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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

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

NTIA's New Broadband Map

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration surprised the broadband industry by issuing a new broadband map for the whole U.S. The map differs in dramatic ways from the FCC's broadband map, which is derived from broadband speeds that are reported by the ISPs in the country. It's commonly understood that the FCC broadband map overstates broadband coverage significantly. The NTIA map draws upon varied sources in an attempt to create a more accurate picture of the availability of broadband. more

Still Waiting for IPv6

It's now been a decade since the world officially ran out of blocks of IP addresses. In early 2011 the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) announced that it had allocated the last block of IPv4 addresses and warned ISPs to start using the new IPv6 addresses. But here we are a decade later and not one of my clients has converted to IPv6. more

Telling the Truth About 5G

I still run across articles that extol the supposed wonders of 5G. The most recent, published in Gizmodo asks "How 5G Could Replace Your Home Broadband Connection". I was surprised to see an article like this in a tech-oriented site because the article gets most of the facts wrong about 5G - facts that are not hard to verify. This article talks about 5G having "faster download speeds, faster upload speeds, more bandwidth, and lower latency" than landline broadband. more

Record $89B in China Means 2020 +4% Sales, $10B Profit

The US war on Huawei brought down sales internationally, but China's 700,000 5G cells and explosive cloud growth meant Huawei had an up year. The chip blockade did hurt in Q4 and will continue to hold down sales in 2021. Huawei has sufficient reserves to outlast the United States until China catches up in chip production. Perhaps the most important figure in the financial report was the $55 billion cash. Another $10 billion will come in from the sale of Honor/Glory. more

The White House Broadband Plan

Reading the White House $100 billion broadband plan was a bit eerie because it felt like I could have written it. The plan espouses the same policies that I've been recommending. This plan is 180 degrees different than the Congress plan that would fund broadband using a giant federal, and a series of state reverse auctions. The plan starts by citing the 1936 Rural Electrification Act, which brought electricity to nearly every home and farm in America. more

Quantifying the Benefits of Fiber

Dr. Bento J. Lobo, an economist at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga undertook a study to quantify the benefits of the municipally-owned fiber network in Chattanooga. Any citywide fiber network brings economic development to a community, but a municipally-owned system brings additional benefits because of the way that the business is more deeply integrated into the community. 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

Trump's Parting NTIA 5G Debacle

As Trump's horrific Administration of non-stop debacles and self-serving gambits headed toward the exit over the past few weeks, one last regulatory grab after another has been pushed out the door while the toddler-in-chief rants. Sure enough, the last of the 5G debacles just appeared in the Federal Register courtesy of the President's policy instrument, the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA). It was titled the 5G Challenge Notice of Inquiry. more

An Open Letter to Big Tech CFOs: Save the Internet Before You're Forced

Dear Chief Financial Officers of tech giants, the internet is in crisis, and you can lead your organization to help solve the problem. You'll be well compensated, and you'll enjoy massive public relations benefits. I fear that if you don't, global governments will force your hand. There is a shortage of available IPv4 addresses but we are years away (possibly a decade or more) from IPv6 viability and adoption in North America. more

What Does an Administration Change Mean for the FCC?

Just as the last change in administration changed the course of the FCC, so will the swing back to a Democratic administration. If you've been reading me for a few years, you know I am a big believer in the regulatory pendulum. Inevitably, when a regulatory agency like the FCC swings too far in any direction, it's inevitable that it will eventually swing back the other way. more

The Upload Speed Lie

In the 2020 Broadband Deployment Report, the FCC made the following claim. "The vast majority of Americans -- surpassing 85% -- now have access to fixed terrestrial broadband service at 250/25 Mbps". The FCC makes this claim based upon the data provided to it by the country's ISPs on Form 477. We know the data reported by the ISPs is badly flawed in the over-reporting of download speeds. Still, we've paid little attention to the second number. more

Is 5G a Race We Want to Win?

There is an interesting article recently published in the English version of a South Korean newspaper, the ChosunILBO, that talks about 5G in China. According to the article, the Chinese 5G rollout is an expensive bust. There are a number of interesting facts disclosed about the Chinese 5G rollout. First, it's clear that the rollout is using millimeter wave spectrum. more

Is Laser Going to Be the Next Telecoms Frontier?

When I became involved in the telecoms industry back in the late 1970s, we were just seeing fiber optic cables being commercially developed by Corning. Over the following decades, I have been asked many, many times -- do we need fiber cables or wireless technologies, and what is next? During all that time, my answer has been that there was no other communication technology available in any commercial sense that would make either fiber optical or mobile technologies obsolete. more

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