In June of 2013 Google unveiled Google Loon
, the latest in a long line of similar projects that will use hot air balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas. Project Loon will use hot air balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, well above the range of commercial aircraft. Ground base stations set some sixty miles apart communicate with solar-powered radio transmitters affixed to the balloons, and Google steers the balloons using wind as they ride the 40th parallel.
Not everybody was optimistic that Google Loon will ever be more than a fun hobby for Google. Avid balloonist and aeronautical engineer Per Lindstrand stated that the company was wasting their time on the effort
, saying the winds up there are simply too fierce to keep reasonable control of the balloons over longer periods of time (more than a few days).
But in an update on the Loon project over at The Verge
, Google states they've make major strides in keeping its broadband balloons aloft:
The early models last only a few days; the goal for commercial viability was to have them floating for three months. "Today we are excited to announce most of our balloons stay up for as long as six months," says Pichai. The newest record was a ballon that lasted 187 days in the air, circumnavigating the globe nine times, passing over more than a dozen countries on four continents along the way.
There's still no word on a commercial deployment, however. With Loon Google isn't planning to challenge carriers as much as they aim to strike deals with them to extend wireless coverage worldwide; as such the company says they're in talks with a number of carriers to start extended field trials.
T-Mobile will be among the first carriers to utilized unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum to help supplement the company's LTE network, the company announced today. According to a press announcement by Alcatel Lucent
, T-Mobile will be deploying Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) in 5 GHz spectrum sometime in 2016.
Confirming numerous rumors from earlier this year
, Google has announced that the company will soon formally unveil their foray into wireless services. Speaking at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Google's Sundar Pichai told attendees
that their MVNO would be launched sometime in the "coming months."
Those hoping for Google to jump into the wireless market with both feet may wind up being disappointed.
As we noted last month
, Dish Network has been taking heat for some creative shenanigans at the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction. One, despite spending $13.3 billion at auction Dish appears to have used a legal "small business" loophole to save themselves around $3 billion.
As we've explored, one of the broadcaster markets hit particularly hard by Netflix is children's programming
, since parents (and kids) find it immeasurably more convenient to watch TV on their own schedule. Kids are also less likely to need to see the "latest and greatest," resulting in what's often been a 15% or greater
viewership dip quarter to quarter over the last year.
Grande Communications has announced the company has started deploying 1 Gbps broadband services in San Antonio. According to a company announcement
, the company says they'll first be offering their 1 Gbps "Power 1000" broadband tier in Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills. The company says they'll be offering the service for $65 a month, though the tier will top out at 400 Mbps in areas not yet upgraded to a gig. Grande's also offering 50Mbps at $35, 200Mbps for $45, and 300Mbps for $55 a month. "We understand our customers' needs for more Internet speed options with low and mid-range pricing and we strive to deliver a better value than our competitors," proclaims the company.
Lafayette Louisiana's LUS Fiber faced very sleazy efforts by Cox and BellSouth
years ago when trying to launch; efforts that went so far as the two companies hiring push pollsters to try and tell locals taxpayer money would be used to fund pornography. Some pollsters even tried to tell locals that if they approved the municipal broadband project, the government would restrict their television watching
to just a few days a week.
by Revcb 07:03AM Monday Mar 02 2015
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Qualcomm today unveiled a new wireless standard they claim can utilize unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum alongside traditional LTE wireless technology. According to the Qualcomm press release
, the company's new FSM 99xx chipset for small cells (in addition to new transceivers) will use Licensed Assisted Access -- or LTE-Unlicensed -- to take advantage of unlicensed bands.
A few weeks back Sprint engaged in a clever marketing move by throwing their wholesale support behind Title II net neutrality rules. Sprint doesn't lose all that much if they back away from the rules moving forward (the CTIA is already against the rules, after all), but the announcement put a bright spotlight on the fact that T-Mobile has so far refused to support tougher neutrality rules
, despite benefiting hugely from a reputation as a fierce consumer advocate.
Last week we examined how
Lenovo was under fire for including "Superfish" malware in the company's consumer-grade laptops. The malware in question encrypted Web sessions and -- because the private encryption key accompanying the Superfish-signed Transport Layer Security certificate appears is the same for every Lenovo machine -- made Lenovo users vulnerable to HTTPS man-in-the-middle attacks that should be relatively easy for attackers to carry out.
While some ISPs have spent months complaining that Title II net neutrality rules would harm them in numerous and immeasurable ways, they've simultaneously been busy telling investors the rules aren't that big of a deal
. Of course there's a number of ISPs, including Sonic, Sprint, Frontier and Cablevision, that have also publicly stated repeatedly they don't think the new rules change all that much
Months after Aereo's ambitions fell apart due to the Supreme Court ruling, TiVo appears to have acquired the remnants of Aereo's operations, including the brand name. Jeff John Roberts at GigaOM
notes that TiVo and other bidders were able to pick up these assets for a mere $2 million at auction, a significant distance from the $90 to $100 million invested in the company. It's not a particularly flattering end note for a company that at one point has revolutionary ambitions. "We are very disappointed with the results of the auction. This has been a very difficult sales process and the results reflect that," an Aereo attorney said in a prepared statement.
Sprint continues to lag when it comes to LTE speeds and network coverage, but indications are the company's on the cusp of another major network expansion push. According to a Sprint 4G Rollout Update
blog, the company's on the cusp of a 9,000 LTE cell site expansion, with a source stating 5,000 of those sites will be dedicated to faster Sprint "Spark" upgrades. The project aims to re-open 1,100 of the older Nextel sites the company decommissioned as part of its completed "Network Vision" project. According to Sprint their LTE network now reaches 270 million potential customers, and their tri-band Spark offering (with theoretical top speeds of 50-60Mbps) reaches 125 million potential customers.Update
: It looks like Sprint's cell site expansion plans may be significantly larger
than this report claims.
by Revcb 07:03AM Friday Feb 27 2015
The mega-ISPs have shared their thoughts on today's FCC net neutrality ruling, and you'll be shocked and surprised to learn that they don't much like it. AT&T, for example, insisted in a blog post
that the FCC's since-overturned 2010 net neutrality rules (which did little and didn't cover wireless) were good enough, and that the unprecedented public-supported effort to pass tougher rules was a horrible example of "rigidity" and a failure on the part of new FCC boss Tom Wheeler:
Every chairman in my memory, including the current one, has faced political stampedes of one sort or another.
Surprising nobody, the FCC today voted 3-2 along party lines to impose Title II-based net neutrality rules. The decision comes after 4 million public comments, millions of dollars spent on ISP lobbying to derail the effort, and an unprecedented wave of consumer-advocate activism. story continues..
For about as long this site has existed, we've documented the efforts of local towns and cities to build their own broadband networks -- efforts usually only undertaken because these towns and cities lack access to meaningful broadband competition. Unfortunately, for just as long we've discussed the dirty tricks
incumbent ISP lobbyists have used to derail these efforts, and the more than 20 state laws passed (usually based on ISP/ALEC draft legislation
) to eliminate the local communities' right to make these decisions for themselves.
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