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The Trade War for Undersea Fiber

A recent article by Joe Brock for Reuters describes a new geopolitical battle over undersea fibers. There are about 400 undersea fiber routes that cross oceans and that connect the world with fiber. This is a huge business, and about 95% of all international broadband traffic passes through the undersea fibers. more

China and Taiwan Recognize Starlink’s Military Value

When Russia invaded Ukraine, SpaceX had around 2,000 satellites in orbit. It was clear from the first day of the war that a low-Earth orbit (LEO) constellation of around 2,000 satellites would be a valuable military and civilian asset. The first truckload of Starlink terminals arrived in Ukraine on February 28, 2022, four days after the invasion. By March 19, there were 5,000 terminals in Ukraine and 150,000 active daily users by May 2nd.China and Taiwan have both seen the strategic value of 2,000 Starlink satellites. more

The Problem Of 5G Hype

I'm writing this as the 5G hype cycle reaches a new crescendo. What is most striking is how few of those touting 5G (or "private 5G") is how little technical detail there is beyond saying it is the next generation of cellular protocols. Yes, one can look at volumes of specifications with myriad options and flavors but no sense of 5G as such. That alone should make one suspicious - why does one have to eschew wires to get 5G? more

Return of Net Neutrality: Discussion of European Net Neutrality Proposal Relevant for U.S. Broadband Market

There is an interesting recent discussion in Europe about net neutrality that has relevance to the U.S. broadband market. The European Commission that oversees telecom and broadband has started taking comments on a proposal to force content generators like Netflix to pay fees to ISPs for using the Internet. I've seen this same idea circulating here from time to time, and in fact, this was one of the issues that convinced the FCC first to implement net neutrality. more

Is the Broadband Industry Reaching Maturity?

Craig Moffett, of MoffettNathanson, was recently quoted in FierceTelecom asking if the broadband industry is reaching maturity. Other than in rural areas, where many homes are still hungry for better broadband, the broadband penetration rate in cities is approaching 90%. It's a fair question to ask if there is room for much more growth in the industry. This is a question that has bounced around for the last five years. more

Expect Big Changes from Streaming Video

One of the biggest uses of bandwidth continues to be streaming video from the many online vendors like Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and many others. Final 2022 earnings reports show that this is an industry segment in crisis. Altogether, the losses for just these four video platforms were almost $11 billion in 2022. There are other big platforms like Apple, Google (YouTube), and Amazon that don't specifically report on the performance of the video streaming segment. more

Submarine Cable Resiliency in the Face of Disruptions

I have on my desk a rather small tube. It's a little under 2cm in diameter, 6 cm long, and looks like it's made from a dull white polycarbonate material. At the end, I can see a copper inner tube, and inside that, another polycarbonate layer, and then a smaller steel tube that holds a thin steel thread and some fibre optic cables. There are no layers of steel jacketing, nor any other additional wrapping at all. more

Quantifying the Benefits of Telemedicine

There was a recent article in JAMA Network Open, part of the monthly journals of the American Medical Association, that reported on a large study to quantify the benefits of using telemedicine with cancer patients. The study was conducted at National Cancer Institute - Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Florida from April 2020 through June 2021. The study wanted to quantify the cost savings for patients that were able to conduct visits via telehealth rather than drive to the cancer center. more

Connecting Every Home in Africa - Starlink Backhaul?

The vision of Kenyan ISP Poa! Internet is "to bring internet to every home in Africa." Poa! offers unlimited, uncapped, 4 Mb/s fixed wireless connectivity to homes for 1,500 KSh ($11.64) per month plus a one-time installation fee of 3,500 KSh ($27.16). But wait, there's more. They provide a dual-SSID router, and the home SSID is used by trusted family members, and the open street SSID is for others. Street users get 100 MB of free data each day and are charged 15 KSh ($.16) per GB with no expiry .data if they exceed 100 MB on a given day. more

New York City’s Broadband Reversal

New York City has done a 180-degree turnaround on the concept of the City providing broadband to low-income households. In 2020, then-May Bill de Blasio announced a plan to bring affordable broadband to low-income households. That Master Plan said that the City would make a $157 million infrastructure investment to provide broadband to around 600,000 homes that includes 200,000 residents of public housing. more