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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