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Traditional Big ISPs Stagnate

In the first quarter of this year, the big cable companies added 482,000 customers, while telcos added over 50,000 customers. In what is a surprise to the industry, that growth has disappeared, and all of the big ISPs collectively lost almost 150,000 customers. That's a loss of 60,000 customers for the cable companies and 88,000 for the big telcos. The following statistics have been compiled by the Leichtman Research Group, which tracks the broadband performance of the largest ISPs in the country. more

FCC Nixes Starlink and LTD Broadband

On August 10, the FCC issued a press release denying the long-form applications of Starlink and LTD Broadband in the RDOF reverse auction. This is big news because these are two of the biggest winners of the reverse auction. LTD Broadband was the largest winner of the auctions at $1.32 billion, while Starlink had claimed over $885 million in the auction. more

Bigger, Faster, Better (and Cheaper!)

Let's take a second to look back some 50 years to the world of 1972 and the technology and telecommunications environment at that time. The world of 1972 was one populated by a relatively small collection of massive (and eye-wateringly expensive) mainframe computers that were tended by a set of computer operators working around the clock and directed by specialized programmers, trained in the obscure symbol set used by the job control systems on these computers. more

Reusing Existing Easements for Building New Fiber Networks

Casey Lide and Thomas B. Magee of Keller & Heckman highlight an issue that anybody building fiber on utility poles should be aware of. A recent article on their website notes that in some cases, an easement obtained for using private land to bring electric service might not automatically allow an easement for bringing fiber. more

A New Definition of Broadband?

FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel has circulated a draft Notice of Inquiry inside the FCC to kick off the required annual report to Congress on the state of U.S. broadband. As part of preparing that report, she is recommending that the FCC adopt a new definition of broadband of 100/20 Mbps and establish gigabit broadband as a longer-term goal. I have a lot of different reactions to the idea. more

The Impact of Open Connectivity

The Internet hints at the much larger possibilities of open connectivity in enabling discoveries such as the web but for the physical world. The ideas themselves go to a deeper level of thinking about how we build systems and how we can enable the future. This post is aimed at people building systems and devices which can be interconnected to create systems and meta-devices. more

The Internet as a Public Good

It is time to recognize the Internet as a public good - freely available like other basic infrastructures such as roads and sidewalks. In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web by taking advantage of open connectivity available among universities and research institutions. Today we see that same open connectivity within corporations, in our homes, and on university campuses. more

The History of Broadband Price Competition

It's sometimes easy to forget that the broadband business is just over twenty-five years old. The telephone companies had a monopoly on copper-based technologies until Congress passed the Telecommunication Act of 1996, which forced the big telephone companies to allow competition for copper-based broadband services. more

Using LEOs and GEOs

Once you head away from the areas serviced by modern terrestrial cable infrastructure, the available digital communications options are somewhat limited. Some remote areas are served using High-Frequency radio systems, using radio signals that bounce off the ionosphere to provide a long-distance but limited bandwidth service. Or there are satellite-based services based on spacecraft positioned in geostationary orbital slots. more

The Death of Millimeter-Wave Cellular?

Apple recently announced that it is not building millimeter-wave spectrum antennas into the next generation SE iPhone. Interestingly, this is a phone sold by Verizon, which spent a year advertising on TV and showing us speed tests on cellphones that were receiving gigabit speeds. more

What Duopoly?

For the last twenty years, the industry has talked about broadband in cities as a duopoly, meaning there was competition between cable companies and telcos -- competition between cable modem broadband and DSL broadband. Twenty years ago, there was a true duopoly when the speeds on DSL and cable modem were close in capability. The market at that time demonstrated real duopoly behavior. more

Five Thousand SpaceX Starlink Terminals for Ukraine

On March 1, I wrote that a small number of SpaceX Starlink terminals had arrived in Ukraine, and they would be an important asset for distribution to selected government and resistance leaders and journalists. I didn't know who would get the terminals or how many there were, but it was a single truckload. A week or so later, we learned that two more shipments of terminals had arrived and fifty of them went to DTEK, a company struggling to repair Ukrainian electrical infrastructure. more

Truth in Broadband Advertising

We're all used to crazy advertising about telecom products that make industry folks shake their heads -- many of the ads about 5G come to mind. Most people don't realize that carriers in the industry routinely challenge the claims made by competitors to force them to modify or drop deceptive ads. Most of the largest corporations in the country belong to the National Advertising Division (NAD), which is part of the Better Business Bureau and arbitrates disputes about advertising between participants in the plan. more

Can Satellite Broadband Be Affordable?

When we first heard of the possibility of broadband from low-orbit satellites, there was a lot of speculation that the technology could bring affordable broadband to the masses around the globe. The latest announcement from Starlink shows that affordable broadband is probably not coming in the immediate future. Starlink announced a premium tier of service with a $500 monthly fee for 150-500 Mbps. more

Voice Over IP – an Inflection Point

Voice over IP (VoIP) represents a sharp break from the traditional telephony. The story of VoIP is important in helping us think beyond the simplistic framing of a "digital transition". The first stage of any technology is emulating the old. Indeed, digital telephony was just like traditional analog telephony -- just FBC (Faster, Better Cheaper) but not fundamentally different. Merely changing from analog to digital isn't transformational in itself. But it creates the opportunity for transformation. more