Picking Up The Broadband Tab

— Internet connectivity is back in the spotlight today as Trump meets with Democratic leaders to discuss how to pay for a possible $2 trillion infrastructure plan (which could help fund both rural broadband and AI). House Energy and Commerce, meanwhile, holds a hearing on Democrats’ legislation slating $40 billion for broadband. “The only way we’re going to get rural broadband deployment is with money,” telecom subcommittee chair Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) told John. “There just isn’t a business case to do it.” The big question: Where’s this cash coming from?

— Doyle expressed interest in auctioning C-band airwaves, which he says could generate tens of billions of dollars for broadband buildout. Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (now a T-Mobile adviser) will testify that $40 billion is necessary and should go toward gigabit-speed internet.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

Note: The Infrastructure talks have broken up due to some name calling by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

Pelosi ratchets up rhetoric, says Trump may have committed ‘impeachable offense’ in ‘plain sight’

Trump walks out of the meeting after three minutes.   This is not how to get critical infrastructure plan in place.  Your thoughts?

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On the Edge of Nowhere

 

By Russ Steele

It feels like being on the edge of nowhere with no internet connection at our campsite. When we made reservations last year one the things we checked was WiFi access at our chosen campsite. Now that we are there-there is no WiFi, we have to walk about 200 feet to get connected.

According to the Camp Host, a winter lighting storm struck the antenna destroying the antenna and feed cable, the router escaping damage. The only WiFi source is a router with no external antenna.

With limited access, comment moderation may be slow but will try to make contact once a day to check the comments, posting will be as time permits, as we are vacationing with friends.

SpaceX’s Elon Musk says ‘Goodness’ Will Come From Twice-Delayed Starlink Launch

GeekWire has a long article on Starlink HERE.

. . .This first launch is primarily aimed at demonstrating the technology for what could eventually amount to as many as 11,000 satellites in low Earth orbit.

Musk said only about 400 satellites would be required to build up a “useful” satellite constellation, which translates into about six launches after this mission’s scheduled deployment. Mark Juncosa, vice president of vehicle engineering at SpaceX, said another six launches would provide good coverage over the United States. An additional six to 12 launches would raise the satellite tally high enough to cover the world.

“Within a year and a half, maybe two years, SpaceX will probably have more satellites in orbit than all other satellites combined,” Musk said.

Continues reading HERE.

 

Verizon 5G Mini Tower in Chicago (Updated)

This is ugly:

Chicago_Verizon 5G minitower
If this is what 5G mini towers are going to look like 5G is going to be a hard sell in older cities that value their historic charm. This one is in Chicago, not the most charming place in the world. Do you want one of these on every block in your community?

Digital Trends has a review of the Galaxy-10S 5G phone from Samsung in Chicago, details HERE.

Update 05-17-19:

5G networks have only just begun to spread—a few providers, including AT&T and Verizon, have started going live in a handful of cities. Already, though, the NIMBY problem looms large for those who want to see the next generation of wireless technology proliferate.

And last month, in what could be a precedent-setting decision, a San Francisco judge ruled that the aesthetic argument alone can be enough to justify the rejection of new 5G infrastructure.

The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by T-Mobile against the city and county, challenging a 2011 city ordinance limiting telecommunications companies from installing 5G lines and equipment on utility poles. T-Mobile argued that the local law was preempted by state law. Now, a judge has determined it wasn’t, and agreed with San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s argument that putting 5G equipment up on San Francisco’s utility poles could take away from the city’s allure as a tourist destination, by “diminish[ing] the City’s beauty.”

Source NextGov.com

 

 

The Beckville Network — DIY Fiber Innovation

By Russ Steele

Access to the VAST fiber optic network in Western Nevada County is . . . “what we need”

“I’m self-employed from a home office. Access to this broadband has improved my productivity immensely and reduced downtime. I often have to watch videos for research or shuttle large files to clients, and now I never have to worry about somebody else in the household (like my teenage son) using streaming services at the same time. We all get what we need.

Beckville Network Board Member

I learned about the innovative Beckville Network and it’s connection to the VAST fiber network in Nevada County from Peter Brown and Chelsea Walterscheid at the Sierra Business Council when Peter interviewed me for his Nevada County Broadband Strategic Plan Project. During the interview, he told me about a recent meeting he had with Mike McLaughlin, Beckville Network CEO. Mike is the lead innovator for the non-profit corporation that operates the network. 

Why a non-profit corporation? VAST will not provide service to an individual, only business or corporation. To gain access to the VAST fiber network required the formation of a formal business entity, in this case, a non-profit corporation.

I contacted Mike by email and he graciously agrees to an internet interview, which I have edited for length and clarity 

The Beckville Network is a fixed wireless network with a point of presence (POP) on the VAST Fiber network that follows Newtown Road west of Nevada City. The POP provides dedicated 200Mbps symmetrical access. From the POP the Corporation provides Wireless bi-directional services to 13 neighborhood households at speeds between 50 – 120 Mbps, with a latency of 12-15 ms, according to Mike.

Russ: How is the broadband distributed . . .?

Mike: “Our distribution is entirely fixed wireless. My house is the “main hub” and we have 2 other repeater sites, one is another member house, the other is on a members hilltop and is an entirely off-grid, solar powered, relay tower.”

Russ: Estimated start-up development costs and how was the development finances?

Mike: “We started up with 10 members for under $10,000. Joining members cover a share of the startup costs. We were able to bootstrap the network from the membership. “

Russ: The fee to join the network:

Mike: “The current fee is $500. This helps us buy all the necessary equipment and helps recoup some of the initial investment for the original members (who get paid back in lower cost service).” 

Russ: The average monthly user fees?

“$50-70. It is tiered based on when you joined and how many members we have. Our goal is $40-50/month once we have about 20 members.”

Russ: What is the growth potential?

Mike: “It’s limited by volunteer input.  Our goal right now is to get to 20 member households and then revisit our desire to continue growing. I believe this is a number where the monthly fees are low and the maintenance time and costs also stay low. One thing we have always had in mind was trying to inspire more local micro-ISPs and lend a hand where we can.”

Russ: What were the challenges in creating your non-profit corporation?  

Mike: “. . .There are definitely positives and negatives to the business entity. Doing it over again, I would at least consider a co-op model, especially if I wanted to try to grow it further. The non-profit was chosen primarily for the goodwill aspect, . .”

This project should inspire others to follow the Beckville Network model and learn from Mike’ experience. As he indicated above Mike is willing to help others form a micro-ISP. VAST has been very clear from the beginning they are not interested in working with individual users while providing access to businesses and corporations.

More of Nevada County can have access to a fiber optic network if they are willing to invest in the time and effort required to organize a neighborhood and create a corporate entity.  Mike and the Beckville Board of Directors have proven it can be done.  Let’s have less complaining about the lack of broadband access in Nevada County and more action!

Ookla Rolls Out 5G Interactive Map To Track 5G Deployment

Speed data-tester Ookla has come up with an interactive 5G map which would allow users to track 5G rollout in cities across the globe. Ookla updates the 5G map weekly with the information available about 5G deployments as and when they occur.

Link to interactive Map is HERE.

Guess which year your rural community will be placed in the Ookla 5G Map? Would you consider never as an option?

Starlink Mission Statement

MISSION OVERVIEW

SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, May 15 for the launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. SpaceX’s Starlink is a next-generation satellite network capable of connecting the globe, especially reaching those who are not yet connected, with reliable and affordable broadband internet services.

The launch window opens at 10:30 p.m. EDT on May 15, or 2:30 UTC on May 16, and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 16, or 4:00 UTC. A backup launch window opens on Thursday, May 16 at 10:30 p.m. EDT, or 2:30 UTC on May 17, and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 17, or 4:00 UTC. Falcon 9’s first stage for this mission previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018 and the Iridium-8 mission in January 2019. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately one hour and two minutes after liftoff, the Starlink satellites will begin deployment at an altitude of 440km. They will then use onboard propulsion to reach an operational altitude of 550km.

SpaceX designed Starlink to connect end users with low latency, high bandwidth broadband services by providing continual coverage around the world using a network of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit. To manufacture and launch a constellation of such scale, SpaceX is using the same rapid iteration in design approach that led to the successes of Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon. As such, Starlink’s simplified design is significantly more scalable and capable than its first experimental iteration.

With a flat-panel design featuring multiple high-throughput antennas and a single solar array, each Starlink satellite weighs approximately 227kg, allowing SpaceX to maximize mass production and take full advantage of Falcon 9’s launch capabilities. To adjust position on orbit, maintain intended altitude, and deorbit, Starlink satellites feature Hall thrusters powered by krypton. Designed and built upon the heritage of Dragon, each spacecraft is equipped with a Startracker navigation system that allows SpaceX to point the satellites with precision. Importantly, Starlink satellites are capable of tracking on-orbit debris and autonomously avoiding collision. Additionally, 95 percent of all components of this design will quickly burn in Earth’s atmosphere at the end of each satellite’s lifecycle—exceeding all current safety standards—with future iterative designs moving to complete disintegration.

This mission will push the operational capabilities of the satellites to the limit. SpaceX expects to encounter issues along the way, but our learnings here are key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service in the future.

Source: SpaceX.com