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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

Are Inter-Satellite Laser Links a Bug or a Feature of ISP Constellations?

I hope each of these companies has someone in charge of thinking about what might go wrong with a single, satellite-based network providing fast, low-cost links anywhere on the global Internet. OneWeb, SpaceX, Telesat and Leosat all aspire to be global Internet service providers using constellations of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Their success will require still-unproven technological innovation, but there are also political stumbling blocks. more

Google and ETECSA Will Agree to Exchange Internet Traffic Without Charge

Google and ETECSA have signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to negotiate a peering agreement that would allow cost-free data exchange between their networks once an undersea cable physically connects them. Google has worked hard to establish a relationship with ETECSA and the Cuban government. In recent years, Cuba, not the US, has limited the Cuban Internet. This agreement telegraphs a change in Cuban policy. more

SpaceX's Starlink Internet Service Will Target End Users on Day One

Starting with Teledesic in 1990, would-be Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations have been justified to the FCC, other regulators, and the public as a means of closing the digital divide. Teledesic's goal was "providing affordable access to advanced network connections to all those parts of the world that will never get such advanced capabilities through existing technologies." Today's low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite companies make the same claim, but Telesat, OneWeb and Leosat seem to be targeting commercial markets first. more

Google Baloons and Telesat Satellites

Telesat will use Google's network operating system. Telesat is making progress. Within the last month, they announced a launch contract with Blue Origin, a successful antenna test with Ball Aerospace and completion of system requirements reviews, but perhaps more interesting is an agreement to use the software defined network (SDN) platform Google has developed for their Project Loon. more

Electronically Steerable, Flat-Panel Antennas for Satellite and Terrestrial Connectivity

What will the cost and capability of these antennas be in ten or twenty years? What would be the applications and implications of ubiquitous wireless networks? You might have some short-term guesses, like smart cities, but farther out it's science fiction -- Gaia, the Noosphere, 1984? ... Three companies, OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat, plan to provide global, low-latency broadband Internet service using constellations of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. more

Simulation of OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat's Proposed Global Broadband Constellations

Inigo del Portillo and his colleagues at MIT have run a simulation comparing OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat's proposed low-Earth orbit Internet service constellations. The models are based on the initial FCC filings by the companies and demand and data-rate estimates by the authors. I will mention subsequent amendments to the filings below later in the post. more

Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite Internet Service Developments for 2018

At the end of 2017, I posted a review of important LEO-satellite Internet service developments. I've been updating those posts during the year and have also added the following new posts in 2018. ... SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat are planning to offer Internet-service from LEO, but O3b is already providing connectivity to relatively large customers like mobile phone companies, government organizations, and cruise ship lines using a constellation of medium-Earth orbit (MEO) satellites.  more

OneWeb’s Offer to Sell a Share of Their Satellite Internet Service to Russia

OneWeb has a contract to launch Internet-service satellites on Russian-made Soyuz rockets and has a joint venture with Gonets, a Russian satellite operator, as a marketing partner in Russia. However, the Russian government has expressed concerns about security, dragged their feet on spectrum allocation and complained about US sanctions. This led OneWeb to make two concessions. more

Lessons from the O2 Network Outage: The Real Cost of Manual Processes

More than 30 million people lost their data connectivity on December 6, 2018, in the United Kingdom as O2's network suffered from a nationwide service outage. Based on several reports, the incident was caused by a human error at Ericsson, the telecoms supplier responsible for operating certain parts of the O2 network. To compensate for the downtime and tarnished reputation, the O2 management is now reportedly seeking damages of up to a hundred million pounds from Ericsson. more