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Let's Get the Politics Out of Infrastructure

I believe the infrastructure of our country, states, and counties is critically important to our future. If we can get focused on infrastructure and global warming, the future for our kids and grandkids will be bright. All it takes is vision, leadership, and investment. Unfortunately, the issues have become politicized. In the case of infrastructure, the politicians have a tough time just defining what infrastructure is. more

Beavers Kill Fiber Route

An article from CBC earlier this year reported that beavers had chewed through an underground fiber and had knocked 900 customers in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia off broadband for 36 hours. The beavers had chewed through a 4.5-inch conduit that was buried three feet underground. This was an unusual fiber cut because it was due to beavers, but animals damaging fiber is a common occurrence. more

Satellites and Cellular Backhaul

Elon Musk recently announced that he was going to be providing cellular backhaul from the Starlink constellation of satellites. This makes a lot of sense from a financial perspective in that it avoids the costly wired fiber networks needed to reach rural cell sites. This is clearly a shot across the bow for companies that currently bring fiber connectivity to rural cell sites. more

President Díaz-Canel, Cuban Internet Is More Than Facebook on Cell Phones – Don't Be Afraid of It

As a result of Internet service interruption during the recent anti-government protests in Cuba, Florida Senator Rubio and Governor DeSantis and President Biden have called for measures to strengthen and guarantee Cuban Internet connectivity, but that won't happen until the Cuban government recognizes that doing so is in its long-run interest. I have seen several suggestions that we smuggle end-user satellite terminals from services like SpaceX Starlink into Cuba but attempts to... more

Another Portent of the Decline and Fall of the Telco

The Swedish carrier group Telia has recently announced the sale of its international wholesale business to Polhelm Infra, an infrastructure investment manager jointly owned by a number of Swedish pension funds. Why would a telco operator sell off what was a core part of its operation to a pension fund? The Internet was originally conceived as a telephone network for computers. (I should mention that this was not a concept that was unique to the Internet at the time. more

Computing Clouds in Orbit – A Possible Roadmap

Last week, I predicted that much of the Internet and most cloud datacenters would launch into space in the next ten years. Today the only part of the Internet in space is a very small amount of "bent-pipe" access: signals which go from a user to a satellite and bounce back down to a ground station which feeds them into the terrestrial internet where all processing is done and all queries answered by internet-connected servers, many of them in cloud data centers. more

The Dumb Pipe Question

Every few years, I read something that resurrects the old question of whether ISPs should be dumb pipe providers or something more. Some ISPs have fought against the idea of being dumb pipe providers and want to believe they are far more than that. The latest event that raises this question anew is AT&T's debacle with ditching DirecTV and WarnerMedia. AT&T was clearly not content with being considered as only a dumb pipe provider. more

The Internet and the Cloud Are Going Into Space

Unlike Bezos and Branson, they're going to stay there. Today we have space-based internet access and a terrestrial internet; within ten years, we'll have a space-based internet. Internet traffic will travel more miles in space than on terrestrial fiber. By that time, the great cloud data centers of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and their competitors and successors will mostly be in orbit as well. Five years from now, this transition will be obvious, accepted, and well underway... more

5G Base Stations $13,000 in China

Most carriers don't order 200,000 5G base stations, so they will pay more, but that's the actual price for the joint procurement of China Telecom and China Unicom. The 200,000-300,000 cells the two jointly are upgrading are probably more than the entire rest of the world will add. The second Chinese network, jointly built by China Mobile and China Broadcast, is growing even faster. more

Where are the Gigabit Applications?

I remember that soon after the City of Chattanooga launched its citywide fiber network, the company held a competition seeking web applications that would benefit from gigabit speeds. I don't recall if anything useful came out of that effort, but I know that there are still today almost no big bandwidth applications on the web online aimed at the average household. more

New Innovations in Free Space Optics

I read an article on the Finley Engineering blog that talks about new research with free-space optics. For those not familiar with the term, this means communication gear that communicates directly using light without any wires. The article talks about a Chinese team of scientists who have used light to transmit ultrahigh-definition video signals between high-rise buildings. more

Elon Musk Interview: SpaceX, Starlink and His Motivation and Philosophy

Elon Musk packed a lot about SpaceX and Starlink into a 32-minute interview at the 2021 Mobile World Congress and ended with a discussion of his motivation and the roles of his three companies - SpaceX, Starlink, and Neuralnk. Let's start with the SpaceX and Starlink update and conclude with the philosophy and motivation. (Scroll to the end of the post for the video of the interview). more

The Infrastructure Guessing Game

As U.S. Congress inches closer to an infrastructure bill, the industry is feverously speculating how a broadband infrastructure plan might work. There is still a lot of compromise and wheeling and dealing to be done, so nobody knows how a final broadband program might work, or even definitively if there will be one. But since this is the billion-dollar question for the industry, it's worth a review of the possibilities. more

Deadline of July 2 to Nominate People for Jonathan B. Postel Service Award

Do you know of someone who has made the Internet better in some way who deserves more recognition? Maybe someone who has helped extend Internet access to a large region? Or wrote widely-used programs that make the Internet more secure? Or served in some capacity behind the scenes in Internet services? Or maybe someone who has been actively working for open standards and open processes for the Internet? more

Capping Broadband Internet by Design

FIOS by Verizon, is a bundled Internet access, telephone, and television service that operates over a fiber-optic communications network with over 5 million customers in nine U.S. states -- providing Fiber to the Home (FTTH). One of the first service areas was a Northern Virginia community known as Ashburn -- which is also is the cloud data center capital of the world. It literally sits on top of the most massive mesh of high bandwidth, low latency fiber in existence. more

News Briefs

Government of India Gives the Go-Ahead for 5G Technology and Spectrum Trials, Avoids Chinese Firms

Beavers Chewing Through Fiber Cable Cause Hundreds Lose Internet in a Canadian Remote Community

First Round of U.S. Layoffs Due to Huawei Blockade

China Accuses Washington of Damaging Global Trade With Huawei Sanctions

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

UK Bans Huawei 5G Equipment, Also Orders 5G Kit to Be Removed From UK Networks by 2027

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

Department of Commerce to Allow US Companies Work With Chinese to Develop 5G and Other Standards

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

Broadband Companies Take Connectivity Pledge Amid COVID-19 Crisis

FCC Proposes Over $200 Million in Fines Against Four Largest Wireless Carriers

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

Germany's New Rules for Developing 5G Mobile Networks Will Not Exclude China's Huawei Technologies

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

US Court Upholds FCC's Net Neutrality Repeal But Says States Can't Be Barred from Passing Own Rules

Huawei Founder in a Staff Memo Warns Company Is Facing a 'Live-or-Die Moment'

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