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by Karl Bode 05:14PM Monday Mar 02 2015
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.

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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.


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by Karl Bode 02:49PM Monday Mar 02 2015
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.
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by Karl Bode 12:50PM Monday Mar 02 2015
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.
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by Karl Bode 10:17AM Monday Mar 02 2015
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.
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by Karl Bode 09:38AM Monday Mar 02 2015
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.
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by Karl Bode 07:57AM Monday Mar 02 2015
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.


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by Karl Bode 07:52AM Monday Mar 02 2015
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.
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by Revcb 07:03AM Monday Mar 02 2015

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