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Macquarie Group Is Set to Shake Up the Digital Infrastructure Market

A few months ago, I reported on the broader market of which telecommunications infrastructure is a part. I mentioned data centers, cloud computing and data analytics (big data). All together, we can perhaps best call this digital infrastructure. While the importance of this merged set of infrastructures will benefit all economies and societies, I recently focused on regional developments as basically every region and every mid-size town will need to have a digital hub for local computing workloads and storage. more

SpaceX Starlink Is Coming to Low-Income Nations

Beta testers in the US and Canada paid $500 for a terminal and are paying $99 per month for the service. The beta tests began in high-income countries, but SpaceX is beginning to roll Starlink out and will include low-income nations, for example, India. Last September, SpaceX responded to a request for consultation on a roadmap to promote broadband connectivity and enhanced broadband speed from TRAI, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India. more

ECFiber: Building a Fiber-to-Premises Network in the Rural United States

Nestled in the northeastern part of the United States is the small state of Vermont, the 14th State to join the United States in 1789. Its name comes from the French, in which 'vert montagne' means 'green mountain.' and it is known as the Green Mountain state. With only about 625,000 inhabitants, it is the 45th state out of 50 in size, and 49th of 50 in number of people, even less populated than Alaska. more

Why Fiber?

As much as I've written about broadband and broadband technology, it struck me that I have never written a concise response to the question, "Why Fiber?". Somebody asked me the question recently, and I immediately knew I had never answered the question. If you're going to build broadband and have a choice of technologies, why is fiber the best choice? more

Starlink Broadband Service – More on the Beta Plus Exciting Video

If you have last-generation satellite internet access, broadband from a wireless ISP (WISP), or even satellite television from DISH or DIRECTV, an installer came and carefully aimed a dish antenna for you. Starlink, a broadband access service from Elon Musk's SpaceX company, reimagines the install process and, in most cases, eliminates the need for an installer. The Starlink dish can sit on the ground or the peak of your roof; more importantly, it aims itself, as you see in the accompanying video. more

Reflections on the Pandemic Effect on Internet Use and Democracy

Last year, around the same time, the release on the same day of two flagship reports on 'the Internet' had prompted me to write an article on CircleID entitled 'Connecting the Next 46 Percent: Time to Pick the Good From the Bad and the Ugly'. I was then prudently asking whether 'the more we connect the world, the less free it becomes?'. Who would have known that a pandemic would erupt a few months later, unveiling different perspectives in assessing that very same question? more

Taking the Long View: Will This Be the Year ISPs Rethink Their Business Plans

I have to wonder if this year is making the big ISPs rethink their business plans. For years, many big ISPs have foregone making long-term investments in broadband and instead chased the quick return. A good example is CenturyLink. Before the merger with Level 3, the company had started a program to replace the copper plant in urban markets with fiber aggressively. At the peak, the company built fiber to pass 700,000 homes a year. more

My Experience With Starlink Broadband, It Passes "Better Than Nothing" Beta Test

May become the access answer for many at the end of the road. The icicle dripping dish in the picture is the antenna for Starlink, a satellite-based broadband service from SpaceX -- one of Elon Musk's other companies. It came Saturday, just before the snow arrived here in Stowe, VT. It's heated, so I didn't have to shovel it out, and it's working despite its frozen beard. The pandemic has shown us that it is socially irresponsible to leave any family without broadband access. more

SpaceX Is First With Inter-Satellite Laser Links in Low-Earth Orbit, but Others Will Follow

When SpaceX first announced plans for Starlink, their low-Earth orbit Internet service constellation, they said each satellite would have five inter-satellite laser links (ISLLs) - two links to satellites in the same orbital plane, two to satellites in adjacent orbital planes, and one to a satellite in a crossing plane. They subsequently dropped the crossing link as too difficult and, when they finally began launching satellites, they had no laser links. Last year they tested ISLLs on two satellites. more

What Will 2021 Have Install for the ICT Industry?

While 2021 will remain a year with lots of uncertainties, at the same time, we can say that the pandemic has not affected the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in any significant way. Yes, there has been a slowdown, for example, in the sale of smartphones. Shortages in both materials and expertise are slowing fiber deployment, and the recovery over 2021 will be slow and uncertain because of the many lockdowns and travel restrictions. more

Is Starlink the Tesla of Broadband Access? I Have a Chance to Find Out

Starlink is satellite internet access from SpaceX, one of Elon Musk's other companies. If it lives up to its hype, it will cure the problem of broadband availability in rural areas, although affordability will still be an issue. Most satellite-based Internet access sucks (that's a technical term). If based on geostationary satellites (ones you can point a dish at), the distance to the satellite is so great that the round-trip time for data is forever; this problem is called latency. more

Looking Back at the Broadband Industry in 2020

I periodically take a look at broadband trends into the future. But as I was thinking about how unique 2020 was for everybody, I realized that there were some events during the year that we're going to look back on a decade from now as important to the broadband industry. Interestingly, most of these events were not on anybody's radar at the beginning of the year. more

The Legacy of the Pai FCC

As is normal with a change of administration, there are articles in the press discussing the likely legacy of the outgoing administration. Leading the pack in singing his own praises is former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who recently published this document listing a huge list of accomplishments of the FCC under his Chairmanship. Maybe it's just me, but it feels unseemly for a public servant to publish an official self-praise document. more

Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite Internet Service Developments for 2020

I posted reviews of important LEO-satellite Internet service developments during 2017, 2018 and 2019. I've updated those posts during the years and have 18 new posts for 2020. In 2020 we saw increased effort from China, OneWeb's bankruptcy and restructuring with new ownership and prospects, Amazon investng in space-related infrastructure, Telesat making steady progress, SpaceX making rapid progress and satellite and debris tracking and collision-avoidsnce service startups. The following are brief summaries of and links to the 2020 posts. more

Internet Governance and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Part 7: Articles 20-21

Internet Governance, like all governance, needs to be founded on guiding principles from which all policymaking is derived. There are no more fundamental principles to guide policymaking than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This article, Part 7 of a series, looks at Articles 20 and 21 and explores how principles in the UDHR and lessons learned over the last half-century help define the rights and duties of one's engagement in the digital spaces of the Internet ecosystem. more

News Briefs

Alphabet to Shut down Loon, its Balloon Based Internet Access Project

SpaceX Gets FCC’s Approval to Bid in a Federal Auction for Rural-Broadband Funding

New Digital Services Act Should Not Disrupt Internet's Technical Operations, Warn RIPE NCC, CENTR

The Defense Department Opening Large Areas of Mid-Band Spectrum to Help US Compete With China in 5G

Google to Invest $10 Billion in India to Help Accelerate Its Digital Economy

Alphabet's Loon Goes Live With Its Commercial Internet Service in Kenya

Japan Fueling China's Leap to 5G, but for How Long?

FCC Doubts LEO Satellite Broadband Services Like SpaceX's Starlink Can Meet Latency Requirements

SpaceX Launches Another Batch of 60 Starlink Internet Satellites

FCC Grants ISPs Temporary Access to Wireless Spectrum to Help Handle Demand During Pandemic

BT Removes Broadband Caps, Offers Unlimited Data to Customers Amid COVID-19 Crisis

EU Commissioner Calls on Streaming Services to Switch Streaming Videos From HD to Standard Mode

Broadband Companies Take Connectivity Pledge Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Red Sea Region Suffers From Multi-Day Internet Outage Following an Undersea Cable Cut

New York City Releases Internet Master Plan For City's Broadband Future

Russia Says It Has Successfully Tested a Country-Wide Alternative to the Global Internet

Fiber Infrastructure in China Has Grown Nine Times Faster Than in the U.S. Since 2013

Iran Almost Completely Shuts Off Internet Access Across the Country Amid Protests Over Fuel Prices

EFF: For ISPs to Retain Power to Censor the Internet, DNS Needs to Remain Leaky

China to Require Face Scan for Internet Access and New Phone Numbers Starting December

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