Broadband

5G has limitations

This Ars Technica article is unintentionally funny if you have been following the 5G hype. Verizon is installing 5G systems in thirteen NFL football stadiums, but the distance limitations of 5G means in these Verizon installations, you won't have 5G service in some parts of the stadium.

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Gig fiber was and is a big part of Danville, Virginia's renaissance

James Fallows writes in The Atlantic about the amazing success of Danville, Virginia. Fallows identifies Gig fiber as of several key factors in the renaissance of the city. Other factors included a local foundation that took a long view of community revitalization and the opportunity to tap Virginia's tobacco settlement funds to build infrastructure like the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

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I'm back

The Technology Futures Web site has been moved to its own domain (technologyfutures.info) and has been upgraded. The old news site was using very old blogging software that needed substantial upgrades and security improvements. I've been blogging for nearly twenty years, and it turned out that safely moving thousands of news articles was by itself a major effort.

I will resume writing more regularly now.

Best regards,
Andrew Cohill

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5G: Hype and disappointment

Here is a good, very readable article that tries to dissect the hype around 5G without dragging you down into the weeds with a lot of arcane technical data.

The short version of the article is perhaps summed up best by a quote from Former FCC Chief Michael Powell: 5G is "...25 percent technology, 75 percent hype."

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Where is all the bandwidth going?

Our use of bandwidth has been doubling every two years since the commercial use of the Internet started in 1993. Depending on whose statistics you believe, it may be doubling every eighteen months. It can't keep doing that forever, but these days, the 25 Meg down/3 Meg up defined by the FCC as "broadband" is setting the bar quite low.

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Laugh of the day: Telcos complain there is too much competition

The big incumbent telcos are complaining there is "too much" competition.

...and I have some swampland I want to sell you....

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Will 5G deliver the promises?

This article from PC Mag takes a sober look at the 5G promises. Both the 5G vendors and the big cellular providers want us to believe that "5G" is going to solve all our broadband problems, but like every previous wireless "breakthrough," which typically arrive about every 6-8 years, the promises rarely materialize.

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What is eating all our bandwidth?

Here is a Cisco study that shows, no surprise, that video is eating the Internet star.

Average broadband speeds are set to double in the next two years, from around 25 Mbps (download) to 53 Mbps.

Much of the demand is from the increasing use of 4K video content. As more and more households cut the cord and start streaming high definition over the Internet, bandwidth use increases dramatically.

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Death of TV: Part LXXXI: Cord cutting continues to increase

Fed up customers are continuing to "cut the cord" to their cable and satellite TV providers. The article I have linked to says that 23% of households with wireline broadband have ditched their traditional TV package. As improved fixed wireless broadband continues to become more widely available in rural areas (i.e. no bandwidth caps, more bandwidth), the trend will accelerate even more.

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Alexa, please open the door

More than twenty years ago, as the Internet became more common, some prognosticators began talking about the "smart house," where lots of household devices would be interconnected and make our lives one of ease.

At that time, I wrote a somewhat tongue in cheek article for a professional newsletter about a "smart house" gone wild, somewhat in the fashion of the Hall 9000 problem in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Amazon and remote work driving Millenials to the Rust Belt

This is one of the most interesting articles I have read in a long time.

Millenials are moving to smaller "Rust Belt" towns and small cities to escape the high cost of living in the larger metro areas. Heavy student debt loads, combined with skyrocketing rents and home costs, are part of the appeal to live in a place where housing is affordable.

Neighborhoods are business districts

Here is confirmation of what I have been saying for twenty years: Neighborhoods have become business districts.

This article cites a study showing that more workers telecommute than take public transportation (e.g. buses, subways) to work.

This is why fiber to the home is so important: it is an economic development imperative. Home-based workers and home-based businesses need affordably priced, business class Internet services.

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The word is starting to leak out

When Wired magazine starts writing about small community-owned broadband, something has changed.

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Facebook gives up on its drones

Facebook has given up trying to build its own drones. The idea was that the high altitude unmanned aircraft would beam Internet access down to the ground in remote areas where Internet was not available via conventional terrestrial delivery.

When "unlimited" does not mean what you think it means

Gizmodo has a very detailed analysis of cellular "unlimited" plans that is a great example of why wireless broadband is never going to be a complete substitute for fiber service.

The carriers would not carry out this wordsmithed subterfuge if they did not have to, but the problem is very simple. We all keep using more bandwidth, and the bandwidth available from free space wireless in any given frequency range (e.g. 3G, 4G, 5G, LTE, etc.) is strictly limited by physics.

The myth that wireless will replace fiber

AT&T has just announced another price increase for their cellular data services. They have increased the cost of their unlimited data plan from $40/month to $45/month.

But here is the most interesting thing in the announcement: "Consumers are using mobile data at record levels and the trend is expected to continue."

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Why deploying broadband takes so long: Part I

There is a huge fight looming that is already begun in many localities, which involves the deployment of 5G cellular radio equipment. Both residents and localities are wary of the dramatic increase in the number of poles and towers that are needed.

There are various numbers floating around about the spacing for 5G cellular equipment, and they range from a low of around 500 feet apart to a thousand feet apart. Compare that to the current typical separation distance of 3G/4G towers of 1-2 miles.

5G needs fiber

There is a tremendous opportunity for community-owned networks to leverage spare fiber by working with 5G cellular providers to identify where 5G small cell poles are going to place and getting fiber to them.

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Eldo Telecom: Rural copper won't be replaced by small cells

Eldo Telecom points to an article that suggests that small cell cellular access points won't be the cure-all for rural residents.

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The tragic state of the telecom industry

This article has a lot of inside baseball and makes for dense reading, but the bottom line is that telecom industry has learned nothing in the past twenty years.

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