SpaceX: Starlink Documents Reveal Plans for a Huge Number of Satellites

Starlink, SpaceX’s internet connectivity satellite constellation, is going to be huge. Like, really huge.

earth-surrounded-by-starlink-satellites

Details at Inverse.com

 

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The Forrester Report: Is the OneWeb Model Doomed?

Senior Columnist Chris Forrester

Senior Columnist Chris Forrester examines the problems surrounding OneWeb, not the least of which is the September 10th lawsuit filed against OneWeb and that firm’s financial backer, SoftBank, and he examines OneWeb’s prospects.

September was a good month/bad month for LEO operator OneWeb. The good news was the firm’s technical link up with Iridium. Announced on September 17, the pair signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Iridium’s client conference at Coronado, California. Iridium and OneWeb are likely to see a bundled/twin-frequency service offering.

The two have yet to determine how the ‘partnership’ will work; however, combined terminal equipment is one probability. They each use different transmission frequencies (Iridium uses L-band, OneWeb is Ku-band based).

But as good as this relationship is, the September 19 news that Intelsat was suing OneWeb (and its financial backer media giant, SoftBank) for “breach of contract, fraud and conspiracy” — and with Intelsat seeking court-ordered compensation damages, punitive damages as well as demanding an end to OneWeb and SoftBank’s “willful breach” of their commercial relationship with Intelsat certainly is not a positive business environment.

The jury will, in time, determine the merits of Intelsat’s case — and remember, there has been no counter-argument filed yet — but it is now reasonable to suggest that any attempt by OneWeb to secure significant injections of cash must now be put on hold until this case wraps up and that may take time to adjudicate.

Within the Court filing, Intelsat alleges that SoftBank has been trying to sell its OneWeb stake and had changed its mind as to OneWeb’s prospects. The writ also provides details that OneWeb had also changed its mind as to how it would build its business.

The writ specifically alleges that the OneWeb and SoftBank conspired together in stealing confidential information, because — the writ states — SoftBank no longer believed in the OneWeb project and was seeking to protect its previous investment in OneWeb.

The full article at Satellite Magazine is HERE.

 

LEO Update: Kepler

[Kepler is] Planning to place approximately 140 satellites in LEO in three incremental phases, from 2020 to 2023, Kepler continues to execute on schedule against plan. Kepler has two demonstration satellites in orbit that are currently delivering Kepler’s high-capacity data transfer service to a number of early customers.

The company’s LEO constellation will grow to become a space data relay system to serve other constellations with high-speed data backhaul capabilities.

Today, Kepler is focused on building the install base for Global Data ServiceTM, its pole-to-pole wideband connectivity service for mobile and fixed applications. EverywhereIOTTM, Kepler’s affordable solution for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, will enter user trials in the coming months.

More at Space Daily HERE.

 

Rural Telcom De-regulation — Prompts Competition from Space

Doug Dawson has an excellent post in Pots and Pans on the impact regulators had on the lack of rural broadband.

Rural America should never have been deregulated. Shame on every regulator in every state that voted to deregulate the big telcos in rural America. Shame on every regulator that allowed companies like Verizon palm off their rural copper to companies like Frontier – a company that cannot succeed, almost by definition.

In rural America the telcos have a physical network monopoly and the regulators should have found ways to support rural copper rather than letting the telcos walk away from it. We know this can be done by looking at the different approaches taken by the smaller independent telephone companies. These small companies took care of their copper and most have now taken the next step to upgrade to fiber to be ready for the next century.

The full post is HERE.

Doug writes: “The big telcos started abandoning rural America as much as thirty years ago. They’ve stopped maintaining copper and have not voluntarily made any investments in rural America for a long time. There was a burst of rural construction recently when the FCC gave them $11 billion to improve rural broadband to 10/1 Mbps – but that doesn’t seem to be drawing many rural subscribers.”

The launch of the low earth-orbiting satellite broadband networks by SpaceX, OneWeb, and Amazon are going to provide rural users alternatives to the poor service and slow speeds offered by the telcos. The LEO ISPs are promising “fiber-like services” to rural customers starting in 2020, with full service by 2021.

One of the challenges will be the start-up costs, which are forecast to be in the $300 to 500 dollar range. The monthly fee of those services is presently an unknown but is expected to be competitive with existing fiber services.

SpaceX is expecting a high demand for their “fiber-like services” from space. They have requested permission to launch up to 42,000 Starlink satellites, 12,000 that are already approved plus 30,000 more to meet the expected global demand. This YouTube video has some details and attractive graphics:

https://youtu.be/z93a9OUJfOA

RCRC Rural Broadband and 5G Update

Rural Broadband Update

This week, Representative Antonio Delgado (D-New York) announced a package of two bills aimed at addressing flawed broadband mapping practices and increasing broadband speeds for rural communities.

The first bill, the Broadband Speed Act (HR 4641), would require internet service providers to annually report data to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that shows the actual speeds they are capable of providing, as opposed to what they can potentially provide. This will help the FCC determine where advertised speeds match actual speeds. The second bill, the Community Broadband Mapping Act, would allow local governments, electric/telephone cooperatives, economic development/community groups and small internet providers to collect information on local broadband service. This will enable communities who are currently incorrectly designated by the FCC as having service to take action to have the information necessary to dispute that status with the FCC.

5G Update

AT&T is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to exclude 5G from its required upgraded data mapping collection. “There is broad agreement that it is not yet time to require reporting on 5G coverage” AT&T said in a statement to the FCC.

AT&T and other mobile carriers want to hide 5G coverage maps from the public while subsequently marketing the pace and breadth of their 5G rollouts. “Service standards for 5G are still emerging, precluding reporting of service-level coverage for 5G networks (other than the 5G-NR submissions already required),” AT&T wrote.

SpaceX Seeks Permission to Launch 30,000 More Satellite

SpaceX has bet its future on a network of small satellites that could beam the internet down to Earth. This month, the company’s plans got a whole lot bigger.

Hawthorne-based SpaceX has requested permission from an international regulatory group to operate as many as 30,000 satellites at a specific frequency, power level and location in space. The company had received prior permission from the U.S. government to operate about 12,000 satellites and launched 60 initial satellites in May.

The new batch of 30,000 satellites are set to be in orbits ranging from about 200 miles to 360 miles above the Earth, according to filings submitted Oct. 7 to the International Telecommunication Union, which allocates radio spectrum and satellite orbits. The filings did not include details of when the satellites would be launched.

A SpaceX spokesperson said in a statement that the company was taking steps to “responsibly scale” the total network capacity and data density to “meet the growth in users’ anticipated needs.”

More details in LA Times HERE.

 

House Democrat Unveils Broadband Legislation

— Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.) on Friday unveiled two bills aimed at improving broadband connectivity, one by requiring broadband providers to annually report actual speed data to the FCC and another to allow governments, cooperatives and small providers to use Agriculture Department grant funding for collecting data about locally available broadband service. “Our rural communities need broadband internet that is accessible, reliable, and matches their internet needs and these measures are important steps to closing the digital divide,” said Delgado, who recently held a field hearing with FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

FCC Poised to Adopt USF Recipient Broadband Speed Testing Requirements

by Joan Engebretson writing at Telecompetitor:

The FCC will vote later this month on broadband speed testing procedures for recipients of Universal Service Fund (USF) support, said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a blog post. Pai said he had circulated a draft of USF broadband speed testing requirements to the other FCC commissioners in preparation for a vote at the October FCC monthly meeting.

USF Broadband Speed Testing

Pai noted that the FCC has been reviewing testing procedures for several months aimed at ensuring that USF recipients deliver broadband at the speeds they are required to deliver as a condition for receiving USF support. He said the proposed performance measurement procedures strike “the right balance.”

“On one hand, we want to make sure that subscribers are getting the quality of service that they have been promised and our rules require,” Pai wrote. “On the other, we also want to make sure that our testing procedures don’t impose unnecessary burdens on small carriers located in hard-to-serve areas that often face unique challenges.”

He didn’t provide many details on the speed test procedures and the draft order is not yet available publicly, but he did note that the proposed requirements would change testing implementation dates so that those dates are more closely aligned with when a carrier has its first mandatory build-out obligations.

He also noted that the speed test procedures call for a pre-testing period aimed at enabling carriers to ensure that their testing systems are performing correctly before testing begins.

Speed testing could become increasingly important as companies that won funding through the Connect America Fund CAF II auction begin their buildouts, as some companies gained a bidding advantage by committing to provide higher-speed service.

Continue reading HERE.

What is this accountability noise?  It is rare that an ISP provides the level of service promoted in their marketing campaigns.  This contract accountability could make for some very nervous providers, I can smell the sweat already.