Category: Broadband

04.04.2023 Musings


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


white ceramic mug and saucer with coffee beans on brown textile
Photo by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash

Sometimes, when sitting quietly, enjoying a cooling cup of perfectly crafted pour-over coffee, I find myself staring at the back of my hand. In front of my eyes lies a landscape akin to the red sand of the American Southwest that lay baking under the scorching sun after a week of rain. You can see the time crisscrossing the skin, which has been losing a battle with the vanishing collagen. What was unseen slowly becomes more visible, crack by crack—a slow creep of the wrinkles. You can run, but you can’t hide from time.


When I am feeling down & urgently need retail therapy, I buy a pair of socks. Elon Musk buys 9.2 percent of @Twitter


Leichtman Research Group (LRG), a market research group, has collated the data for 2021 and “found that the largest cable and wireline phone providers in the U.S. – representing about 96% of the market” added 2.95 million net additional broadband Internet subscribers. These companies added 4.86 million subscribers in 2020 and 2.55 million in 2019.   They now account for 108.4 million subscribers — cable companies have 75.7 million broadband subscribers, while phone companies have 32.7 million subscribers.


Just because Facebook, Google, and everyone else has managed to erode our privacy and hoard our data doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take our privacy seriously. Why? Because data is personal and social. And like us humans, it ages with time, gets stale, and becomes pretty worthless. Any day is a (Read more...)

Broadband & Internet is Growing Everywhere


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


man in green jacket sitting on chair

About 30 years ago this month, some boffins at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Lab at Stanford University decided to set up a website — they wanted to improve how information was exchanged between many international physicists. And that is how the first website in North America was born. We have come a long way since.

87% of U.S. households get an Internet service at home, compared to 83% in 2016 and 69% in 2006 Reports Leichtman Research Group  Broadband accounts for 98% of households with an Internet service at home, and 85% of all households get a broadband Internet service – an increase from 81% in 2016 and 42% in 2006. 

These numbers roughly mirror the data shared by Pew Research earlier in the year. And no matter how you look at it, this is good news. And what’s even better is that according to the latest data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), estimates that 4.9 billion people use the Internet, though not all of them go online frequently and are using the network in drips and drabs. Nevertheless, a ‘COVID connectivity boost’ added 782 million additional people to the total since 2019.

What’s not such good news is the cost of broadband in the United States. According to The Cost of Connectivity, a research report from the Open Technology Institute, the average cost of broadband in the US is about $68.38. That is higher than average prices in large parts of the world.

Blame it (Read more...)

Broadband & Internet is Growing Everywhere


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


man in green jacket sitting on chair

About 30 years ago this month, some boffins at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Lab at Stanford University decided to set up a website — they wanted to improve how information was exchanged between many international physicists. And that is how the first website in North America was born. We have come a long way since.

87% of U.S. households get an Internet service at home, compared to 83% in 2016 and 69% in 2006 Reports Leichtman Research Group  Broadband accounts for 98% of households with an Internet service at home, and 85% of all households get a broadband Internet service – an increase from 81% in 2016 and 42% in 2006. 

These numbers roughly mirror the data shared by Pew Research earlier in the year. And no matter how you look at it, this is good news. And what’s even better is that according to the latest data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), estimates that 4.9 billion people use the Internet, though not all of them go online frequently and are using the network in drips and drabs. Nevertheless, a ‘COVID connectivity boost’ added 782 million additional people to the total since 2019.

What’s not such good news is the cost of broadband in the United States. According to The Cost of Connectivity, a research report from the Open Technology Institute, the average cost of broadband in the US is about $68.38. That is higher than average prices in large parts of the world.

Blame it (Read more...)

Starlink on wheels, ships, and planes


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


About a month ago, I wrote about the state of Starlink, the satellite broadband division of SpaceX, and speculated that I won’t be surprised if “the Starlink network evolves into Tesla’s very own broadband backbone, connecting all Tesla vehicles.” Elon Musk, the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, threw cold water on that theory in a tweet. 

However, a new FCC filing shows that Starlink wants to offer connectivity to aircraft, ships, large trucks, and RVs. They picked the right target market for sure — the broadband choices on ships and aircraft are pretty meager. Mobile broadband is non-existent when you are using those modes of transportation.

However, I wouldn’t dismiss the Tesla vehicle network that quickly, despite what Elon said. In a January 2020 call, he said that in some years. Tesla could have Starlink terminals. Anyway, since Tesla has concrete plans to make trucks, so that would be a good start of Tesla’s backbone. Connecting its future big-boy trucks (Cybertruck) and moving trucks could help Tesla finetune the hardware for Starlink. 

And if the trajectory of all silicon has shown us anything, it is that miniaturization happens quickly. And capabilities increase even faster. I still remember the roof-sized dishes we needed to get satellite television. Those dishes are much smaller now. 


The (present) state of Starlink’s network


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


According to an FCC filing (PDF) submitted as per the requirements that come with the $885 million subsidy SpaceX received as part of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, the company’s Starlink has 10,000 users on its network. It has 1,000 satellites in orbit at present. Starlink is capable of launching 60 satellites at a time, with launches slotted every two weeks. It has a target to launch 4,400 low-earth orbit satellites. 

Elon Musk’s company says it has met and exceeded the target of 100 megabits down and 20 megabits up in trials. It has demoed the performance of 95% of network round-trip latency measurements at or below 31 milliseconds. For voice, the filing explains, the company plans to use a white-label managed service provider and support SIP. 

While it is not broadband (by which I mean fixed-line broadband), it still is better than the marginal broadband access we currently have in America. The U.S. phone companies have gorged on rural subsidies for a long time. I hope Starlink, like Tesla, can disrupt the incumbents. It won’t surprise me even a tiny bit if, in the long run, the Starlink network evolves into Tesla’s very own broadband backbone, connecting all Tesla vehicles. 

Additional Reading: Some broadband realists believe that there are many limitations to Starlink and its capabilities. I recommend this piece by Alan Mauldin from two years ago. Tim Farrar, too, has reservations and is also highly skeptical of the RBOC plans.