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SpaceX Starlink Service in Ukraine Is an Important Government Asset

At 4:04 AM on February 26 Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine requested Starlink service from Elon Musk and at 2:45 PM on the 26th, Elon Musk tweeted "Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route." On February 28 at 12:29 PM Fedorov posted a photo of a truck load of terminals. (Kyiv is 10 hours ahead of California). more

SpaceX Is Testing Starlink Roaming

Last April, Elon Musk tweeted that Starlink "should be fully mobile later this year, so you can move it anywhere or use it on an RV or truck in motion." It is good to know that mobility with a standard dish is in the works, but it's not yet available. David Lang had been able to connect his Starlink terminal about fifteen miles from his home in Simi Valley, California, but when he brought it to my place in Carpinteria, California, about forty-three miles away and in a different coverage cell, it failed to connect. 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

Update on China SatNet’s GuoWang Broadband Constellation – Can They Do It?

In 2020, China applied to operate GuoWang, a constellation of 12,992 low-Earth orbit (LEO) broadband Internet satellites, and in 2021, it became clear that it was intended to become China’s global LEO broadband constellation. Can they do it? Maybe, but it will take a long time. China does not have the capacity to launch 12,992 satellites today. I don’t know the mass of their planned satellites, but GuoWang is informally referred to as China’s answer to Starlink. more

The Battle for IoT

There is an interesting battle going on to be the technology that monetizes the control of Internet of Things devices. Like a lot of tech hype, IoT has developed a lot slower than initially predicted -- but it's now finally becoming a big business. I think back to a decade ago when tech prognosticators said we'd soon be living in a virtual cloud of small monitors that would monitor everything in our life. According to those early predictions, our farm fields should already be fully automated, and we should all be living in the smart home envisioned by the Jetsonsmore

Top Broadband Stories of 2021

Every year I write a blog talking about the trends that I think we're likely to see in the coming year. But 2021 was such an unusual year for all of us that I thought it would also be useful to talk about what we accomplished in the industry over the last year while fending off a pandemic. All in all, it was quite a year. more

When Will We See Real 5G?

The non-stop wireless industry claims that we've moved from 4G to 5G finally slowed to the point that I stopped paying attention to it during the last year. There is an interesting article in PC Magazine that explains why 5G has dropped off the front burner. The article cites interviews with Art Pouttu of Finland's University of Oulu about the current state and the future of 5G. That university has been at the forefront of the development of 5G technology and is already looking at 6G technology. more

The US-China Technology Cold War Battle Over Optical Communication in Space

The United States and its allies are in a technology cold war with China and its allies. This is evidenced by major battles like the US ban on Huawei and China's drive for technological independence and their global infrastructure program to create a digital silk road. (The cold war began under Trump, but President Biden is continuing it). There are other, less well-known battles like the battle over optical communication in space. more

Australian Farms Get Connected to the Starlink Satellites

Last year, I reported on the possibility that LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellite-based systems might be a gamechanger for the delivery of high-speed data services, including internet access, to people in regional and remote Australia. What has become clear with the rollout of the NBN is that the quality of data connections in metropolitan cities in many cases has improved, but that the rest of Australia doesn't have a similar experience. more

The Russian Anti-Satellite Demonstration – a Month Later

On November 15, Russia demonstrated its ability to destroy an orbiting satellite, Cosmo 1408, by hitting it with a direct-ascent rocket. In an earlier post, I noted the anti-satellite demonstration and speculated on why Russia may have done it and why the Chinese had not condemned it. In this post, I’ll look at the evolution of the resulting debris cloud and say more about the possible motivation.  more

SpaceX’s Rural Development Project in India

Sanjay Bhargava, Starlink Country Director for India at SpaceX (source)SpaceX Starlink is moving quickly in India. Last April, they said they would be offering service in 2022 and began accepting pre-orders. In July, SpaceX committed to manufacturing antenna systems and terminals in India and, at the end of September, Sanjay Bhargava, who had been with Elon Musk at Paypal, was selected to head Starlink in India. In the last week or two, they set up a wholly-owned subsidiary that will apply for licenses, seek Indian distribution partners, and attempt to sell 200,000 units - 80% in rural districts - in 2022. more

The Future of Satellite Broadband

People ask me a lot about what Starlink means for somebody building a rural broadband network. That set me to contemplate the long-term prospects for LEO satellite broadband. Today, the broadband provided by Starlink is a boon to rural subscribers who have had no alternatives. Hundreds of thousands of prospective customers have gotten onto the Starlink waiting list. It's not hard to understand why when the rural broadband alternatives are extraordinarily slow rural DSL, high orbit satellite broadband, or cellular hotspots. more

Multi-Orbit Broadband Internet Service

Three satellite companies, SES, Telesat, and Hughes, are working toward integrated, multi-orbit broadband Internet service and Eutelsat may join them... It is too soon for these companies to be offering integrated multi-orbit services, but they have begun testing and demonstrating switching and antenna technology. more

Now Available: Worldwide and Local Current Starlink Performance

The blue dot circled is our dish in the center of Vermont. Volunteers run software that collects statistics every 15 minutes and uploads them to update the tables and the map at https://starlinkstatus.space. You can see below that we have been averaging download speeds of 143Mbps, upload around 12Mbps, and ping times of 43ms. Below, you can see our most recent updates, including the percentage of time our dish was obstructed (0% happily). There are also tables with country and region-wide averages. more

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