FCC looking to set the groundwork for 5G in the US

The FCC is looking to hop on the 5G bandwagon, after South Korea, Japan, the UK and a few other countries announced plans to bring the super-fast wireless speed, running on a spectrum above 24GHz.

In a blog post, Chairman of the FCC Tom Wheeler talked about mobile innovation and how it is their duty to work towards faster wireless speeds, to continue innovation in this market and keep the US competitive.

This is a little ironic coming from Wheeler, but we are glad the FCC is taking a more active role in when it comes to wireless speed deployment.

24GHz 5G wireless

5g-speeds

The 24GHz spectrum has only become available thanks to some significant developments in antenna and processing technologies. Previously wireless spectrum was limited to targeted frequencies close to 3GHz.

The move to 24GHz frequencies could boost wireless speeds on mobile devices up to 10Gbps, higher than Google Fiber and all other fiber optic broadband services.

Even though FCC is putting down the groundwork for this 5G incentive, it might not be until 2018/2022 that users will get access to these super-fast speeds, but taking initiative is what counts.

5G Worldwide

5g-evolution

Governments appear more confident in 5G, compared to the slow rollout of 4G over the past few years. South Korea has had 4G LTE for a few years now and has already moved over to LTE+, offering speeds of around 300Mbps.

5G is a larger jump in speed, from 300Mbps to 10Gbps. Compare that to the 3G/4G boost, from 30Mbps to 100Mbps, we can see why governments are more interested in this technical innovation.

South Korea and Japan are normally a lot faster when it comes to deployment of these fast networks, while the United States and UK tend to hold back, especially while carriers work on getting the wireless standard nationwide.

Source: FCC

BT looking to hit 1Gbps with copper network in the UK

The United States is getting a lot of new small 1Gbps networks, but no national broadband provider has stepped in to kick the super-fast fiber optic into overdrive.

Over in the UK, BT rules the roost with their broadband, but millions still sit on copper network, instead of jumping to fiber optic like Virgin Media.

Instead of swapping out the cables, BT has been working on new G.Fast trials, using fiber to the cabinet technology capable of hitting 800Mbps downstream and 200Mbps upstream, much higher than Virgin Media’s 150Mbps.

copper-cable

This is not the first time a provider has announced copper cable can still be useful in this day and age. For over a decade, various ISPs have announced new copper cable advancements, but they all come with distance constraints.

BT downplays this issue in their press release, claiming to hit 800Mbps at a 19M distance and 700Mbps over a 66M distance. Even if this is true, we are not sure how all of this advanced copper wire will be practical if miles away from the central office.

The other question is will BT deploy this new speed nationwide or only to certain areas in the UK. Almost 10 million people use BT’s broadband, alongside PlusNet, their “Yorkshire” subsidiary, almost twice the amount of Virgin Media subscribers.

This is changing however, with more people moving over to Virgin Media and Sky Broadband. BT currently only offers speeds up to 72Mbps, while Virgin Media offers 150Mbps and Sky hits 76Mbps.

The first ISP to offer 1Gbps nationwide in the UK might not be as well loved as they would in the US. Even though the UK is a Internet heavy nation, there are less people complaining about the state of the Internet in Britain, compared to in the US.

AT&T using Comcast merger as leverage for DirecTV acquisition

DirecTV shareholders recently accepted the acquisition deal by AT&T, valued at $48.5 billion and it appears the public is fine with this deal.

In a statement to the FCC regarding the Comcast merger, AT&T said it would be hard for them to compete, unless they were able to acquire DirecTV for pay-TV market share and hold of the satellite market.

It is interesting about the public’s reaction to the AT&T and DirecTV acquisition, something that could be more devastating than the apparent Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, currently being debated by the FCC.

twc_comcast_map

Comcast and Time Warner Cable do have lower customer satisfaction rates, along with Comcast known as one of the worst companies in the United States for aggressive business tactics and pathetic customer support.

The merger has also shown Comcast will take control of all of Time Warner Cable’s markets. This wouldn’t be so bad if they were competing with one another, but all this does is give Comcast another 20 or so states to ruin.

In the FCC filing, Comcast said they have had overwhelming support for the merger. It feels like Comcast is living in a dream world or pushing their lies so hard, just to see how fickle the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is at saying “no” to corporations.

We will have to wait and see what the FCC says. If they say no, Comcast will undoubtably try again and again, and if FCC repeatedly deny it, they might start threatening them with worse service.

This would be great for Google Fiber, Cox Communications and other broadband providers who have decent customer service. We might also see the introduction of more municipal broadband, to curve Comcast’s reach.

Both acquisitions are bad for the industry. We would advise you write to your state representative, to try and push the government away from AT&T and Comcast gaining more control.

Great Works Internet expanding 1Gbps to South Portland, Maine

Great Works Internet is expanding their 1Gbps fiber optic service to South Portland, Maine. This is the second city in the state to receive high-speed Internet from GWI, working with the state to fund the broadband investment.

South Portland business and residential customers will be able to buy into the 1Gbps Internet. We are not sure how the deployment will be structure, Great Works Internet will be providing $150,000 for the municipal installation, the other half coming from the state.

Residents in South Portland will be able to pay $70 per month for the 1Gbps Internet. This is the same price as Google Fiber in Kansas City and looks to be the benchmark for fiber optic companies, who are set on bringing high-speed Internet to cities.

For business owners, Great Works Internet have a separate $200 per month package available. This should be great for any businesses in media, entertainment, software or services, who need fast connection.

Someone in the forums brought up a valid point – why is Great Works Internet focusing on cities with low-speed Internet, and not a lot of competition.

Normally, ISPs only focus on areas where competition is high or there is no competition, but in South Portland the competition is just weak, with DSL providers still holding most customers down.

This is the main reason why Great Works Internet see Maine as a great opportunity. The state has rather high-income compared to other places, meaning 1Gbps customers should be of a higher frequency.

South Portland is a rather wealthy area of Maine. Businesses are not a huge part of the city, but there is a large industrial side on the shore, for imports and exports.

Baltimore sick of Comcast and Verizon DSL, looking to build their own network

Baltimore is the next city looking to get better Internet, after FiOS and Google Fiber rejected the city in favor of other, more interesting (and cheap) deals in other cities and states.

Currently, Baltimore residents are stuck with either Verizon DSL or Comcast, sounding very close to hell on Earth. Instead of leaving it for Google Fiber, Baltimore has hired an consultant (on $157,000 per year) to figure out a solution.

Baltimore wants to make their own fiber optic network or look for a provider to step in and makes things better. The only problem is Baltimore have a protectionist citywide franchise agreement with Comcast.

This means making things like municipal broadband will run into problems and like we have seen with AT&T, the Internet service providers will do anything to deny competition in cities, even if they are not competing in the city.

Creating Municipal Broadband

baltimore-average-internet-speed

Baltimore is not the wealthiest city in the world, ever since 2012 employment and population has dropped, as people move to other cities and states.

It is a weird trend to follow, but Internet access appears to run in course with income per person. If Baltimore makes the Internet 100Mbps or even 1Gbps, it could advance the city into a new age of Internet services.

Municipal broadband is hard to come by with all of the secret rules and regulations Comcast and other ISPs have put in place. Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the FCC, has been looking into this and wants to de-regulate Comcast, when it comes to broadband.

This could pave the way to even faster broadband and a removal of ISPs who would rather strangle their users than compete on speeds, something Verizon and Cablevision agreed not to do a few years ago.

Other Solutions

Baltimore might be able to bring in a 1Gbps service provider, we seen DataShack open up shop in North Kansas City, where they are based, preparing to offer 1Gbps to local homes and developments.

This could be a good move for Baltimore, setting up a company or bringing in a small ISP to work on super-fast fiber optic broadband, even though deployment of the network might be slow.

Source

Cox Communications claims it is not “cherry picking” with 1Gbps deployment

Cox Communications is working on getting 1Gbps Internet speeds to Phoenix, Las Vegas and Omaha within the next year, with a full rollout into other states in 2016, this is one of many moves by ISPs to bridge the gap to Google Fiber.

A lot of people have said Cox is “cherry picking” their deployment of 1Gbps, like other ISPs. Unlike Google Fiber, which looks to connect whole “fiberhoods” at once, Cox and others are looking to connect only those with high income salary.

There are good reasons for approaching high-end developments first, it gives Cox less room for error. High-end developments tend to be owned by people who can and will pay for 1Gbps Internet, even paying a lot more for the extra speeds.

In places like Kansas City, where Google Fiber is based, the Internet adoption rate is one of the lowest in the country. Google has still managed to make this a profitable business effort though, to what extent is still unknown.

Cox’s CTO Kevin T. Hart claims Cox’s way of deployment is not cherry-picking though:

“But we’re not just trying to cherry-pick; we’re just trying to spread it out, and then continue with the 3.1 deployment.”

The 1Gbps upgrade comes alongside Cox’s deployment of 50Mbps and 100Mbps upgrades to their Preferred and Premier packages. Cox has been looking to expand their service nationwide, as they try to take on Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Another 1Gbps ISP coming to Kansas City, free after $300 installation fee

Kansas City is already spoilt for choice, in my people’s eyes, with Google Fiber setting up in the state. Just in case that wasn’t enough, DataShack has signed a ten-year contract with the state, to open up their 1Gbps liNKCity fiber optic network.

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