SpaceX was granted permission to use a lower orbit for Starlink satellites, as regulators agreed with SpaceX that the change will improve broadband speed and latency while making it easier to minimize orbital debris.
Comcast offered the latest hint of a future in which its cable customers won't be limited to 35Mbps upload speeds. Announcing a recent lab test, Comcast said its research team "deliver[ed] upstream and downstream throughputs of greater than 4Gbps" and that "future optimization" will allow "even greater capacity." This was "the first-ever live lab test" of a Broadcom "system-on-chip (SOC) device that will pave the way for Comcast to deliver multigigabit upload and down
Charter Communications employees who have been on strike since 2017 are building an Internet service provider in New York City called "People's Choice." "People's Choice Communications is an employee-owned social enterprise launched by members of IBEW Local #3 to bridge the digital divide and help our neighbors get connected to the Internet during the COVID-19 pandemic," the ISP's website says. "We are the workers who built a large part of New York City's Internet infrastructure in the first place.
The Washington state legislature has voted to end limits on municipal broadband, and the bill lifting those restrictions now awaits the signature of Gov Jay Inslee (D-WA). The state Senate passed the bill (HB 1336) April 11 in a 27-22 vote, and the state House passed it in Feb. There's still one complication. A second bill (SB 5383) that would do much less to eliminate barriers to municipal broadband solutions passed the House on April 11 and had previously passed the Senate. The two competing bills have been sent to the state governor and it is expected one will be vetoed.
The Starlink broadband network will probably stick with one price instead of offering different tiers of service, said SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell. SpaceX has been charging $99 a month for the Starlink beta service, plus $499 upfront for the user terminal/satellite dish, mounting tripod, and router. Even if SpaceX has just one price for most customers, it will probably offer a cheaper plan to people with low incomes.
President Joe Biden's plan to expand broadband access and lower prices is, predictably, facing bitter opposition from cable companies that want to maintain the status quo.
The American Jobs Plan's $100 billion in broadband funding would be spread out over a number of years, as the entire jobs plan is slated to "invest about $2 trillion this decade." Municipally owned networks, nonprofits, and co-operatives would play a major role in the expansion. The broadband industry and Republicans have been fighting city-owned networks for years, and nearly 20 states have laws that restrict the growth of municipal broadband.
AT&T said it will bring fiber Internet to a few million more homes and businesses by the end of 2021. "In 2021, AT&T plans to increase its fiber footprint by an additional 3 million customer locations across more than 90 metro areas," AT&T said. This would raise AT&T's fiber deployment to about 18 million homes and businesses. AT&T provided a list of the 90 metro areas here.
While upload use on Comcast's network quickly grows—driven largely by videoconferencing among people working and learning at home—the nation's largest home-Internet provider with over 30 million customers advertises its speed tiers as if uploading doesn't exist. Comcast's 56 percent increase in upstream traffic made me wonder if the company will increase upload speeds any time soon, so I checked out the Xfinity website to see the current upload speeds.
SpaceX and Dish Network are fighting at the Federal Communications Commission over Dish's attempt to block a key designation that SpaceX's Starlink division needs in order to get FCC broadband funding. Dish's "baseless attempt" to block funding "would serve only to delay what matters most—connecting unserved Americans," said SpaceX in a filing.