Broadband subscriptions are up, but too many households are still disconnected

Brookings Study:

The American economy has gone digital and broadband is the connective tissue enabling that transformation. Two decades into the 21st century, it’s impossible to categorize broadband as anything but essential infrastructure.

However, broadband doesn’t yet look like the country’s other essential systems. Unlike water and energy, which reach almost all households, broadband subscription gaps are sizable and build barriers to economic opportunity in the process. Whether it’s consumers who are forced to pay higher prices at a local store than online, children who must travel to do web-based homework, or job seekers missing out on employment openings, Americans who lack a private broadband subscription shoulder substantial costs.

It’s vital, then, to track how broadband subscriptions look across the country—both nationally and in individual communities. Over the past four years, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) has asked households whether they have access to the Internet “using a broadband (high speed) Internet service such as cable, fiber optic, or DSL service….” The answers reveal where subscriptions are ticking up and where gaps persist.

Full Report is HERE


FCC Moves Toward Auction of Airwaves Useful for Fast 5G Service

Todd Shields writing at Bloomberg

U.S. regulators set rules for gear operating in a swathe of airwaves that may be useful for fast 5G networks, helping to set the stage for an auction of the frequencies to mobile carriers.

The Federal Communications Commission with a 4-0 vote Thursday said equipment used in the 24 GHz airwaves must be capable of operating across all parts of that airwaves band. The requirement is designed to support full use of the airwaves.

[. . .]

The action should lead to an early 2019 auction that could fetch $3.2 billion, according to a note Thursday from Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matthew Kanterman. The sale would follow an auction of 28 GHz licenses late this year.

[. . .]

High frequencies such as 24 GHz and 28 GHz are considered ideal for the short-range, high-capacity requirements of the internet of things, a term for the millions of connected devices from cars to refrigerators that are expected to take advance of the speedy 5G connections.

Source: Bloomberg

At present, 24GHz is an unlicensed frequency that can be used for microwave point to point wireless backhaul communication. Typically for short-range communications under 2 miles. However, the appearance of the foliage in the path of the signal can play a significant role in the quality of service (QoS) for wireless communications. Discrete scatterers such as the randomly distributed leaves, twigs, branches and tree trunks can cause attenuation, scattering, diffraction, and absorption of the radiated waves. This attenuation will severely constrain the design of modern wireless communication systems. When wind and rain are present in the signal path these common conditions can induce an additional reduction in quality of service.

It is clear that the use of 24GHz in rural forested regions will present some significant challenges for usersm 5G is not a rural friendlycommunication technology.



How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation

The Nation has a long article on cell phone safety and the impact of 5G radiation.

The article is HERE. After a long argument against the use of the cell phone the article concludes:

The wireless industry’s determination to bring about the Internet of Things, despite the massive increase in radiation exposure this would unleash, raises the stakes exponentially. Because 5G radiation can only travel short distances, antennas roughly the size of a pizza box will have to be installed approximately every 250 feet to ensure connectivity. “Industry is going to need hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of new antenna sites in the United States alone,” said Moskowitz, the UC Berkeley researcher. “So people will be bathed in a smog of radiation 24/7.”

There is an alternative approach, rooted in what some scientists and ethicists call the “precautionary principle,” which holds that society doesn’t need absolute proof of hazard to place limits on a given technology. If the evidence is sufficiently solid and the risks sufficiently great, the precautionary principle calls for delaying the deployment of that technology until further research clarifies its impacts. The scientists’ petition discussed earlier urges government regulators to apply the precautionary principle to 5G technology. Current safety guidelines “protect industry—not health,” contends the petition, which “recommend[s] a moratorium on the roll-out of [5G]…until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry.”

No scientist can say with certainty how many wireless-technology users are likely to contract cancer, but that is precisely the point: We simply don’t know. Nevertheless, we are proceeding as if we do know the risk, and that the risk is vanishingly small. Meanwhile, more and more people around the world, including countless children and adolescents, are getting addicted to cell phones every day, and the shift to radiation-heavy 5G technology is regarded as a fait accompli. Which is just how Big Wireless likes it.

My question is if the use of cell phone is increasing across the US, is brain cancer rates increasing in parallel? From the graphic below, brain cancers show a slight decline, while cell phone use has been increasing.

brain cancer stats

Is The Nation article valid, or just more scaremongering?  If brain cancer and cell phone use are connected, brain cancers should be increasing.  Your thoughts?

Brookings CTI: Building a Secure 5G Network Without Nationalization

According to news reports, President Trump’s National Security Council staff has proposed government ownership of a 5G wireless network as a solution to the cybersecurity challenges presented by the new technology. Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler calls the suggestion “mind boggling” and argues that it may dampen investment in 5G infrastructure.

Full Article HERE



Internet use at home soars to more than 17 hours per week

Since the internet became mainstream less than 20 years ago, faith in traditional institutions and consumption of traditional media has also been displaced by faith in newer, digital institutions and consumption of newer, digital media, according to the 15th annual Digital Future Report recently produced by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future.

In the years since the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future published its first Digital Future Report in 2000, the internet has evolved from a secondary medium to an essential component of daily life.

Over the course of that time:

Overall internet penetration has increased from 67 to 92 percent.
Total hours per week online has steadily increased from 9.4 to 23.6.
Internet usage at home has risen from 3.3 to 17.6 hours per week.

The effect on our relationships, to media and each other

Perhaps the largest change affecting our online behavior over the life of the report was the introduction of the iPhone and other smartphone technologies in 2007, which increased the internet’s always on — and always with us — technology capabilities.

Since 2010 alone:

  • People who use their phone to access the internet has skyrocketed from 23 to 84 percent.
  • Use of smartphone email has nearly quadrupled from 21 to 79 percent.
  • The use of mobile apps increased from 49 to 74 percent.
  • GPS location service use has gone from 12 to 71 percent.
  • The percentage of people who stream music on their phone has increased from 13 to 67 percent.

Since 2001, the internet has also had an indelible impact on our relationship to physical media, and not just evidenced by the shuttering of Borders, Blockbuster Video stores and so many newspapers. In one of the most dramatic changes to occur over the life of the report, the ratio of print-to-online news consumption for all ages has gone from 85-15 in 2001 to near-parity at 51-49 in 2016.

The center also found that social networking impacted offline relationships — 62 percent said the internet was important or very important for maintaining social relationships.

Source: USC News

These numbers are for those fortunate enough to have internet which is fast enough to encourage use. Many families living in rural communities have no internet or very slow internet that will only support email and limited surfing. These number could be even higher if everyone had access to high-speed internet.

RF Energy to Treat Alzheimer

There has been a lot of concern and some brew ha ha about the danger of cell phone radiation. Details here and here.

Here is another view on the potential benefits of cell phone radiation.

Radio Amateur’s Invention to Treat Alzheimer’s Patients Going to Clinical Trials

Inveterate inventor and radio amateur Eric Knight, KB1EHE, may be on the cusp of medical history as a device he developed in collaboration with a prominent Alzheimer’s disease researcher enters clinical trials this month. Both are hoping that the device, which essentially saturates the brain with low levels of RF, may prove to be a viable treatment for the dreaded disease affecting millions.

“Sometimes breakthroughs happen in ways that are unexpected,” Knight told ARRL.

Knight learned of experiments that world-renowned Alzheimer’s researcher Dr. Gary Arendash was carrying out on mice specially bred to have the disease, exposing them to low levels of RF. Knight said the effects were dramatic, sometimes even reversing the disease’s effects in the mice. Borrowing some concepts from his early experiments with small rockets and avionics, he set about developing, and later patented, a device that could provide the requisite RF exposure to the human head.

“In the early 2000s, we were trying to figure out then how to make antennas that would wrap around the airframes of the rockets we were designing,” he said, noting that the diameter of his group’s space vehicle was about the same as that of a human head. Knight learned that Arendash was attempting to extend his investigations in a similar vein, and eventually they collaborated.

“He came at it from mice and science, I came at it from an aerospace and hobby perspective,” said Knight, who patented a device based on a bicycle-type helmet. At the same time, Arendash was developing a similar wearable — a fabric cap resembling an old-time aviator’s headgear. Both devices are embedded with small antennas to bathe the brain in electromagnetic radiation in the 900 MHz spectrum set aside for Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) applications — some 100 MHz higher than a cell phone’s frequency.  [Editor emphasis added]

“Ironic for sure,” Knight said. “Who would imagine that cell phone radio waves could be a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease?”

Knight, who has no medical background, said the device to be used in the clinical trials consists of the cap plus a palm-sized transmitter and wiring harness worn on the arm. The resulting combination has been dubbed the NeuroEM 1000. Participants will get doses of RF twice a day.

From the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) standpoint, the clinical trials aim primarily to show that the technology is safe, but Knight said he and Arendash are also looking for data that might demonstrate that the device could be beneficial in treating Alzheimer’s. The protocol they’ve developed goes further than what the FDA requires and includes before-and-after baseline data, with cognitive testing, assays of spinal fluid and blood, and PET scans.

“The hope is that there is a tiny bit of efficacy. Then we can work to refine it,” Knight said, adding, “No one is expecting a magic cure.”

H/T ARRL Newsletter 12/21/17