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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

Google Cloud Lands Grace Hopper Subsea Cable in Bude, Cornwall

Google Cloud has landed its muchly anticipated subsea cable, Grace Hopper in Bude, Cornwall. The 16-fiber pair Google-funded cable will connect New York (United States) to Bude (United Kingdom) and Bilbao (Spain). 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

High-Speed Fiber Overtakes DSL as OECD Countries Add 21 Million Fixed Broadband Connections in the Pandemic Year

High-speed fiber Internet subscriptions surpassed copper-wire DSL connections across OECD countries for the first time in 2020 as the need to move work and home life activities online during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a record 21.15 million new fixed broadband connections (including fiber, DSL, cable, and others) in the year to end-December 2020. more

Are We Ready for Big Bandwidth Applications?

There is a recent industry phenomenon that could have major impacts on ISP networks in the relatively near future. There has been an explosion of households that subscribe to gigabit data plans. At the end of 2018, only 1.8% of US homes subscribed to a gigabit plan. This grew to 2.8% by the end of 2019. With the pandemic, millions of homes upgraded to gigabit plans in an attempt to find a service that would support working from home. more

Holding Times – A Phenomenon Happening With ISP Networks That No One Seems to Talk About

During the last year, we saw a big change in the nature of our broadband usage in that many of us are connecting to remote work or school servers, or we are connecting to long Zoom calls. We already can see that these changes have accelerated the average home usage of broadband. OpenSignal reports that the average broadband usage per home grew from 274 gigabytes per month just before the pandemic up to 462 gigabytes per month measured at the end of the first quarter of this year. more

How Will Rural Chileans Use SpaceX Starlink?

The Chilean Undersecretary of Telecommunications (SUBTEL) has begun a year-long pilot study of SpaceX's Starlink satellite Internet service. I don't know how many test locations they are planning, but the first two have been selected. Last week I discussed the first, the John F. Kennedy school in Sotomó, an isolated town at 41.6° South on a fjord in Chile's Lake Region, and the second will be in Caleta Sierra on the coast about 1,200 miles north of Sotomó. SpaceX is also considering a European pilot study in Georgia and perhaps (hopefully) others. more

The Big Questions Facing the Telecom Industry

I took a pause the other day to think about the big issues facing the telecom industry. When I've done that in past years, I always came up with a few major issues and more smaller ones. But we are in such turmoil right now that I rattled off the following list quickly. I can't remember a time when our industry was wrangling with so many major issues at the same time. The industry's performance over the next decade is going to depend upon how we handle these issues. more

Ireland’s Solution to the Rural Divide

The pandemic has given the whole world a pause to consider if we should return to business as usual when the pandemic is behind us. Ireland has a unique reaction and is something that could make sense here. Ireland plans to provide incentives to lure people from cities back to smaller rural towns. Like much of the world, Ireland has seen decades of young people moving to cities to find work, leaving behind shrinking and aging rural towns. more

SpaceX Starlink Comes to South America

SpaceX has roughly 90,000 Starlink beta test customers in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand and now they have one in South America -- in Sotomó, an isolated town at 41.6° South in Chile's Lake Region. Chile's second terminal will be online at a school in Caleta Sierra in a few days and other pilot locations will follow. Twenty families live in Sotomó and it is only accessible by private boats or subsidized services that navigate the Reloncaví Estuary on which it is located. more