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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

Google Global Cache Servers Go Online in Cuba, But App Engine Blocked

Cuban requests for Google services are being routed to GCC servers in Cuba, and all Google services that are available in Cuba are being cached -- not just YouTube. That will cut latency significantly, but Cuban data rates remain painfully slow. My guess is that Cubans will notice the improved performance in interactive applications, but maybe not perceive much of a change when watching a streaming video. more

The Madness of Broadband Speed Tests

The broadband industry has falsely sold its customers on "speed", so unsurprisingly "speed tests" have become an insane and destructive benchmark... marketing departments at ISPs refuse to define what experience that actually intends to deliver (and what is unreasonable to expect), the network engineers are left with a single and simple marketing requirement: "make it better than it was". more

Can Constellations of Internet Routing Satellites Compete With Long-Distance Terrestrial Cables?

Three companies, SpaceX, OneWeb, and Boeing are working on constellations of low-Earth orbiting satellites to provide Internet connectivity. While all three may be thinking of competing with long, terrestrial cables, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said "the goal will be to have the majority of long-distance traffic go over this (satellite) network" at the opening of SpaceX's Seattle office in 2015. Can he pull that off? more

The One Reason Net Neutrality Can't Be Implemented

Suppose for a moment that you are the victim of a wicked ISP that engages in disallowed "throttling" under a "neutral" regime for Internet access. You like to access streaming media from a particular "over the top" service provider. By coincidence, the performance of your favoured application drops at the same time your ISP launches a rival content service of its own. You then complain to the regulator, who investigates... It seems like an open-and-shut case of "throttling" resulting in a disallowed "neutrality violation". Or is it? more

Large BGP Leak by Google Disrupts Internet in Japan

At 03:22 UTC on Friday, 25 August 2017, the Internet experienced the effects of another massive BGP routing leak. This time it was Google who leaked over 160,000 prefixes to Verizon, who in turn accepted these routes and passed them on. Despite the fact that the leak took place in Chicago, Illinois, it had devastating consequences for the internet in Japan, half a world away. Two of Japan's major telecoms (KDDI and NTT's OCN) were severely affected, posting outage notices (KDDI / OCN pictured below). more

Boeing's Satellite Internet Project

I recently posted updates on the satellite Internet service projects of SpaceX and OneWeb. OneWeb and SpaceX have received a lot of publicity, but there is a third entry in the global satellite Internet race -- Boeing. Boeing has applied for a license to launch a constellation of 2,956 Internet-access satellites orbiting at an altitude of 1,200 km. (In a subsequent amendment, the orbits were lowered to three different levels). They outlined a two phase plan... more

Why Farmers Are Using Wifi to Grow Your Grapes

Recently, California farmer Craig Thompson got a pretty nifty upgrade for his irrigation: a broadband-connected Hydrawise control system that would automatically manage and monitor the irrigation of his olive and grape fields and collect data to alert him if there was a problem. He woke up the next morning to fields he could have assumed were appropriately hydrated, but the Hydrawise system quickly proved its worth when he looked at the data coming out of it. more

Support Plug-and-Play with On-Boot Firmware Updates

Have you ever purchased a new electronic device, taken it home, excitedly unwrapped it and switched it on, only to discover that something is wrong and you need to phone customer support? This scenario is all-too-common in the broadband services industry, and unfortunately, it's usually the service provider who takes the blame. New customers will often purchase gateways from third parties or redistributors without knowing that the device's firmware is out of date. more

News Briefs

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

Google Signs Internet Deal With Cuba

Internet Society Urges for Increased Effort to Address Unprecedented Challenges Facing the Internet

Pay TV Loses Record 1.3M Subscriptions So Far This Year

Google Fiber Pauses Operations Until Further Notice

Notorious Russian Ship Yanter Suspected of Cutting Syria's Undersea Internet Cables

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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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