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A New U.S. National Broadband Plan?

United States Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass) introduced a bill that would require that the FCC create a new National Broadband Plan by July 2021. This plan would lay out the national goals needed for broadband going forward and also provide an update on how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted Internet access. I am not a big fan of the concept of a national plan for many reasons. more

The Costs of Trump's 5G Wall

Over the past three years, Trump and his followers around Washington have begun to erect the equivalent of his Southern Border Wall around the nation's information network infrastructure - especially for 5G. The tactics are similar - keep out foreign invaders who are virtually sneaking across the borders to steal the nation's information resources and controlling our internet things. The tactics and mantras are almost identical. more

CircleID Launches the First in a Series of Community Dialogues on COVID-19 and the Internet

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the rapid migration of the world's workforce and consumer services to virtual spaces, has amplified the Internet governance and policy issues including infrastructure, access, exponential instances of fraud and abuse, global cooperation and data privacy, to name but a few. The need for practical, scalable and efficient solutions has risen dramatically. more

Public and Private Infrastructure Investment Alternatives

Eric Yuan, CEO of the Zoom teleconferencing service, stated that the average number of daily meeting recipients increased from 10 million in December 2019 to 200 million in March 2020 in a webinar last month. I've been teaching 21 students using Zoom as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the audio and video are smooth, and switching between speakers is seamless. Offhand, I cannot think of any technology that has scaled so well so fast. more

Is Teleworking Here to Stay?

Broadband networks are stretched thin today due to the large numbers of adults and students working from home. There are many stories on the web that indicate that a lot of employees are not going to be going back to the office when the pandemic is over. Here are two stories about a trend towards more teleworking from the dozens that a Google search uncovered. more

The Upload Crisis

Carriers continue to report on the impact of COVID-19 on their networks. One of the more interesting statistics that caught my eye was when Comcast reported that upload traffic on their network was up 33% since March 1. Comcast joins the rest of big ISPs in saying that their networks are handling the increased traffic volumes. By 'handling' the volumes, they mean that their networks are not crashing and shutting down. But I think there is a whole lot more to these headlines than what they are telling the public. more

The Internet Turbocharged Globalization

Back around the turn of the century, the Internet reduced international communication costs by 99% in just a couple of years. In 1998 phone calls to China and India from the US cost more than $1.00/minute and data communication costs were similarly high. International supply chains were very difficult to set up and costly to manage because of the cost of communication. more

The Resurgence of Voice

One of the most interesting outcomes of the COVID-19 crisis has been a huge resurgence of telephone calls. While broadband usage is up 40% or more in some markets, the volumes of traditional voice calls have skyrocketed. Verizon says it's now seeing an average of 800 million calls per day, which is double the number of calls made on the last Mother's Day. Verizon also says the average length of calls has increased by one-third over recent averages. more

SpaceX Applies for a Constellation Re-Design and Announces Beta Test Dates

This week SpaceX petitioned the FCC to reconfigure their Starlink constellation and Elon Musk outlined their beta testing plan. As shown below, the most significant configuration change is reducing the altitude of four of the five groups of orbital planes by around 50%. The total number of satellites and the number orbiting at a 53-degree inclination, which gives good coverage over relatively affluent regions, are not changed very much. more

A Bad Year for the Cable Industry

The traditional cable TV industry had a miserable 2019. Collectively the biggest cable TV providers in U.S. lost over 5.9 million subscribers during the year, almost 7% of the total customer base. The impacts of COVID-19, along with the already existing trends in the industry, spell bad news for the industry in 2020. I expect that customer losses will accelerate over 2019 levels. more