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The Internet's Gilded Age

The rise of the Internet has heralded rapid changes in our society. The opportunities presented by a capable and ubiquitous communications system and a global transportation network have taken some corporations from the multinational to the status of truly global mega-corporation. Good examples of these new corporations include Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. There are a handful of large-scale winners in this space and many losers. But this is not the first time we've witnessed a period of rapid technological and social change. more

Internet Governance Outlook 2020: The Next Generation of Players and Problems Is Coming

The beginning of a new decade is always an invitation to have a broader look into the future. What, in the next ten years, will happen in the Internet Governance Ecosystem? Will the 2020s see the usual swinging pendulum between more liberal and more restrictive Internet policies in an interconnected world? Or will we move towards a watershed? 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

Chinese technology policy is now more effective even than their naval posture in the South China Sea, and both are playing out in full sunshine. This success is not about the hardware pillar of Chinese tech policy, though: its focus is the structural approach China and, increasingly, other stakeholders are taking to global Internet Governance... Late in the Year of the Pig just gone, China's offer of a New Internet Protocol was chewed over in senior-level advisory groups of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)... more

Senate Report on 5G: Recipe for Disaster

The Democratic Staff Report Prepared for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate, July 21, 2020, entitled "The New Big Brother," is actually all about 5G technology. The report jumps on the runaway anti-China train chaotically flailing around Washington these days to "out-Trump, Trump." It characterizes 5G technology, longstanding international collaboration, and COVID-19 tracking as all part of a global conspiracy for "digital authoritarianism" run out of Beijing. more

Many Libraries Still Have Slow Broadband

During the recent pandemic, many homes came face-to-face with the realization that their home broadband connection is inadequate. Many students trying to finish the school year and people trying to work from home found that their broadband connection would not allow them to connect and maintain connections to school and work servers. Even families who thought they had good broadband found they were unable to maintain multiple connections for these purposes. more

Japan Fueling China's Leap to 5G, but for How Long?

As the U.S. is making it tough for American companies to help China roll out super-fast cellular networks, Japan, a U.S. ally, is fueling China with parts needed to blanket the nation with 5G cellular service. more

Can SpaceX Launch 30,000 Second-Generation Starlink Satellites? Maybe

The bottom line is that success is not guaranteed, but neither is failure -- there is a non-zero probability of success. On May 26th, SpaceX applied for permission to launch 30,000 "second-generation" Starlink broadband Internet satellites. (Note that the software on Starlink satellites is updated about once a week). The application narrative states that the second-generation satellites will be configured... more

SpaceX Launches Another Batch of 60 Starlink Internet Satellites

SpaceX launched its eighth Starlink mission via the Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday, carrying 60 more satellites for its Internet satellite constellation, bringing the total in operation on orbit to 480. more

What is Light-Touch Regulation?

One thing I've noticed recently is that a lot of people are climbing on board the idea of building better broadband to rural America. Many people seem to think that the FCC can somehow act to fix a lot of the shortcomings of rural broadband - but in doing so, they have missed the entire point of what the FCC calls 'light-touch' regulation - because, from a practical perspective, broadband is not regulated at all. more

Is Teleworking Here to Stay?

Broadband networks are stretched thin today due to the large numbers of adults and students working from home. There are many stories on the web that indicate that a lot of employees are not going to be going back to the office when the pandemic is over. Here are two stories about a trend towards more teleworking from the dozens that a Google search uncovered. more

The Upload Crisis

Carriers continue to report on the impact of COVID-19 on their networks. One of the more interesting statistics that caught my eye was when Comcast reported that upload traffic on their network was up 33% since March 1. Comcast joins the rest of big ISPs in saying that their networks are handling the increased traffic volumes. By 'handling' the volumes, they mean that their networks are not crashing and shutting down. But I think there is a whole lot more to these headlines than what they are telling the public. more

The Internet Turbocharged Globalization

Back around the turn of the century, the Internet reduced international communication costs by 99% in just a couple of years. In 1998 phone calls to China and India from the US cost more than $1.00/minute and data communication costs were similarly high. International supply chains were very difficult to set up and costly to manage because of the cost of communication. 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

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