T-Mobile Rolls Out ‘Foundational Layer’ of 5G Wireless, Launches Two Compatible Devices

 

Details on GeekWire.com

The money quote for rural users:

Critics claim that the marketplace will become less competitive if T-Mobile’s mega-merger with Sprint is allowed to go through. But the companies say that the deal will help them improve wireless service, particularly to rural and underserved communities.

The money quotes for the mmWave technophobes is this is a low-band roll out, with mid-band next. These are are all frequencies currently in use, mmWave does not have much application in rural communities.

CPUC to Hold Communications en Banc to Discuss the Future of California’s Communications Grid

SAN FRANCISCO, December 5, 2019 – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is hosting an En Banc on the future of California’s communications grid to address how the state’s processes and regulations will need to evolve to stay relevant to Californians.

WHAT: CPUC Communications Division’s En Banc: “A Provider Perspective on the Future of California’s Communications Grid”

WHEN: Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: CPUC Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102; also available via webcast at http://www.adminmonitor.com/ca/cpuc

BACKGROUND

The communications market is changing rapidly. What began as a statewide, copper-based telephone network of franchise monopoly local exchange companies has evolved into a diverse, multi-provider and multi-technology broadband network that relies on copper, fiber optic, wireless, and satellite infrastructure.

This En Banc is the second in a series of stakeholder engagement opportunities envisioned by the CPUC’s Communications Division to address how the state’s processes and regulations will need to evolve to stay relevant to Californians. The public is invited to this En Banc to hear providers’ perspectives regarding the state’s communications grid, challenges, and future work relating to network resiliency, reliability, affordability, and consumer protection.

There will be an opportunity for public comments at the En Banc.

For more information, including a final agenda please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/CDenbanc.

Source: CPUC Mailing List[lightly edited]

I am wondering if “satellite infrastructure” includes the introduction of LEO satellites capable of providing ubiquitous fiber quality broadband to rural users across California. I suspect that the CPUC is only thinking of HughesNet and Viasat, the only providers of rural broadband today.

Starlink Update: Terminal Pre-Sales

According to an LA Times roundtable discussion with Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX CEO, there will be terminal pre-sale.

When SpaceX’s broadband service starts mid-2020, the initial experience will be “bumpy,” company President Gwynne Shotwell said Friday.

However, she said she expects SpaceX to mature as an internet service provider by 2021.

The company will take pre-sales for customer service, similar to what fellow Elon Musk-led company Tesla Inc. has done for new vehicles, Shotwell said during a media roundtable at the company’s Hawthorne headquarters. And early customers will be part of that learning curve.

“We’re not going to fib and say it’s going to be the best thing ever,” she said. “When you get service, it’s going to be great. But it’ll be bumpy for a while.”
SpaceX has already launched two rounds of 60 satellites each. The company expects it will need 24 launches, with about 1,440 satellites, to have enough to provide full global coverage. SpaceX has not yet determined customer pricing.

Shotwell said subsequent launches will see satellites with experimental coatings to reduce their brightness in the sky, which has been a concern for astronomers who fear the satellites could affect telescope images. The satellites are in low-Earth orbit and there could be a lot of them — SpaceX has asked an international regulatory group for permission to eventually operate as many as 30,000 satellites.

Continue reading HERE.

I am saving my quarters for a pre-purchase of a Starlink terminal. Yea, I use to save my pennies, but I live in California, which distorts reality.

No New Radiation Threats from 5G

No new radiation threats from 5G

5G doesn’t pose new cellphone radiation threats, according to the FCC, which spent six years reviewing the issue and receiving public feedback. The regulator voted unanimously this week to keep in place standards for how much exposure to the radio-frequency energy cellphones and antennas emit is safe. The rules cover consumer devices, and the 5G infrastructure used on cell towers and rooftops, as the four major U.S. wireless carriers race to roll out the next-generation of wireless networks.

FCC Finally Discovers Coverage Maps are Broken

The FCC discovered they can not fix something if they do not know where it is broken. The nation’s broadband maps are truly broken, as any rural cell phone user can attest.

Through the investigation, staff discovered that the MF-II coverage maps submitted by Verizon, U.S. Cellular, and T-Mobile likely overstated each provider’s actual coverage and did not reflect on-the-ground performance in many instances. Only 62.3% of staff drive tests achieved at least the minimum download speed predicted by the coverage maps—with U.S. Cellular achieving that speed in only 45.0% of such tests, T-Mobile in 63.2% of tests, and Verizon in 64.3% of tests. Similarly, staff stationary tests showed that each provider achieved sufficient download speeds meeting the minimum cell edge probability in fewer than half of all test locations (20 of 42 locations). In addition, staff was unable to obtain any 4G LTE signal for 38% of drive tests on U.S. Cellular’s network, 21.3% of drive tests on T-Mobile’s network, and 16.2% of drive tests on Verizon’s network, despite each provider reporting coverage in the relevant area.

The Full FCC Staff report is HERE.

 

5G from Space Won’t Solve All Slow Internet Problems, Analysts Warn

earth-surrounded-by-starlink-satellites

HOUSTON — New phones will get faster internet than ever before thanks to improved 5G technology, but don’t expect to get blazing-quick speed overnight, a panel of analysts warned.

A discussion at space company forum SpaceCom here in late November went over the benefits and drawbacks of 5G, which is already available in limited markets in the United States and will expand even further in 2020. SpaceX and Amazon are among the companies racing into space to deploy satellites to support 5G.

Continue reading HERE

 

FCC Announces Plan to Launch $9 Billion 5G Fund for Rural America

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai intends to establish the 5G Fund, which would make up to $9 billion in Universal Service Fund support available to carriers to deploy advanced 5G mobile wireless services in rural America. This investment would be allocated through a reverse auction and would target hard-to-serve areas with sparse populations and/or rugged terrain. The $9 billion Fund also would set aside at least $1 billion specifically for deployments facilitating precision agriculture needs. The 5G Fund would replace the planned Mobility Fund Phase II, which would have provided federal support for 4G LTE service in unserved areas.

Press Release HERE.

 

LEO Launch Schedules

SpaceX is launching 12,000 satellites, which can provide low latency “fiber-like broadband” to rural users around the globe. Initial Starlink service is projected to start in the Northern US by mid-summer, with full US coverage by the end of 2020. SpaceX has launched 120 Starlink satellites, with 60 more planned in December. SpaceX is planning two launches per month in 2020, adding capacity and customers with each new launch. By January 2021, the Starlink constellation will have 1610 satellites in orbit, providing high-speed broadband services to customers.

OneWeb, SpaceX’s nearest competitor, has launched six satellites, with more planned in 2020, starting in February, then again in October and November. Each launch will insert 32 more satellites in orbit. OneWeb is not expected to begin service until they have 350 satellites on orbit.

Screen Shot 2019-12-04 at 2.03.00 PM
Red dates indicate satellites launched, blue scheduled launches.

Russian Soyuz-ST to Launch OneWeb Communications Satellites in 2020 [Update 12-8-19]

Three launches of the Russian Soyuz-ST carrier rocket, including with the UK OneWeb communications satellites, from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou are planned for next year, a space industry source told Sputnik.

“In 2020, three launches of the Soyuz-ST are planned from the Guiana Space Centre,” the source said on Tuesday, adding that the launches are planned for the months of February, October and November.

Update: First launch of UK’s OneWeb satellites from Baikonur now set for 30 January.

In November 2020, over 30 OneWeb communications satellites should be launched into orbit, the space industry source told Sputnik.

Last month, OneWeb announced that the launching of its satellites on Russia’s Soyuz rocket were being postponed until next year.

In June 2015, Russian space agency Roscosmos signed contracts with OneWeb and the French Arianespace company for 21 commercial launches – from the European Space Agency’s Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan, and the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East.

Source: Space Daily

Comment:  According to some sources each Soyuz launch should carry 32 satellites into orbit, other sources 30.   In November 2020 OneWeb could have a constellation of over 90 satellites, perhaps as many as 102 (6+32+32+32).  The February launch should give us a clue as to the number of birds per launch vehicle.  By November SpaceX should have 0ver 1,500 Starlinks in orbit, given the aggressive two launches per month schedule for 2020.

 

RCRC: Broadband Update

On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees broadband policy, approved a multitude of bipartisan broadband and tech-related bills on a variety of topics, from broadband mapping and network security to freeing up spectrum. Two bills in particular were notable in regard to rural broadband.

The first of which was the “Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act” or the Broadband DATA Act (HR 4229), which would require the government to collect granular information about which areas in the U.S. have access to high-speed internet and which do not. The Senate Commerce Committee advanced its own version of the Broadband DATA Act earlier this year, meaning there is significant momentum to move the bill onto President Trump’s desk. The second significant bill was the “Mapping Accuracy Promotion Services Act” (MAPS Act) (HR 4227). This measure would bar anyone from “willfully, knowingly, or recklessly” submitting broadband internet access service coverage information or data to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for mapping purposes if it is untrue. This legislation was largely in response to an admission earlier this year by the FCC that its maps were inaccurate because one internet service provider gave the agency false information about its broadband coverage.

Last week, Senators Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) introduced two broadband-related bills. The first was the Rural Broadband Financing Flexibility Act, led by Senator Capito, which would allow state and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance public-private rural broadband projects, and allow the federal government to assist state and local governments in bond payments. The second was the “Rural Broadband Investment Tax Credit Act”, led by Senator Hassan, which would create a federal tax credit that states and localities could direct toward rural broadband projects. Read a one-pager on the new bills that Senators Hassan and Capito introduced here.