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The Beginnings of 8K Video

In 2014 I wrote a blog asking if 4K video was going to become mainstream. At that time, 4K TVs were just hitting the market and cost $3,000 and higher. There was virtually no 4K video content on the web other than a few experimental videos on YouTube. But in seven short years, 4K has become a standard technology. Netflix and Amazon Prime have been shooting all original content in 4K for several years, and the rest of the industry has followed. more

Now Available: Worldwide and Local Current Starlink Performance

The blue dot circled is our dish in the center of Vermont. Volunteers run software that collects statistics every 15 minutes and uploads them to update the tables and the map at https://starlinkstatus.space. You can see below that we have been averaging download speeds of 143Mbps, upload around 12Mbps, and ping times of 43ms. Below, you can see our most recent updates, including the percentage of time our dish was obstructed (0% happily). There are also tables with country and region-wide averages. more

Pew Research Center on the Pandemic and the Internet – 90% of Americans Say Internet Has Been Important to Them Personally

Pew Research Center conducted several polls asking people about the importance of the Internet during the pandemic. The Pew survey report is seven pages filled with interesting statistics and a recommended read. This blog covers a few of the highlights... 58% of adults said that the Internet was essential during the pandemic - that’s up from 52% in April of 2020. Another 33% of adults say the Internet was important but not essential. Only 9% of adults said the Internet wasn’t important to them. more

Better Protection of Essential Power and Communication Grids From Storm Damage

After every major hurricane, like the category 4 Ida that recently hit Louisiana, there is talk in the telecom and power industries about better protecting our essential power and communication grids. There was major damage to grids and networks in Louisiana from hurricane winds and storm surges and massive flooding in the mid-Atlantic from Western Maryland to New York City. One thing that we've learned over time is that there is no way to stop storm damage. more

Satellite Companies Fighting Over RDOF

There has been an interesting public fight going on at the FCC as Viasat has been telling the FCC that Elon Musk's Starlink should not be eligible for funding from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). At stake is the $886 million that Starlink won in December's RDOF auction that is still under review at the FCC. Viasat had originally filed comments at the FCC stating that the company did not believe that Starlink could fulfill the RDOF requirements in some of the grant award areas. more

Demystifying ISP Oversubscription

I think the concept that I have to explain the most as a consultant is oversubscription, which is how ISPs share bandwidth between customers in a network. Most broadband technologies distribute bandwidth to customers in nodes. ISPs using passive optical networks, cable DOCSIS systems, fixed wireless technology, and DSL all distribute bandwidth to a neighborhood device of some sort that then distributes the bandwidth to all of the customers in that neighborhood node. more

An Update on Telemedicine

I’ve been keeping tabs on the news about telemedicine since it was touted throughout the industry as one of the big benefits of having good broadband. One piece of news comes from a survey conducted by Nemours Children’s Health. This is a large pediatric health system with 95 locations in Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The company treats almost half a million children annually. Nemours released a report on Telehealth in July. The report was based on a survey of 2,056 parents/guardians of children. The survey had some interesting results, more

Supporting SpaceX Starlink in Remote Communities

Five companies are developing low-Earth orbit (LEO) broadband satellite constellations, but, as of now, only SpaceX is planning to market directly to consumers. What sorts of support will they require? A pilot study of Starlink connectivity in remote Chilean communities may provide some answers to that question. The Chilean regulator, SUBTEL, has authorized a year-long pilot study of Starlink connectivity in remote, rural communities and is committed to supporting them during the year. more

A Chance to Tackle the Urban Digital Divide

For the first time in my career, we face the possibility of some big changes for broadband in low-income neighborhoods in cities. The recent American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) gave cities significant funding that can be used for various kinds of infrastructure, including broadband. Cities have been handed a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fix some of the broadband deserts that have grown in poor neighborhoods. I'm already working with several cities that are taking this opportunity seriously. more

Starlink Beta vs. Fiber

Last year we had terrible DSL from Consolidated Communications and much better, although not always consistent, service from wireless ISP GlobalNet. I signed up for fiber service from Stowe Cable for installation this year and also was accepted early as a Beta tester for Starlink. Now we have both Starlink and fiber and can compare the two. I was very happy to cancel my Consolidated service but felt bad about canceling GlobalNet, which was essential to me for many years. Most of the time, there are only two of us in the house. more