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Important Developments on Low-Earth Orbit Satellite Internet Service (2017 Review)

The internet is unavailable and/or unaffordable by about 50% of the world's population. The situation is worse in, but not confined to, developing nations where the service is typically sub-standard when it is available.Geostationary satellite connectivity is available globally, but it is slow and expensive because the satellites are high above the Earth. Low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites can deliver speeds comparable to terrestrial links, but constellations of many satellites would be needed to serve the entire planet. more

LeoSat Satellite Internet Project

I've been tracking Greg Wyler and Elon Musk's plans to launch low-Earth orbit satellites to provide Internet connectivity. Musk's SpaceX and Wyler's OneWeb have been joined by a would-be low-Earth connectivity provider, Leosat. Leosat will not be marketing to individual end users but will target government and business - maritime applications, oil and gas exploration and productions, telecom back-haul and trunking, enterprise VSAT, etc. more

The Internet's Obesity Crisis

In 2001, I published a report on website weights and their impacts on website performance. Why you might ask, was I researching website weights all the way back in 2001... At the time, in the United States and many other countries, homes and businesses were in the process of upgrading from dial-up internet connections to broadband connections. Because businesses were on the leading edge of this upgrade, many web teams designed fancy new websites that relied heavily on images and this fancy new technology known as Flash. more

Net Neutrality Not a Serious Issue Outside America

Most countries, don't have to fear internet quality problems in the same way as would be possible in the USA. The US competition watchdog has little power to hold telcos accountable to the nature of their broadband services. Back in 1996 broadband was classified as a content service and not a telecom service. So, for example, if a telco wants to provide preferred access to Google, it can sell them a superior broadband services which could create a two speed internet service... more

It's Time to Move From 'Broadband' to 'Infrastructure'

The success of the internet demonstrates that we now depend on network operators to assure that services like telephony work. The carriers are pushing back on neutrality because their business model is threatened by a level playing field. We should be encouraging innovative internet-native business models rather than working to preserve an industry threatened by innovation. more

"Restoring" Internet Freedom for Whom?

Recently, a colleague in the Bellisario College of Communications asked me who gets a freedom boost from the FCC's upcoming dismantling of network neutrality safeguards. He noted that Chairman Pai made sure that the title of the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is: Restoring Internet Freedom. My colleague wanted to know whose freedom the FCC previously subverted and how removing consumer safeguards promotes freedom. more

Internet Regulation in the Age of Hyper-Giants

As we enter the seventh round of the net neutrality fight, advocates continue to make the same argument they've offered since 2002: infrastructure companies will do massive harm to little guys unless restrained by strict regulation. This idea once made intuitive sense, but it has been bypassed by reality. ... When Tim Wu wrote his first net neutrality paper, the largest telecoms were Verizon, AT&T, and SBC; they stood at numbers 11, 15, and 27 respectively in the Fortune 500 list. more

Net Neutrality: Both Sides Make Some Ridiculous Claims

We've all heard too much about NN, which I've been reporting for 20 years. I support it because I don't want Randall Stephenson of AT&T deciding what I should watch on TV. The long-run effect is negative. The claims from some people who agree with me are ridiculous. "According to former FCC commissioner Michael Copps, ending net neutrality will end the Internet as we know it." Michael knows I respect him, but... more

Telesat, a Fourth Satellite Internet Competitor

I've been following SpaceX, OneWeb and Boeing satellite Internet projects, but have not mentioned Telesat's project. Telesat is a Canadian company that has provided satellite communication service since 1972. (They claim their "predecessors" worked on Telstar, which relayed the first intercontinental transmission, in 1962). Earlier this month, the FCC approved Telesat's petition to provide Internet service in the US using a proposed constellation of 117 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. more

Net Neutrality 101: Why 'Title II' Doesn't Apply to Internet Transmissions

No baby boomers had been born when Congress enacted Title II of the Communications Act in 1934 as a means of regulating the Bell telephone monopoly, and the first Millennials were in elementary school when that monopoly was broken up in 1983. Title II was set to die along with plain old telephone service until the Obama administration decided Title II should be used to implement net neutrality -- the principle that consumers should have reasonable access to internet functionality. more

Will Low-Earth Orbit Satellite Internet Service Providers Succeed?

In 1990, Teledesic was formed to deliver satellite-based Internet service. Cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal were early investors and Boeing was both an investor and the prime contractor. Teledesic hoped to offer global Internet connectivity using a constellation of 840 satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 700 km... Teledesic failed. Twenty seven years later three companies SpaceX, OneWeb and Boeing are trying to do what Teledesic could not do. Will they succeed? more

Cuba's (Hopefully Limited) ADSL Expansion

In 2015, ETECSA announced/leaked a plan to make ADSL service available in 50% of Cuban homes by 2020. I was skeptical. Doing so would mean investing a lot of money for obsolete technology between 2015 and 2020. They have recently announced the availability of ADSL connectivity at homes in portions of seven cities and, by December, they say some home connectivity will be available in every province. more

The Role of the BFR in SpaceX's Satellite Internet Service

SpaceX started with their Falcon 1 booster followed by several versions of the Falcon 9. The Falcon Heavy will fly later this year, and the rocket that will take the first person to Mars is called, for now, the Big F*ing Rocket or BFR. The 150-ton BFR payload will be ten times that of the Falcon 9. It will have an extra landing-guidance engine for reliable reusability and SpaceX also expects to be able to soft-land and reuse the second-stage payload rocket as well as its protective nose cone, substantially reducing cost per launch. more

Inevitability of Global Standards for Non-Terrestrial Spectrum Sharing

Three companies, SpaceX, OneWeb and Boeing have announced ambitious plans to put thousands of Internet-service satellites in non-geostationary low-Earth orbit (NGSO) and other companies like ViaSat and SES are currently operating hundreds of communication satellites in medium-Earth and higher, geostationary orbits. With so many satellites orbiting in different planes and at different altitudes, there are bound to be frequent "inline events"... more

What Does the Future Hold for the Internet?

This is the fundamental question that the Internet Society is posing through the report just launched today, our 2017 Global Internet Report: Paths to Our Digital Future. The report is a window into the diverse views and perspectives of a global community that cares deeply about how the Internet will evolve and impact humanity over the next 5-7 years. We couldn't know what we would find when we embarked on the journey to map what stakeholders believe could shape the future of the Internet... more

News Briefs

New Harvard Study Recognizes Community-Owned Internet Service Providers as Value Leaders in America

ISPs in UK Legally Obliged to Provide High-Speed Broadband Upon Request, Starting 2020

FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules in a 3-to-2 Vote

EFF to FCC: 'Restoring Internet Freedom' Plan Riddled With Technical Errors and Factual Inaccuracies

FCC Plans to Order States Not to Impose Laws Regulating Broadband Service, Senior Officials Revealed

Over 190 Internet Engineers, Pioneers, Technologists File Comments with FCC on Net Neutrality

Google, Facebook Latest to Join Net Neutrality Protest on Wednesday

Chinese Scientists Have Built First Quantum Network With No Danger of Being Decrypted

Net Neutrality Is a Smashing Success by FCC's Preferred Metric, Reports Free Press Researcher

Seattle Restores ISP Privacy Rules. Could be First of Many Cities to Defeat FCC's Privacy Roll Back

Substantial Majority of Americans Say Local Governments Should Be Able to Build Their Own Broadband

Trump Administration Backs Repeal of Broadband Privacy Rules

U.S. Senate Voted to Eliminate Broadband Privacy Rules

San Francisco Supervisor Working on Plan for Citywide High-Speed Internet

FCC Blocks Stricter Broadband Privacy Rules

China Sets Up $14.6 Billion Internet Investment Fund

Trump Expected to Name FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai as Chairman

Outgoing FCC Chairman Warns Republicans Against Overturning Net Neutrality

Alphabet Shuts Down Its Solar-Powered Internet Drone Program

Tom Wheeler Announces Resignation as FCC Chairman

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