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The Fight Over 12 GHz Spectrum

For an agency that has tried to wash its hands from regulating broadband, the FCC finds itself again trying to decide an issue that is all about broadband. There is a heavyweight battle going on at the FCC over how to use the 12 GHz spectrum, and while this may seem like a spectrum issue, it's all about broadband. 12 GHz spectrum is key to several broadband technologies. First, this is the spectrum that is best suited for transmitting data between the earth and satellite constellations. more

Why Did Russia Test an Anti-Satellite Missile and Why Doesn’t China Condemn the Test?

On November 15th, Russia used an anti-satellite missile to destroy COSMOS 1408, a defunct spy satellite. The explosion quickly created over 1,500 pieces of trackable debris and will likely generate hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces. As a precautionary measure, the astronauts on the International Space Station, two of whom are Russians, took shelter in escape shuttles during two orbits. The anti-satellite test was widely criticized, but the Russian defense ministry released a statement saying... more

Big Internet Outages - There Is No Such Thing as a Routine Software Upgrade

Last year I wrote about big disruptive outages on the T-Mobile and the CenturyLink networks. Those outages demonstrate how a single circuit failure on a transport route or a single software error in a data center can spread quickly and cause big outages. I join a lot of the industry in blaming the spread of these outages on the concentration and centralization of networks where the nationwide routing of big networks is now controlled by only a handful of technicians in a few locations. In early October, we saw the granddaddy of all network outages... more

SpaceX’s Rural Development Project in India

Sanjay Bhargava, Starlink Country Director for India at SpaceX (source)SpaceX Starlink is moving quickly in India. Last April, they said they would be offering service in 2022 and began accepting pre-orders. In July, SpaceX committed to manufacturing antenna systems and terminals in India and, at the end of September, Sanjay Bhargava, who had been with Elon Musk at Paypal, was selected to head Starlink in India. In the last week or two, they set up a wholly-owned subsidiary that will apply for licenses, seek Indian distribution partners, and attempt to sell 200,000 units - 80% in rural districts - in 2022. more

Predicting Future Broadband Prices

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the long-term trajectory of broadband prices. This is something that should be considered by anybody who is thinking about competing in a market against a big cable company. It's not an easy question to get your hands around since many factors might affect future rates. The following are some of the major trends that I think must be considered. First is pressure on the big ISPs from Wall Street. more

Content Blocking at the DNS Level in Germany

For those who follow the issue of blocking illegal content from the Internet, there is an interesting development in relation to this issue here in Germany, and I will tell you a little about it. One way to make it difficult to access illegal content is to block it directly in the DNS. But what is DNS for? Basically, it serves to translate the domain name into the IP of the server that is hosting the content. By blocking directly at the DNS level, a query to a domain will no longer bring the server's IP number, and with that, the user no longer accesses that content. more

Meet the Metaverse

I had already written this blog before Facebook announced it would be hiring at least 10,000 programmers to start moving the company towards the metaverse. I see the metaverse as one of the next big drivers of increased bandwidth usage. Wikipedia defines the metaverse as a collective virtual shared space created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual reality worlds, augmented reality, and the Internet. In the most basic sense, the metaverse consists of online worlds where people interact through avatars. more

Fixing the Supply Chain

Almost everybody in the broadband industry is now aware that the industry is suffering supply chain issues. ISPs are having problems obtaining many of the components needed to build a fiber network in a timely manner, which is causing havoc with fiber construction projects. I've been doing a lot of investigation into supply chain issues, and it turns out the supply chain is a lot more complex than I ever suspected, which means it's not going to be easy to get the supply chain back to normal. more

The Future of Satellite Broadband

People ask me a lot about what Starlink means for somebody building a rural broadband network. That set me to contemplate the long-term prospects for LEO satellite broadband. Today, the broadband provided by Starlink is a boon to rural subscribers who have had no alternatives. Hundreds of thousands of prospective customers have gotten onto the Starlink waiting list. It's not hard to understand why when the rural broadband alternatives are extraordinarily slow rural DSL, high orbit satellite broadband, or cellular hotspots. more

Fifty Years On – What to Expect in the Next 50 Years of the Internet

When did the Internet begin? It all gets a bit hazy after so many years, but by the early 1970s, research work in packet-switched networks was well underway, and while it wasn't running TCP at the time (the flag day when the ARPANET switched over to use TCP was not until 1 January 1983) but there was the base datagram internet protocol running in the early research ARPA network in the US. Given that this is now around 50 years ago, and given that so much has happened in the last 50 years, what does the next 50 years have in store? more