad or Meh?

Soon after ETECSA began rolling out WiFi hotspots for Internet access, people began linking to them from homes and community street nets. These connections and importing the WiFi equipment they used were illegal, but generally tolerated as long as they remained apolitical and avoided pornography. Regulations passed last month legalized some of this activity in a bid to boost connectivity by allowing Internet access from homes and small private businesses like restaurants and vacation rentals that are located close enough to a hotspot to establish a WiFi connection. more

Hongyun Project - China's Low-Earth Orbit Broadband Internet Project

Last December, State-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) launched the first experimental Hongyun (rainbow cloud) Project satellite, and they began testing it in March. The 247 kg test satellite is in orbit at an altitude of around 1,100 km, and they plan to launch four more test satellites this year and begin operating with a 156-satellite constellation in 2022. more

Economics and Common Sense Deprecates the Common Argument for Lower Spectrum Prices

Outside of China, very few governments would expect a saving in spectrum costs would mostly go to investment. Corporations have other priorities, including advertising and executive salaries. Stockholders come above everything at most companies. Rarely would even 1/3rd of the saving go to capital spending. The U.S. under Trump had a massive tax cut, worth literally billions to Verizon and AT&T. Verizon actually cut investment. AT&T's increase in capex was far lower than the tax saving. more

The Impact of Satellite Broadband

Recently I've had several people ask me about the expected impact of low-orbit satellite broadband. While significant competition from satellites is probably a number of years away, there are several major initiatives like StarLink (Elon Musk), Project Kuiper (Amazon), and OneWeb that have announced plans to launch swarms of satellites to provide broadband. more

Might Satellite Constellations Learn to Avoid Debris?

The European Space Agency (ESA) reported that as of January 2019 there were about 5,000 satellites in space and 1,950 of them are still functioning. Hopefully, those functioning satellites have fuel and thrusters that will enable them to de-orbit and (mostly) burn up in the atmosphere when their useful life is finished. The remaining 3,050 are slowly drifting, along with a lot of debris. The ESA estimates that there have been over 500 break-ups, explosions, collisions, or anomalous events... more

SpaceX Reports Significant Broadband Satellite Progress

SpaceX delayed last Wednesdays Starlink launch due to high winds and on Thursday they decided to do a software update and postpone the launch until next week, but they revealed significant progress in their Starlink mission press release and in tweets by and a media call with Elon Musk. The mission press release said SpaceX has significantly reduced the size and weight of their satellites. more

Satellite Internet Service Progress by SpaceX and Telesat

This has been a busy week in the race to deploy constellations of low-earth orbit (LEO) Internet-service satellites. In their quarterly report, Telesat mentioned progress in two, disparate markets. As I noted earlier, they have signed their first LEO customer - Omniaccess a provider of connectivity to the superyacht market. more

Amazon's Orbiting Infrastructure

I have been following satellite Internet service since the 1990s, but I was surprised when I learned last week that Amazon had filed an application for a 3,236-satellite constellation of low-earth orbit Internet service satellites - Project Kuiper. I shouldn't have been surprised - Amazon was an infrastructure company from the start. In his first post-IPO letter to shareholders in 1997, Jeff Bezos pointed out that their distribution center capacity grew from 50,000 to 285,000 square feet and said their goal remained... more

Are Inter-Satellite Laser Links a Bug or a Feature of ISP Constellations?

I hope each of these companies has someone in charge of thinking about what might go wrong with a single, satellite-based network providing fast, low-cost links anywhere on the global Internet. OneWeb, SpaceX, Telesat and Leosat all aspire to be global Internet service providers using constellations of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Their success will require still-unproven technological innovation, but there are also political stumbling blocks. more

Google and ETECSA Will Agree to Exchange Internet Traffic Without Charge

Google and ETECSA have signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to negotiate a peering agreement that would allow cost-free data exchange between their networks once an undersea cable physically connects them. Google has worked hard to establish a relationship with ETECSA and the Cuban government. In recent years, Cuba, not the US, has limited the Cuban Internet. This agreement telegraphs a change in Cuban policy. more