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Simulation of OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat’s Proposed Global Broadband Constellations

Inigo del Portillo and his colleagues at MIT have run a simulation comparing OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat's proposed low-Earth orbit Internet service constellations. The models are based on the initial FCC filings by the companies and demand and data-rate estimates by the authors. I will mention subsequent amendments to the filings below later in the post. more

Internet Traffic Growth Rate Falling by Half in U.S. According to Cisco VNI

In 2014, Cisco estimates Internet traffic growth in the U.S. will be less than 18%, far less than most previous estimates. Worldwide, they measure the current rate at 42% and expect that to fall to 30% in four years. Actual numbers at Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) is the definitive source on Internet traffic today because they have direct relationships with carriers from China Telecom to AT&T. Their future estimates are the most carefully done publicly available. more

The Internet: Missing the Light

Today's Internet is wonderful for solving hard problems such as connecting to Amazon to buy goods or for using Netflix. Amazon and Netflix, among others, demonstrate what is possible if you put in enough effort. Yet if we are to understand the Internet we need to look beyond those applications to the simplest application such as sending one bit of information from a light switch to a light fixture. more

Exploring the Roots of Wireless Spectrum Controversy (eComm Panel)

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the The Emerging Communications (eComm) 2009 conference in San Francisco which was packed with 3 days of fascinating conversations about the future of communications. I absolutely enjoyed talking to various speakers and attendees giving me a deep level of appreciation and perspective on technical, commercial and political issues at hand -- and what is likely to come in the next few years. And speaking of politics, Lee Dryburgh, who founded eComm in early 2008, has generously allowed us to share with you a fascinating panel discussion which took place on day 3 of the conference called "Spectrum 2.0 - What's really happening?" more

Google Signs Internet Deal With Cuba

Google has signed an agreement with the Cuban government allowing internet users on the Communist-run island quicker access to its branded content. more

The Great Internet Transformation? A First Stab

Is it just a coincidence that some of the leading Internet-based application companies are pushing aggressively into network connectivity at exactly the same time the major telephone companies are pushing into content? Or are we witnessing the end of the Internet as we know it? Think back to the online world fifteen years ago. There was AOL, there was Compuserve, there was Prodigy, and there was Apple's eWorld. Sure, there were researchers and students posting to Usenet newsgroups and navigating through Gopher sites, but the Internet was a sideshow for individuals and business users. ...the online world of those days was fragmented and small. Every online service was an island. Are we going back to those days? more

In Praise of Relatively Dumb Pipes

Comcast's furtive and undisclosed traffic manipulation reminds me of a curious, red herring asserted by some incumbent carriers and their sponsored researchers: that without complete freedom to vertically and horizontally integrate the carriers would lose synergies, efficiencies and be relegated to operating "dumb pipes."... Constructing and operating the pipes instead of creating the stuff that traverses them gets a bad rap. It may not be sexy, but it probably has less risk. But of course with less risk comes less reward, and suddenly no one in the telecommunications business is content with that. So incumbent carriers assert that convergence and competitive necessity requires them to add "value" to the pipes. more

Will Low-Earth Orbit Satellite Internet Service Providers Succeed?

In 1990, Teledesic was formed to deliver satellite-based Internet service. Cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal were early investors and Boeing was both an investor and the prime contractor. Teledesic hoped to offer global Internet connectivity using a constellation of 840 satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 700 km... Teledesic failed. Twenty seven years later three companies SpaceX, OneWeb and Boeing are trying to do what Teledesic could not do. Will they succeed? more

China Continues to Add 30M Broadband Subscribers Per Year

China continues to add broadband subscribers at a rate of about 30M per year. MIIT puts the January growth at 2.5M to a total of 152.5M. Of those, about 1.5M were DSL. They don't release fiber counts, but Jeff Heynen of Infonetics is reporting tens of millions of lines of fiber gear are in the pipeline. China has been consistently at 2-3M net adds per month. Two key policy moves are likely to maintain or even increase the growth rate. more

SpaceX Satellite Internet Project Status Update

I've been following the efforts of SpaceX and OneWeb to become global Internet service providers using constellations of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites for some time. Launch times are getting close, so I'm posting a status update on SpaceX's project... The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing titled "Investing in America's Broadband Infrastructure: Exploring Ways to Reduce Barriers to Deployment" on May 3, 2017, and one of the expert witnesses was Patricia Cooper, SpaceX Vice President, Satellite Government Affairs. more

Would the Real Network Neutrality Please Stand Up?

I'm sure this is something that's been raked over before, but I don't see a common understanding of what 'Net Neutrality' actually is. Despite many of the Internetorati demanding it by law. There appear to be several different camps, which you could paint as "bottom of IP", "middle" and "top". The bottomistas would see enforced Internet Protocol itself as a premature optimisation and violation of the end-to-end principle. Unhappy that you only get IPv4 or IPv6? Still grumpy that you only have IPv4 and not even IPv6? Really miserable that your VoIP packets are staggering under the poisonous load of IPv6 headers? You're a bottomista. more

Akamai Reports Record Streaming, Web Content on Obama’s Presidential Inauguration

Web traffic delivery surged to record levels during President Barack Obama's inauguration yesterday, according to content delivery network provider, Akamai. As the largest day ever for the delivery of concurrent live streaming over Akamai's global servers, the company reported it delivered a peak of over 7 million active simultaneous streams (the majority being live streams) at approximately 12:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. Typical simultaneous streams on an average day are less than 1 million. more

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Industry Soon to Be Largest Source of Co2 Emissions

Although on the production side the tar sands are one of the biggest sources of CO2 emissions, the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) industry, globally is the fastest growing and soon will be the largest source of CO2 emissions on the consumption side of the equation. ICT emissions are produced indirectly from the coal generated electricity that is used to power all of our devices. Currently it is estimated that ICT consumes around 10% all electrical power growing at about 6-10% per year. more

What to Expect From SpaceX Starlink Broadband Service Next Year and Beyond

Last May, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted "6 more launches of 60 sats needed for minor coverage, 12 for moderate" and SpaceX President and CEO Gwynne Shotwell recently said they planned to be offering service in parts of the US in mid-2020, which would require six to eight 60-satellite launches. The first of those launches will be in the middle of this month on a thrice-flown Falcon 9 booster. (They will also need customer terminals and Elon Musk has used a prototype to post a tweet from his home). more

Google Voice Dispute Highlights an Opportunity for Mobile Network Operators

The recent row between Google, Apple and AT&T concerning the removal of Google Voice from the Apple iPhone store highlights the friction existing between network operators and so-called over the top (OTT) application providers. Most observers believe that AT&T initiated the blockade because Google Voice (which offers free or highly discounted calling rates) is a direct threat to AT&Ts call revenue (Google Voice users need only pay AT&T for access to the Internet). more