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Why Facebook Is Not a Common Carrier

The ever-entertaining Fifth Circuit has recently upheld a strange Texas law that forbids most kinds of social media moderation. (Techdirt explains many of the reasons the court is wrong, so I won't try.) This brings us to the trendy question of whether Facebook, Twitter, et al. should be treated as common carriers. You can make a good argument to separate the point-to-point data transport from the ISP and make the former common carriage. more

Satellite Cell Service: What’s Coming

T-Mobile and Starlink made a joint announcement recently about an arrangement where Starlink will enable voice and texting capabilities to T-Mobile cellphones by the end of 2023. This is a service that would work with existing cell phones and would supposedly kick in when a phone can't find a signal from a cell tower. Starlink said the technology would be enabled by new satellites that have significantly larger antennae than the current satellites in the constellation. more

Cable Companies Tout Speed Increases

Last month, NCTA -- The Internet and Television Association -- posted an article on its website touting the big increases in broadband speeds since the start of the pandemic. NCTA is the industry trade and lobbying association for medium-sized and large cable companies. The article touts that the average U.S. download speed has grown from 138 Mbps in March 2020, the first month of the pandemic, to 226 Mbps in June 2022. more

From “Network Neutrality” to “Sender Pays”, the Principles Remain Much the Same

The entire set of issues of network neutrality, interconnection and settlements, termination monopolies, cost allocation and infrastructure investment economics is back with us again. This time it's not under the banner of "Network Neutrality" but under a more directly confronting title of "Sender Pays." The principle is much the same: network providers want to charge both their customers and the content providers to carry content to users. more

Four Crucial Questions to Ask When Considering Telecom M&A

Many industries have gone back to pre-COVID days but not telecom or their supporting technology partners. In fact, the pandemic gave a modern-day meaning to the decades-old iconic long-distance campaign to "reach out and touch someone." With so many months (and even years) of remote and isolated living, telecom audio and voice communications became the heroes of the era, bringing us together and forever changing our options in socializing and doing business. more

SpaceX Introduces Affordability-Based Starlink Pricing

When SpaceX announced the price of the Starlink service, Elon Musk said it would be the same everywhere but I wrote that eventually it would be priced to be affordable in different nations. (If you predict enough things, you are bound to get something right). The fixed cost of a satellite Internet constellation is high -- satellites are expensive to make and launch -- but the cost of adding and servicing a new customer is low, and the market is global. more

Kyiv Independent Reports on Starlink in Ukraine

"Saint Elon" is a bit much but ... It started with a tweet from Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation. The quoted text below is excerpts from How Elon Musk's Starlink satellite internet keeps Ukraine online in The Kyiv Independent. "Among the Ukrainian military, Elon Musk, the richest tech entrepreneur in the U.S., is often half-jokingly referred to as 'Saint Elon.'. The reason is Starlink, Musk's satellite communication system that keeps many Ukrainians, most importantly the military... more

LunaNet – Developing the Internet for the Moon

The NASA-sponsored Artemis program is the first step in the next era of human exploration. Together with a large number of international government and academic partners as well as businesses -- and based on international standards -- NASA will establish a sustainable presence on the Moon. more

The Birth of the Digital Divide

A lot of the money being spent on broadband infrastructure today is trying to solve the digital divide, which I define as a technology gap where good broadband is available in some places but not everywhere. The technology divide can be as large as an entire county that doesn't have broadband or as small as a pocket of homes or apartment buildings in cities that got bypassed. more

Telecoms Development Booming in the French Pacific Territories

After the nuclear submarine debacle with France, political ties have been restored, and both France and Australia have agreed on further cooperation in the South Pacific, where France has several overseas territories. Also, here telecoms is a key issue. Such cooperation has become more urgent with the increased political interest of China in the region. more

Traditional Big ISPs Stagnate

In the first quarter of this year, the big cable companies added 482,000 customers, while telcos added over 50,000 customers. In what is a surprise to the industry, that growth has disappeared, and all of the big ISPs collectively lost almost 150,000 customers. That's a loss of 60,000 customers for the cable companies and 88,000 for the big telcos. The following statistics have been compiled by the Leichtman Research Group, which tracks the broadband performance of the largest ISPs in the country. more

OneWeb and Intelsat Sign the First Multi-Orbit Broadband Agreement – More to Come

Last October, I reviewed multi-orbit tests and plans of several low Earth orbit (LEO), medium Earth orbit (MEO), and Geostationary (GEO) broadband satellite companies and quoted Neil Masterson, CEO of LEO operator OneWeb as saying, "Interoperability with GEO satellites must happen - it's common sense ... Customers don't care whether it's a LEO satellite or a GEO satellite - all they want is connectivity." more

FCC Nixes Starlink and LTD Broadband

On August 10, the FCC issued a press release denying the long-form applications of Starlink and LTD Broadband in the RDOF reverse auction. This is big news because these are two of the biggest winners of the reverse auction. LTD Broadband was the largest winner of the auctions at $1.32 billion, while Starlink had claimed over $885 million in the auction. more

How Safe is Your Fiber Network?

There was a major attack launched against long-haul fiber networks outside of Paris, France, on April 27 of this year. It appears that there was a coordinated attack by vandals to cut three long-haul fiber routes simultaneously. Fibers were cut with what seemed like a circular saw, and sections of fiber were removed to make it hard to make repairs. These were backbone fibers that were shared by multiple ISPs. more

SpaceX Starlink’s Variable Pricing Pilot in France Is Good Business and Good Karma

Starlink is available in 37 nations, and the price for best effort service was the same everywhere until August 3, when variable pricing with throttling became available in France. I predicted they would eventually shift from uniform to affordable pricing some time ago, but why did they do it now? Starlink first became available in the U.S. and Canada, and sales are beginning to outrun the available capacity. more

News Briefs

Ukraine’s Internet Access and Quality in Rapid Decline Since Russian Invasion

The Internet Infrastructure in Afghanistan (Event)

Google Cloud Lands Grace Hopper Subsea Cable in Bude, Cornwall

18 Million of the 22 Million Net Neutrality Comments Received by FCC in 2017 Were Fake

SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite Internet Service Has Received 500K Preorders, Says the Company

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

ISPs Saw a 30% Increase in Traffic During the Pandemic, 40% During Peak Business Hours

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

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