Items tagged with Broadband

In today's work from home climate, a reliable internet connection is more important than ever. From logging in to corporate networks and remote meetings from home, to kids trying to access online assignments while simultaneously joining in on Google Meet/Zoom sessions, high-speed internet is now of even greater importance and an essential utility for virtually anyone. Some internet service providers (ISPs) have taken advantage of the situation by raising prices and instituting consumer-unfriendly data caps. Comcast caught quite a bit of [warranted] flak for planning to implement data caps in the northeastern United States during a pandemic, and has twice been forced to delay the... Read more...
Virgin Media is currently trialing fiber internet that is insanely fast and could eventually deploy to residential customers. In the South East England town of Reading, Berkshire, Virgin Media conducted performance tests using prototype Infinera X.R. Optics technology. Using this new tech within its existing infrastructure, the telecommunications company was able to achieve data transfer rates of 400Gbps with a single fiber. "In the trial, the traditional network transceivers were replaced with cutting-edge technology which split a single fibre optic cable into many connections, all taking a share of the huge capacity," said Virgin Media when announcing its breakthrough. "This means a single... Read more...
Two weeks ago, we brought you news that Comcast was walking back its decision to institute new 1.2TB data caps for customers in November 2020. Instead, the company said that the caps would be delayed until July 2021, with customers be charged $10 for each additional 50GB of data over the cap starting with their August 2021 bill. Comcast didn't do this out of the goodness of its heart, however. The company only acted after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro turned up the heat on the company. “As Pennsylvanians continue to navigate this pandemic, we know millions are relying on the internet for school and work more than ever. This is not the time to change the rules... Read more...
SpaceX is hoping its Starlink venture will become the first satellite constellation to not go belly-up financially, even though it anticipates a "deep chasm of negative flow over the next year or so." There is light at the other end of the tunnel, though, and getting there begins in earnest today with SpaceX opening up preorders for its satellite broadband service to the public. The ultimate goal of Starlink is to make broadband connectivity a reality in places where up to this point it has been a pipe dream. This entails sending thousands of satellites into low orbit. SpaceX has sending satellites into space on a fairly regular basis, and has so far has attracted 10,000 users in the United States... Read more...
As the demand for internet-connected devices and services grows, so does the need for improved broadband internet globally. Soon, the minimum speeds that the FCC lists will not cut it for the modern connected family where everyone has a phone, computer, or both at-hand. To help navigate the future needs of broadband, Nokia and Vodafone trialed a new fiber optic technology that would allow speeds up to 100 Gb/s on a single wavelength. The new technology called a Passive Optical Network (PON) works by combining 25G optics with "state-of-the-art digital signal processing (DSP) techniques." Once the state-of-the-art DSP techniques are adopted, moving to 50G and 100G networks should be "straightforward... Read more...
We've been hearing a lot of about SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet beta over the past few months, and it now looks as though the company is ready to start delivering the goods to eager customers. Earlier this week, SpaceX began sending out invites to people that had previously shown interest in joining the Starlink beta.  Starlink won't come cheap, however, as according to the emails that were sent out, it will cost $99/month during the beta period. Considering that some people in metropolitan areas can get gigabit internet for that price or less, Starlink might at first seem a bit overpriced. However, Starlink isn't aimed at people that have access to traditional cable... Read more...
With the massive uptick in people working from home due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines in place, the load on our broadband infrastructure has skyrocketed. Here are some tips – mostly free – to maximize and optimize your Wi-Fi and broadband performance so that you can get work done more quickly and efficiently, with better quality video conferences and virtual happy hours. Also these, these tips should help with your online gaming performance when you need some [well-deserved] downtime during this chaos as well. First up, there are a number of things that you can do that won’t cost you a single penny… Update Your Router’s... Read more...
Let me come right out and say exactly how I feel—data caps are a load of horse manure. Yes, I know, in theory they prevent the Internet from buckling from a handful of abusers, so that we can all enjoy access to a vital resource. But in practice, I'd argue they are unnecessary. Need proof? Take the current situation in which more people than ever are either telecommuting, or stuck at home. Despite the uptick in usage because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Internet has not buckled. I'm old enough to remember when the Internet was not a thing (not like today, anyway), and when dial-up access was metered in allotted minutes. It feels like we are in a similar situation today, only instead... Read more...
If you’re one of the millions of Americans stuck at home right now due to COVID-19/coronavirus, some of you may have noticed that your broadband speeds have taken a hit in the past few weeks. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that an influx of workers “telecommuting” instead of working from the office, and children accessing educational materials from the computers at home would put a strain on broadband networks. Throw in an massive increase in online gaming, and you can see why some networks might be stressed. Well, the folks over at BroadbandNow have posted their Internet Speed Analysis for 200 top cities in the United States for March 15th through... Read more...
It goes without saying the coronavirus is claiming lives, wrecking world financial markets, and shutting down amusement parks and sporting events around the country. AT&T has taken the noble stance of removing data caps on its broadband plans -- at least temporarily -- and now Comcast is responding in its own way to make life at home more bearable for those under quarantine, have been forced to work from home, or are out of work during these tumultuous times. In this case, Comcast is making changes to its Internet Essentials program, which is only available to qualifying low-income Americans. The service usually costs $9.95 per month and offers download/upload speeds that are capped... Read more...
As schools and businesses around the United States consider what they're going to do to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, many are opting to have students and employees learn/work from home. That means that students and employees need broadband internet access for things like videoconferencing and working remotely. Unfortunately, many consumers in the United States have data caps on their broadband plans, and if they exceed those caps they are charged significantly for "excess use" by the service provider. The first major ISP to confirm that it will suspend all usage caps during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is AT&T. A coalition of 17 senators and consumer groups are now pressuring... Read more...
Many Americans feel like the state of broadband Internet service in the United States isn't that great. In addittion, in many areas there is only one broadband Internet provider, leaving consumers with no choice but to pay exorbitant fees to carriers like Comcast, Verizon and a select few others. While much of America struggles with broadband speeds that are slow compared to the rest of the world, Japan now will be offering blazing-fast speeds at what we'd consider here in the US to be a reasonable price. In Japan, NTT East and NTT West (Nippon Telegraph And Telephone) have increased data speeds for their existing plans up to 10 Gbps (that's 10 Gigabits per second or 10,000 Mbps bandwidth). In... Read more...
60 Starlink satellites prior to deployment. (Image courtesy SpaceX) SpaceX has announced that it is confident that it will be able to start offering broadband service in the United States by mid-2020 using a constellation of laser-connected Starlink mesh satellites. Reaching that goal will require the company to launch another six to eight batches of satellites into Earth's orbit to provide continuous service in upper and lower latitude bands. SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell says that the company will need 24 launches to get global coverage and that every launch after that would add more capacity to the system. SpaceX asked the International Telecommunication Union to approve spectrum... Read more...
Some of you reading this may not find it shocking that Comcast is being fined millions of dollars for running afoul of consumer protections. Comcast is a major ISP, after all, and there are no shortages of customer complaints to be found on the web. But would you be surprised to learn that it broke the law hundreds of thousands of times? That's the finding of a King County Superior Court judge, who ruled that Comcast violated the Consumer Protection Act more than 445,000 times by charging tens of thousands of Washington residents an extra fee for its Service Protection Plan without their consent, according to Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. "Comcast refused to accept responsibility... Read more...
The U.S. is far behind other counties when it comes to broadband internet speeds and availability. Much of the rural U.S. lack access to broadband, or only has speeds that don't qualify as broadband. The Trump Administration wants to change that and is putting big money into a fund that aims to ensure that rural America has access to 5G wireless broadband networks. President Trump and FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced this week that a 5G-spectrum auction would be held on December 10th to open airwaves that can be used to deploy commercial 5G wireless networks. The wireless spectrum auction will be the largest in U.S. history and will cover three different radio frequency bands that operate at 3,4000... Read more...
The Federal Communications Commission would have us believe that everything is hunky-dory in the land of broadband, that speeds and availability are improving at a steady clip in the United States, and that 'only' around 25 million Americans lack access to high-speed Internet. Microsoft is calling BS on the data, though, saying the mapping data the FCC relies on for its annual broadband reports is "inaccurate." "The government’s most current broadband statistics come from the FCC and suggest 25 million Americans lack access to a broadband connection. There’s strong evidence, though, that the percentage of Americans without broadband access is much higher than the figures reported... Read more...
If you are itching to be one of the first on the block with 5G wireless connectivity, AT&T is getting ready to turn on its network in a few select cities. Unlike Verizon's 5G service, which is using proprietary technology -- at least initially -- AT&T says that its 5G network is "standards-based". At the moment, there is only one device that is certified for use on AT&T's 5G network, and that's the Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. This little device will allow your notebook, tablet, or any other Wi-Fi capable device to hop on AT&T's network and enjoy the faster data speeds and incredibly low latency. Unfortunately, AT&T isn't giving us any concrete details on how fast... Read more...
The FCC upset a lot of people when it voted to repeal net neutrality rules. The Commission then wanted to reduce the speed that is considered to be broadband in some areas, however, the backlash to that move saw the FCC step back and stop its attempts to reclassify broadband speeds in some areas. The FCC has worked to ensure that it's easier for broadband providers to get their speedy services to more people; Google Fiber in particular benefitted from a change in FCC regulations regarding utility pole usage. The FCC has now announced that it is launching an investigation into one or more major wireless carriers. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced that the agency is launching an investigation... Read more...
Alphabet says that going into the ambitious rollout of its Google Fiber internet that it knew things would be costly, hard to pull off, and slow-going. What the search giant didn’t expect going into Google Fiber rollout was how hard it would be to gain timely access to space on a utility pole to install its equipment. Google says that one of the bigger challenges it encountered with utility poles had to do with making the poles ready for the new attachments. Google says that the "Make Ready" portion of the install currently involves a sequential process that means multiple crews coming out to the pole several times over many months. That process means lengthy delays and inflated costs... Read more...
Over the past week, we've reported quite a bit about the rise of cord-cutting and how big cable and satellite TV companies are adapting to the changing landscape. Comcast in particular lost 96,000 customers last quarter, and is looking for new ways to stop defectors from moving to cheaper alternatives. Last week, Comcast responded by raising internet speeds out of the blue for customers in specific regions of the United States: Houston, Oregon, and Southwest Washington. We don't know if these areas in particular have seen heavy defections from Comcast's TV packages, but customers in these regions are seeing some massive increases in their internet download speeds.  What's even more... Read more...
Google at one point has aspirations of ushering in a new era of broadband connectivity, and specifically high-speed connections of 1Gbps and higher. This initiative was given a name, Google Fiber, with roll outs in select parts of the country. For a period of time, it was not difficult to imagine a future in which Google and its partners would dominate the high-speed Internet infrastructure, but it was not to be. The promises Google made fell by the wayside, in part because competing ISPs made things difficult. Before Google changed its trajectory to wireless, it met with resistance in trying to deploy fiber connections in some areas. For example, AT&T fought a decision by a Louisville council... Read more...
Just a little over a week after making history with the successful launch of Falcon Heavy, SpaceX is once again in the news. This time around, the company has gained FCC approval to lay the groundwork for a satellite-based internet service called Starlink. When we think of satellite internet, problems with latency often crop into our minds. This is because traditional satellites that are capable of delivering internet and TV service operate in a geostationary orbit (GEO) at an altitude of around 36,000 kilometers. However, the satellites that will form the backbone off Starlink will orbit the earth at an altitude of around 1,200 kilometers. This will drastically cut the latency measured from... Read more...
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