Administration

Note: Posting may be suspended for a week or more as I recover from pancreatic cancer surgery. My surgery is on December 30th, with 5 to 6 days for recovery. Once home, I plan to resume posting. Thank you for your patience.

FCC Funds Satellite Broadband in Nevada County

The Union has the details:

The FCC is giving Viasat more than $400,000 to bring high-speed satellite internet to Nevada County customers.

The funding is part of the Federal Communications Commission‘s Connect America Fund, whose second phase granted $14 million to California internet service providers to connect rural areas with high-speed internet. Viasat was the only satellite-based internet service provider to win funding and will receive $429,669 to service just over 1,000 customers in the county over 10 years.

According to Nevada County’s broadband strategy, low population density and rugged topography make providing broadband internet a challenge, compelling the county to rely on a patchwork approach that pulls from many different resources and brings together varied solutions throughout the county.

“All together, these challenges create a patchwork of coverage and non-coverage areas across our county,” according to the county broadband website. “It is common to find a home that has wireless or wired service, yet the next door neighbor cannot be served due to one of these challenges.”

Continue reading HERE.

Money Quote: “In the county’s broadband plan, satellite internet is an afterthought, finding the Connect America Fund as unreliable . . .”

The County Plan does not recognize there are three kinds of satellite internet provided by space-based ISPs: geosynchronous orbit, with high latency, mid orbit with lower latency and low earth orbit with low latency. The future is low latency high-speed internet from space.

A Viasat project that is going to take 3-10 years is too little too late. SpaceX will start offering “fiber-optic like services” from low latency satellites starting in mid-2020, with full service by 2012, in just two years customers will have access to higher-speed services than Viasat can provide from geosynchronous orbit over three to ten years. Amazon plans to have full ISP service from space in five years, OneWeb three years.

LEO broadband will be worth waiting for, 15ms latency, 1Gig + speeds up and down.

More details HERE and HERE

Nextgov: Laser-Linked Satellites Could Deliver ‘Internet from Space’

 

sat_model

Such a network could potentially reach remote and underserved areas.

A new design could double the network capacity of future “internet from space” systems.

Satellites do not yet play a major role in the world’s internet infrastructure. However, this may soon be set to change.

Within the next decade, a new generation of satellites could lay the foundations for an “internet from space,” says Ankit Singla, professor at ETH Zurich’s Network Design & Architecture Lab. His team is investigating how to improve the performance of large-scale computer networks, including the internet.

Exploiting advances in cost-cutting technologies in the space sector, the new satellite systems would use thousands of satellites instead of the tens of satellites used in past systems. Laser light could then link these satellites to each other to form a network.

The coverage these satellites would provide could reach remote regions that currently have no or very limited access to the internet. These regions are either entirely unconnected or poorly connected to the intercontinental fiber-optic cables that power today’s internet.

The ‘Internet from Space’ Race

The capabilities of the LEO satellites have triggered a new, contested “space race,” with heavyweights such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon throwing their hats into the ring. These companies are developing large-scale satellite constellations with thousands to tens of thousands of satellites. These would orbit the Earth at speeds of 27,000 km/h (16,777 mp/h) at a height of around 500 km (around 311 miles) (traditional geostationary satellites orbit at around 35,768 km (22,225 miles).

SpaceX, for example, has already launched its first 120 satellites and is planning to offer a satellite-based broadband internet service from 2020. In addition to global coverage, the technology used in the “internet from space” promises high data transfer rates without major delays in data transmission. The latency, as computer scientists call these delays, is significantly lower than that of geostationary satellites, and even that of underground fiber-optic lines for long-distance communication.

“If these plans succeed, it would be a huge leap forward in the world’s internet infrastructure,” says Debopam Bhattacherjee, a doctoral candidate working with Singla to investigate the optimal design of networks for satellite-based broadband internet in order to guarantee a high-bandwidth, delay-free data flow.

Continue reading this long article HERE.

 

CPUC Invests $12.7 Million in Broadband Infrastructure and Access for Unserved California Households

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) last week approved $12,689,849.72 in grant funding to build high-speed broadband Internet infrastructure and access to unserved Californians. The awards, under the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) broadband infrastructure grant program administered by the CPUC, will serve households in Lassen, Modoc, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties, and include affordable subscription options.

Press Release is HERE.

 

China’s First LEO 5G Satellite to Launch This Month

China LEOChina’s first LEO 5G broadband satellite. Photo is courtesy of China News Service.

China’s first LEO 5G broadband satellite with high capacity to meet international competition will be launched by Chinese commercial aerospace company, Galaxy Space, at the end of December, according to a statement sent to the Global Times.

The satellite is the first in China to be built with a capacity of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) and it will be, according to the company, the world’s first LEO broadband satellite in the Q-/V-band, an extremely high frequency band.

The satellite has already been developed and ground tests have been carried out with stable results. Once in place, the satellite will be able to cover an area of 300,000 square kilometers, roughly 50 times the size of Shanghai. It is expected to narrow the technological gap between Chinese and U.S. companies OneWweb and SpaceX, who have already deployed LEO communications satellites.

Continue reading HERE

 

Broadband DATA Act Unanimously Passes Senate

December 20, 2019

The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act unanimously passed the Senate. The bill would:

  • Require the Federal Communications Commission to collect granular service availability data from wired, fixed wireless, and satellite broadband providers.
  • Set strong parameters for service availability data collected from mobile broadband providers to ensure accuracy.
  • Permit the FCC to consider whether to collect verified coverage data from state, local, and tribal governments, as well as from other entities.
  • Create a process for consumers; state, local, and tribal governments; and other groups to challenge FCC maps with their own data and requires the FCC to determine how to structure that process without making it overly burdensome on challengers.
  • Establish a crowdsourcing process that allows the public to participate in data collection.
  • Strengthen enforcement against providers that willfully and knowingly, or recklessly submit materially inaccurate broadband data.
  • Require the FCC to use the newly-created maps when making new awards of broadband funding.

Emphasis added.

Apple Has Secret Team Working on Satellites to Beam Data to Devices

The iPhone maker is ramping up hiring, hoping for the initiative to produce results within five years.

Bloomberg has the details:

Apple Inc. has a secret team working on satellites and related wireless technology, striving to find new ways to beam data such as internet connectivity directly to its devices, according to people familiar with the work.

The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker has about a dozen engineers from the aerospace, satellite and antenna design industries working on the project with the goal of deploying their results within five years, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal company efforts. Work on the project is still early and could be abandoned, the people said, and a clear direction and use for satellites hasn’t been finalized. Still, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has shown interest in the project, indicating it’s a company priority.

Apple’s work on communications satellites and next-generation wireless technology means the aim is likely to beam data to a user’s device, potentially mitigating the dependence on wireless carriers, or for linking devices together without a traditional network. Apple could also be exploring satellites for more precise location tracking for its devices, enabling improved maps and new features.

Continue reading HERE

SpaceX Is Lobbying Against Amazon’s Internet-Beaming Satellites

Amazon is trying to get a waiver to FCC rules that companies like SpaceX and OneWeb had to follow.

Motherboard has the details:

When Amazon confirmed it was planning to launch 3,236 broadband internet-beaming satellites into low-Earth orbit, much of the media reported it as if it were a done deal—the latest, inevitable step in the corporation’s quest to conquer commerce, the cloud, and beyond.

Amazon officials said the massive satellite constellation, called Project Kuiper, would one day provide low-latency, high-speed broadband to tens of millions of underserved people around the world, no doubt also connecting them to the wide world of Amazon offerings.

But before Project Kuiper can launch, it must receive approval from the Federal Communications Commission to operate within a certain frequency spectrum. In an application filed this July, Amazon requested a special waiver to FCC rules that would grant it the necessary permission. The problem, though, is that the FCC already handed out licenses to that spectrum years ago to nine other satellite internet companies in a different, more complicated process.

Those companies—including SpaceX and OneWeb—are now lobbying the FCC to deny Amazon’s waiver request, according to FCC records. If successful, they could significantly reduce Project Kuiper’s viability in an already oversaturated market.

Top SpaceX officials have met with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and other agency staff at least three times to lodge in-person complaints about Project Kuiper’s application, according to FCC records. The first meeting came several weeks after Amazon filed its application, the most recent took place on Dec. 2 and 3.

“Amazon’s overt attempt to override long-standing rules would undermine confidence in Commission processes, harm competition, and eliminate broadband options for consumers,” SpaceX lawyers wrote in a Nov. 25 filing. Project Kuiper would have a “significant detrimental impact [on] SpaceX … Amazon’s flawed analysis yields results that defy common sense.”

Industry experts said Amazon’s request is unorthodox, but there’s a clear reason why the company has tried a backdoor route to gain access to the coveted spectrum.

Continue reading HERE

“I’d sort of written Amazon off as not being viable simply because they hadn’t gotten started and these other guys—SpaceX, OneWeb—are already putting satellites up,” Roger Rusch, a satellite and telecommunications consultant with TelAstra told Motherboard. “By the time Amazon gets started, they’re already probably going to be years behind them.

Amazon Is Moving Project Kuiper Satellite Operation to Huge Redmond Facility

GeekWire the details:

Amazon announced today that its Project Kuiper satellite operation has outgrown its current office space, and will move into 219,000 square feet of space that it’s leasing in Redmond, Wash. — the same city where one of its chief rivals, SpaceX, has its own satellite operation.

The new headquarters facility, spread across two buildings, will include offices and design space, research and development labs and prototype manufacturing facilities, Amazon said today in a news release.

“Renovations on the facility are already underway, and the Kuiper team will move into the new site in 2020,” Amazon said.

Kuiper HQ will be in the same locale as Microsoft’s world headquarters, and within about an hour’s drive (on a good day) from the growing HQ for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ other big space venture, Blue Origin, south of Seattle in Kent, Wash.

Redmond Commerce Center, which is about a half-mile from SpaceX’s original Redmond office building, seems the likeliest prospect for Project Kuiper’s headquarters. It has two buildings that were recently leased to new tenants, with a total of just over 219,000 square feet. Renovation work is underway, according to Redmond city records. The property’s parking lot has spaces for 300 vehicles.

One real estate source told GeekWire that the site was being cleaned up this afternoon inside and out, apparently for the new tenants. Amazon would not confirm the location of Kuiper’s Redmond digs, but we’ll update this story with anything further we find out. (And for what it’s worth, SpaceX has moved its Starlink satellite operation a few miles farther out, to Redmond Ridge Corporate Center.)

Continue Reading HERE.