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Starlink Comes to Africa - Markets and Competition

SpaceX Starlink Internet service will be available in several African nations in the second quarter of this year, and the price in Nigeria has been announced -- $600 for the "residential" terminal and a monthly fee of $43. Is there a market for Starlink at that price in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African nations? The IMF projects a GDP per capita of $2,580 for Nigeria this year (and $1,900 in Sub-Saharan Africa and $2,260 for Africa overall) so the market for individual consumer accounts will be much smaller than in what the IMF refers to as "advanced economies." more

Getting Serious About Satellite Texting

One of the more interesting telecom announcements at the CES electronics show in Vegas was the announcement from the partnership of Qualcomm and Iridium of plans to bring satellite texting capability to many more cell phones and other devices. We've already seen a few other announcements recently of the ability to make emergency text calls when out of reach of cell coverage. more

The Disappointment of 5G

Karl Bode recently wrote an excellent article highlighting the overhyping of wireless technologies. He's right, and for the last twenty years, we've been told that a world-changing wireless technology is coming soon, but none ever materialized. No wireless technology has been a bigger flop than 5G when comparing the hype to the eventual reality. The hype for 5G was amazingly over-the-top. more

Competing Against Big Cable Companies

I'm asked at least twenty times a year how a small ISP can compete against the big cable companies. The question comes from several sources - a newly-formed ISP that is nervous about competing against a giant company, a rural ISP that is entering a larger market to compete, or investors thinking of funding a new ISP. These folks are rightfully nervous about competing against the big cable companies. more

SpaceX Launches “Second Generation” Starlink Satellites

In interviews last Spring, Elon Musk said the data throughput of the next version of Starlink satellite (Gen2) would be almost an order of magnitude greater than that of the first generation and that the new Starship rocket would be needed to launch them. Regulatory and engineering delays slowed Starship's progress, so the Gen2 satellites Musk referred to at the time have not yet been launched. more

The Christmas Goat and IPv6 (Year 13)

2022 was not a normal year for me. We sold our company of almost 25 years to Interlan Gefle AB to Nordlo Group, and I also moved away from Gävle city to Boänge, a small rural village outside Sandviken where my ISP (AS20626) still isn't ready for IPv6 in my location.... ☹ ( I use a Mikrotik with a Wireguard tunnel to solve my IPv6 today.) It's 2023 when I'm writing this, and I can't understand why ISPs still haven't deployed IPv6! more

ISPs and the Digital Divide

It seems almost monthly that I am asked about the role that ISPs should take in making sure that we solve the digital divide. I think that people are somewhat shocked every time when I tell them this is not a role for ISPs. In explaining my answer, let me start by parsing what is meant by the question. We are about to see a lot of grant funding for getting computers into homes and training folks on how to use them. more

Space Weather and Broadband

There was an interesting phenomenon that happened in September when Starlink launched 49 new satellites. The satellites were successfully deployed by the rocket, but as the satellites were being maneuvered to reach the final orbital slots, there was a geomagnetic storm that caused 38 of the satellites to fall back to earth. Space storms happen when radiation affects the magnetosphere that surrounds the earth.  more

Cuban Undersea Cable Politics

Undersea cables between the U. S. and Cuba have long been intertwined with politics. In 1887, The New York Times reported on the inauguration of a cable in support of the Cuban insurgents fighting for independence from Spain -- a precursor to the Spanish-American war. Phone service between the U.S. and Cuba began in 1921 with AT&T's installation of an undersea cable and AT&T dominated international telephony to Cuba until the 1990s. more

A New Definition of 6G

We now know how wireless carriers are going to continue the string of new G generations of cellular technology. 5G was originally defined to include spectrum up to 90 GHz or 100 GHz. In the last few years, international standards bodies have been developing new 6G standards in what is called the terahertz wavelengths between 100 GHz and 1 THz. more

Industry Updates