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What Does an Administration Change Mean for the FCC?

Just as the last change in administration changed the course of the FCC, so will the swing back to a Democratic administration. If you've been reading me for a few years, you know I am a big believer in the regulatory pendulum. Inevitably, when a regulatory agency like the FCC swings too far in any direction, it's inevitable that it will eventually swing back the other way. more

The Upload Speed Lie

In the 2020 Broadband Deployment Report, the FCC made the following claim. "The vast majority of Americans -- surpassing 85% -- now have access to fixed terrestrial broadband service at 250/25 Mbps". The FCC makes this claim based upon the data provided to it by the country's ISPs on Form 477. We know the data reported by the ISPs is badly flawed in the over-reporting of download speeds. Still, we've paid little attention to the second number. more

Are Cable Companies a Broadband Monopoly?

One of the products my consulting firm offers are statistically valid surveys and conducting surveys has let us get a close look in many communities at the mix between cable broadband and telco DSL. In the last few years, the percentage of DSL subscribers in towns with a good cable company network has plummeted. It's not unusual to see DSL market penetration in bigger towns of 10% or less, meaning in most cases that the cable company has essentially won the competitive battle. more

Is Laser Going to Be the Next Telecoms Frontier?

When I became involved in the telecoms industry back in the late 1970s, we were just seeing fiber optic cables being commercially developed by Corning. Over the following decades, I have been asked many, many times -- do we need fiber cables or wireless technologies, and what is next? During all that time, my answer has been that there was no other communication technology available in any commercial sense that would make either fiber optical or mobile technologies obsolete. more

A New Chinese Broadband Satellite Constellation

In an earlier post, I described three Chinese low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations that seemed to be oriented toward broadband communication... None of those companies seem to be pursuing the global consumer market that SpaceX and OneWeb hope to serve, but a new Chinese company code-named GW seems to plan on doing so. more

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