Broadband

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Latecomer Amazon Will Be a Formidable Satellite ISP Competitor

In spite of being a latecomer to the race to deploy a constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) broadband Internet satellites, Amazon's Project Kuiper will be a formidable competitor. SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat already have test satellites in orbit, but Amazon has several strategic advantages. For a start, each of the LEO broadband competitors plans to end the digital divide by providing global connectivity to end-users and small organizations in underserved areas... more

We Need Public 5G Spectrum

Last October the FCC issued a Notice for Proposed Rulemaking that proposed expanding WiFi into the 6 GHz band of spectrum (5.925 to 7.125 GHz). WiFi has been a huge economic boon to the country, and the FCC recognizes that providing more free public spectrum is a vital piece of the spectrum puzzle. Entrepreneurs have found a myriad of inventive ways to use WiFi that go far beyond what carriers have provided with licensed spectrum. more

Will Broadband Go Wireless?

For years it's been impossible to go to any industry forum without meeting a few folks who predict that residential broadband will go wireless. This buzz has accelerated with the exaggerated claims that fast 5G broadband is right around the corner. I've seen even more talk about this due to a recent Pew poll that shows that the number of people that only use their cellphones for data has climbed significantly over the last few years – I'm going to discuss that poll in another upcoming blog. more

How the Internet Can Be Enormously Accelerated Without Fiber-Optic Cables or LEO Satellites

We got used to it: if we open a website, it's always like stop and go on a high-traffic highway or city traffic jam. At some point, we will reach the destination. The constant stalling is due to a traffic rule for the Internet called TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). The TCP/IP protocol family comes from the American defense industry. It was introduced by DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) in the early 1970s. At that time, no one had the Internet as the need of the masses on the screen. more

Looking at the Correlation Between Broadband Speeds and Unemployment

Economists at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Oklahoma State University conducted a study that correlates broadband speeds to unemployment. They concluded that unemployment rates are 0.26% lower in counties with faster broadband. They further concluded that broadband has a bigger impact on jobs in rural areas than in metropolitan ones. more

Amazon's AWS Ground Station Service Is Now Available

Amazon announced that they would be providing satellite ground station service last year and Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web services, announced its availability in the video at the end of this post. AWS Ground Station is a fully managed, ready-to-go ground station service... This sounds like a compelling case, especially for a small operator or startup, but I don't know how the prices compare to existing services or building proprietary ground stations. more

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

Squirrels Are the Number One Culprit for Animal Damage to Aerial Fiber

These cute rodents are the number one culprit for animal damage to aerial fiber. To a lesser degree, fiber owners report similar damage by rats and mice. Squirrels mainly chew on cables as a way to sharpen their teeth. Squirrel teeth grow up to 8 inches per year and if squirrels aren't wearing their teeth down from their diet, they look for other things to chew. 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

Does China’s Digital Silk Road to Latin America and the Caribbean Run Through Cuba?

China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious, long-term, global investment and development program. It was launched in 2013 with a focus on infrastructure -- roads, railroads, pipelines, undersea cables and ports. Since then China has invested $80 billion and signed 173 BRI agreements with 125 countries and 29 international organizations. 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

Broadband and Food Safety

I recently saw a presentation that showed how food safety is starting to rely on good rural broadband. I've already witnessed many other ways that farmers use broadband like precision farming, herd monitoring, and drone surveillance, but food safety was a new concept for me. The presentation centered around the romaine lettuce scare of a few months ago. The food industry was unable to quickly identify the source of the contaminated produce and the result was a recall of all romaine nationwide. 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

News Briefs

Google Announces a New Private Subsea Cable Connecting Africa With Europe

Loon Balloons Restore Internet After a Massive Earthquake Strikes Remote Parts of Peru

Critics Say FCC's New Report Declaring US Broadband Healthier Than Ever is Based on Flawed Data

SpaceX Succeeds in Launching Its First Full Batch of Starlink Internet Satellites

American Households Estimated to Save Over $30 Billion a Year on Broadband With LEO Satellites

World's Growing Refugee Population Requires Access to Broadband to Mitigate Problems, Says Report

Trump Administration Announces Its Big 5G Push: Largest-Ever Spectrum Auction and a 20.4B Fund

US House of Representatives Pass a Bill to Restore Net Neutrality Rules Repealed by Trump's FCC

Close to Half of America Not Using the Internet at Broadband Speeds, Says Microsoft

Article Expresses Concern That Google and Other Tech Giants are Quietly Buying Up Undersea Cables

Amazon Joins the Race to Offer Broadband Access from Orbit, Uncovered Filings Show

Facebook Enters Wholesale Fiber Business, Plans to Sell Unused Capacity on New Fiber Routes

High-Speed Fibre Makes Up One-Quarter of Fixed Broadband Internet Connections in OECD Countries

Microsoft’s New Study Reports Over 162 Million in US Lack Broadband, FCC Says Only 24.7 Million

SpaceX Wins FCC Approval to Deploy 7,518 Satellites for Broadband Communications

New Analysis by Web Foundation Shows Dramatic Decline in Internet Access Growth

Entire Broadband Industry Sues California Over New Net Neutrality Law

Internet Society Partnering With Facebook to Develop Internet Exchange Points Throughout Africa

For the First Time in Recent Internet History a Subsea Cable Across South Atlantic Activated

Alphabet's Loon Balloons Can Now Cover 1000km of Internet Connectivity via 1 Access Point

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WiMAX vs. WiFi

Introductory Remarks from Innovation '08

WiMAX vs. LTE

Three Undersea Cables Cuts Cause Significant Disruption in Europe and Asia

Verizon Mandates IPv6 Support for Next-Gen Cell Phones

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