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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 the Cloud Is the Solution for Telecom Upgrades

With so much "cloud-talk" across every industry -- many presume that every company with serious telecom operations has already moved there -- but they haven't. In fact, 20 to 25% of global companies are still using legacy PBX systems and MPLS networks and waiting to replace them and move over to SD-Wan/mesh solutions. These advancements can be done successfully after an infrastructure audit has been conducted to identify operational weaknesses and threat vulnerabilities and measuring efficiencies of each feature for usage optimization and increased productivity. more

Potential Impacts of Large-Scale Metaverses on Internet Governance: Bandwidth

Neal Stephenson’s foundational cyberpunk novel Snow Crash brought to the public the concept of a metaverse, a virtual reality in which people interact using avatars in a manufactured ecosystem, eschewing the limitations of human existence. More recently, Ready Player One capitalized on that idea and brought it back to prominence with a bestselling novel and subsequent film adaptation. Amid rebranding efforts and seeking a new way forward, Mark Zuckerberg has made it Facebook’s (now Meta Platforms) priority to build a platform that could enable the metaverse to become a mainstream technology with the sort of reach that their social networks and WhatsApp have. 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

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

5G for Cars – an Idea That Won’t Die

An industry group calling itself 5G Americas has published a whitepaper that touts the advantages of a smart auto grid powered by 5G and the C-V2X technology. This technology is the car connectivity standard that much of the industry has gelled around, replacing the older DSRC standard. Over a decade ago, the FCC became so enamored over the idea of self-driving cars that the agency dedicated the 5.9 GHz spectrum band for the sole use of smart cars. more

Our New Infrastructure

Today, there is demand for more broadband as people realize the importance of being connected to the Internet, whether to access websites, stream entertainment, attend school, attend family events, work remotely, and so much more. This demand has been driven by the success of today's Internet. It is now time to recognize the Internet as infrastructure. The Internet's best-effort approach has allowed us to share the abundant capacity latent in the existing facilities by converting all traffic into packets. more

Improvements in Undersea Fiber

We often forget that a lot of things we do on the web rely on broadband traffic that passes through undersea cables. Any web traffic from overseas gets to the US through one of the many underwater fiber routes. Like with all fiber technologies, the engineers and vendors have regularly been making improvements. The technology involved in undersea cables is quite different than what is used for terrestrial fibers. A long fiber route includes repeater sites where the light signal is refreshed. Without repeaters, the average fiber light signal will die within about sixty miles. 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

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

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

Let’s Not Forget the Lobbyists

Common Cause recently released a report, Broadband Gatekeepers, that describes the influence that lobbyists have on broadband policies. The numbers are staggering -- the ISP industry spent $234 million lobbying the 116th Congress (2019 and 2020). That number is likely understated since the rules on reporting lobbying are lax, and enforcement is almost nonexistent. That number doesn't include the huge amounts of lobbying efforts at State legislatures. more

Let’s Get the Politics Out of Infrastructure

I believe the infrastructure of our country, states, and counties is critically important to our future. If we can get focused on infrastructure and global warming, the future for our kids and grandkids will be bright. All it takes is vision, leadership, and investment. Unfortunately, the issues have become politicized. In the case of infrastructure, the politicians have a tough time just defining what infrastructure is. more

Beavers Kill Fiber Route

An article from CBC earlier this year reported that beavers had chewed through an underground fiber and had knocked 900 customers in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia off broadband for 36 hours. The beavers had chewed through a 4.5-inch conduit that was buried three feet underground. This was an unusual fiber cut because it was due to beavers, but animals damaging fiber is a common occurrence. more

News Briefs

Government of India Gives the Go-Ahead for 5G Technology and Spectrum Trials, Avoids Chinese Firms

Beavers Chewing Through Fiber Cable Cause Hundreds Lose Internet in a Canadian Remote Community

First Round of U.S. Layoffs Due to Huawei Blockade

China Accuses Washington of Damaging Global Trade With Huawei Sanctions

The Defense Department Opening Large Areas of Mid-Band Spectrum to Help US Compete With China in 5G

UK Bans Huawei 5G Equipment, Also Orders 5G Kit to Be Removed From UK Networks by 2027

Alphabet’s Loon Goes Live With Its Commercial Internet Service in Kenya

Japan Fueling China’s Leap to 5G, but for How Long?

FCC Doubts LEO Satellite Broadband Services Like SpaceX’s Starlink Can Meet Latency Requirements

Department of Commerce to Allow US Companies Work With Chinese to Develop 5G and Other Standards

FCC Grants ISPs Temporary Access to Wireless Spectrum to Help Handle Demand During Pandemic

BT Removes Broadband Caps, Offers Unlimited Data to Customers Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Broadband Companies Take Connectivity Pledge Amid COVID-19 Crisis

FCC Proposes Over $200 Million in Fines Against Four Largest Wireless Carriers

Red Sea Region Suffers From Multi-Day Internet Outage Following an Undersea Cable Cut

New York City Releases Internet Master Plan For City’s Broadband Future

Germany’s New Rules for Developing 5G Mobile Networks Will Not Exclude China’s Huawei Technologies

China to Require Face Scan for Internet Access and New Phone Numbers Starting December

US Court Upholds FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal But Says States Can’t Be Barred from Passing Own Rules

Huawei Founder in a Staff Memo Warns Company Is Facing a ‘Live-or-Die Moment’

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