Broadband / Featured Blogs

The 500M Wireless-Only Connections

Around 500M Africans, Indonesians, and Indians are regular Internet users without a landline. Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico add about 200M more. In total, something like 1B people were wireless-only at the end of Q3 2017. I'm comparing the number of Facebook users (over 250M in India) with the number of landlines (less than 20M in India) for a rough guess at how many are wireless only. In the developed world, 70-90% of all homes have a landline connection... more

The Color of the Net Has Changed

About 65% of 1.5B Internet "connections" are in the Global South, led by the BRICS. The actual number of users is probably twice that. Three quarters are not native English speakers. China has three times as many as the United States. India has more Facebook users than the United States. Vietnam has the fastest growth. See some figures below for why I'm confident Indonesia has more than 100M wireless only. more

Today's Internet: More BRICS Than Westerners

Something over 55% of landline broadband users are in the "Global South," about 500M. The South is about 65% if you include "wireless-only" many of which are 4G LTE at ten megabits or more. The gap is widening rapidly and will increase by well over 70M in 2018. Six large developing countries are growing 5% or more in the last year, compared to only one in the developed world. China is adding ~30M more each year. Most developed countries are between 75% and 95% connected. That leaves little room for growth. more

A 5G Community Network Strategy for Cuba (and Other Developing Nations)

In a previous post, I suggested that Cuba might be able to leap over 4G to 5G wireless infrastructure using satellite and terrestrial networks for backhaul. While that would require political and policy change, it would be a good fit with Cuban culture and skills. Before talking about Cuba, let me say a bit about wireless generations. Each mobile technology generation used new technology and enabled new applications. more

Connectivity as a Vital Consumer Service

Having Comcast et al provide Internet connectivity is like having your barber do surgery because he knows how to use a knife. I was reminded of this when my Comcast connection failed. This is part of the larger topic of consumerization. In the past, we were happy to have products that worked at all. I grew up in the world of consumer products and got my start in software building online services meant for use by non-experts. more

Cuba's Mobile-Internet Strategy?

This post is speculative, but I think Cuba may use satellite for 3G backhaul and, when the technologies are ready, leapfrog over 4G to 5G mobile connectivity and next-generation satellite. ETECSA began rolling out 3G connectivity for Cubans about a year ago and a few things have led me to believe they will continue... But, could they provide widespread 3G mobile? Doing so would require more base stations and more backhaul from those base stations to the Intenet. more

O3b Satellite Internet - Today and Tomorrow

I have written a lot about the potential of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites for Internet service, but have not said much about medium-Earth orbit (MEO) satellites - until now. O3b (other three billion) is an MEO-satellite Internet service provider. Greg Wyler founded the company, and it was subsequently acquired by SES, a major geostationary-orbit (GSO) satellite company. (Wyler moved on to found future LEO Internet service provider OneWeb). more

Cuban Satellite Connectivity - Today and (Maybe) Tomorrow

In January of 2017, Doug Madory of Dyn Research reported on Cuban traffic, noting that C&W's share had increased. Later in December Madory reported that ETECSA had activated a new internet transit provider, medium-Earth orbit (MEO) satellite-connectivity provider O3b Networks (Other 3 billion), replacing geostationary satellite provider Intelsat. (They have also added Telecom Italia, which, until 2011, owned 11% of ETECSA, but I will save that for another post). more

SpaceX Starlink and Cuba - A Match Made in Low-Earth Orbit?

I've suggested that Cuba could use geostationary-orbit (GSO) satellite Internet service as a stopgap measure until they could afford to leapfrog over today's technology to next-generation infrastructure. They did not pick up on that stopgap suggestion, but how about low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite Internet service as a next-generation solution? SpaceX, OneWeb, Boeing and others are working on LEO satellite Internet projects. more

Who Will Crack Cloud Application Access SLAs?

The broadband industry doesn't have an agreed-upon unit of supply and demand that meaningfully "adds up". This is rather odd for a service that aspires to be a utility. It is also a barrier to a much-needed transformation from "bit pipes" to "digital supply chain management". The chart here ought to be in every basic undergraduate textbook on packet networking and distributed computing. That it is absent says much about our technical maturity level as an industry. more