In their quarterly report, Telesat mentioned progress in two, disparate markets. As I noted earlier, they have signed their first LEO customer — Omniaccess a provider of connectivity to the superyacht market. Telesat is a Canadian firm and the quarterly report also said Canada’s 2019 Federal budget included a commitment to using LEO satellite services to help bridge the digital divide. They will be serving Russian oligarchs and rural Canadians.
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Telesat’s coolest development was the announcement that they had demonstrated 5G mobile backhaul. They collaborated with Vodaphone and the University of Surrey in a test of their experimental satellites and recorded round trip latency of 18-40 milliseconds. The demonstration supported video chatting, Web browsing and simultaneous streaming of up to 8K video. The team also transferred 4K video to the edge of the 5G network. SES is already providing mobile backhaul using their middle-earth orbit satellites and it seems that the new LEO constellations will be competing with them. This will be an important application for rural areas and developing nations.
Blue emphasis added. This has huge potential for rural communities as 5G mini-towers need to be connected to a broadband connection, and satellites access will cost less than laying fiber to every rural mini-tower. However, this backhaul will not support applications requiring low latency response times, such as self-driving vehicles. However, some 5G is better than no 5G.
To secure America’s 5G leadership, we need a National Spectrum Strategy, based on free market principles, that includes the following key steps:
1. The creation of a 5-year schedule of auctions that puts more high-, mid- and low-band spectrum in the hands of America’s wireless industry
2. Recommitting U.S. spectrum policy to proven free market approaches that harness the power of competition to enhance our nation’s economic and national security
3. Modernizing government policies and procedures to ensure optimal use of spectrum
This plan will unleash a significant spectrum stimulus that will create jobs, grow our economy, and help America lead the industries of the future.
— The wireless industry trade group called a recent 5G study presented to the Defense Department a “missed opportunity to collaborate” and contended it includes flawed information about the technology, in a Thursday letter to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
— The study from the Defense Innovation Board warned about the potential for Chinese dominance in 5G and recommended the Pentagon explore sharing its mid-band spectrum with wireless operators. It also suggested the U.S. was wrongly focused on high-band spectrum for 5G when the rest of the world is making lower-frequency airwaves available for next-gen networks.
— CTIA said the study would have benefited from outreach to the wireless industry. While acknowledging that midband is necessary for 5G, CTIA said the U.S. approach to supply a mix of airwaves is the right one, and that efforts to free up midband airwaves should be geared toward exclusive licenses — not sharing models.
BRING ON THE BROADBAND BILLS
— Senate Commerce Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) earned quick praise from telecom industry trade groups for his new Broadband Interagency Coordination Act, filed Thursday with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). The measure would compel an agreement among the FCC, NTIA and USDA to coordinate on federal broadband subsidies. A bipartisan group of senators including Klobuchar also reintroduced the Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act, which would mandate a federal study on — what else — the impact of broadband on the U.S. economy.
Though it may still sound like science fiction, over the past 15 years, robotic-assisted surgeries have become practically commonplace. The vast majority of these operations are performed by the da Vinci surgical system, a four-armed, minimally invasive surgical robot controlled by a doctor sitting at a nearby console. In 2018, the da Vinci system was used in roughly 1 million surgeries. However, some experts see surgical robotics as just a stepping-stone to the next transformational surgery technology: telesurgery, or surgeries conducted by doctors located miles away from their patients.
Telesurgery procedures are still exceedingly rare, due in part to concerns around internet reliability and infrastructure. Controlling a surgery remotely is possible only if the data connection is broad and secure. But now, with the adoption of 5G communication networks, there’s reason to believe that mass-market telesurgeries are finally on the horizon. In fact, earlier this year, unconfirmed reports emerged that surgeons in China had conducted the world’s first 5G telesurgery on a human patient.
Who could benefit the most from remote surgeries? Rural folks a significant distance from urban medical centers. However, it is doubtful these remote communities will have 5G and da Vinci robots anytime in the near future. Rural communities will be the last in the 5G queue if they ever get 5G.
What percentage of the population is without broadband Internet options?
The Eighth Broadband Progress Report finds that approximately 19 million Americans—6 percent of the population—still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. In rural areas, nearly one-fourth of the population —14.5 million people—lack access to this service.
Eighth Broadband Progress Report | Federal Communications …
I watched to the President and FCC Pai and I am encouraged that Trump is showing leadership on the rural broadband issues. However, the 20 billion rural initiative over a decade will only cover 6 million of the 14 million without broadband access, this is less than half. It is going to take a lot of costly fiber as every one of the 5G small cell towers requires a big pipe backhaul connection. In today’s world that is a lot of fiber.
There will soon be alternative backhaul options, the LEO Sat business plans include 5G backhaul. I am not sure the land-based infrastructure people in the WH meeting are aware of the change that is about to happen. Is the government aware of the space-based networks and their potential to change the backhaul game?
Looking forward to seeing the results of this meeting. Rural broadband needs all the public attention it can get. In the scheme of things, rural communities will be the last to get 5G unless some government action is taken to change the ROI for the telecom providers.
Update 04-12-19: From POLITICO Morning Tech
5G IN THE WHITE HOUSE — Pai is slated to head to the White House this afternoon for a 5G-themed meeting with Trump, as Margaret reported for Pros. The afternoon event will focus on U.S. efforts to build the next-generation networks and comes amid feuding by Trump advisers on how best to advance the technology. The meeting is also expected to include a rural broadband funding announcement, according to an administration official. Remember: Pai briefed Trump on American leadership in 5G last week, and Trump also heard from AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson about his company’s progress.
Verizon activated its first 5G network in the U.S. on April 3, a week ahead of schedule, and Digital Trends flew to Chicago to see how it performs. In the video, you can see what a Verizon mini-cell looks like hung on lamp poles. The tests demonstrate why mmWave technology will not work well in rural areas. The high-speed range of the mini-cell tested was less than a city block. Note the 5G timeline suggested by the reviewer, 2021 +?