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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

The Case for Making 3G Mobile Internet Access Free in Cuba

Last week ETECSA began offering 3G mobile access to Cuba's national intranet and the global Internet and President Diaz-Canal tweeted the news. His tweet has received 216 comments so far and reading through them, many are effusively positive... Others were critical, noting that the prices are high relative to Cuban incomes (one said "absurd") and the technology is obsolete -- "Congratulations, but they're 20 years late." more

Cuba Rolls Out 3G Mobile Access

After several months of trials, ETECSA announced the availablity of third-generation mobile access to their national intranet and the global Internet in a televised "round table." The prices are quite steep for a typical Cuban and I suspect there would be relatively few subscribers among the 34% of the population that is not yet covered. Furthermore, many users will have to buy new phones to use the service. (There are still 1,084 second-generation mobile base stations in Cuba). more

Rural Home Connectivity in Cuba

Cuba's government monopoly ISP ETECSA in October announced special home connectivity rates for some of the poorest towns in rural Cuba. The monthly charge for 30 hours of 512/256 Kbps DSL access in those towns will be 5 CUC. In other areas where home connectivity is available, the minimum monthly charge is 15 CUC for 30 hours of 1,024/256 kbps service and faster, more expensive, plans are available. more

A Cool Simulation of SpaceX’s Revised Satellite Broadband Plan

On November 15, the FCC approved a revision to the plan for Starlink, SpaceX's forthcoming broadband satellite service. The new plan reduces the number of satellites from 4,525 to 4,409 and lowers the altitude of the phase-1 satellites from 1,100 to 550 km. Mark Handley, a professor at University College London, has created videos based on simulations he ran of both the original and revised phase 1 plans. more