Elon Musk is not only promising to expand coverage of his Starlink satellite-based internet service, but he's teasing even better performance for later this year.
Musk used Twitter to communicate new expectations from Starlink, which continues to add satellites to its current fleet of 1,200 birds in low Earth orbit. On February 22nd, Musk said that by the end of the year, it will be able to increase its speed to 300 Mbps (double today's speeds) and drop latency to around 20 ms. Musk also talked about the company's plans to densify coverage to hit more of the globe. However, Musk continues to emphasize that Starlink's best application is in areas with low to medium population density.
Over 10,000 customers are now using Starlink. The service costs $99 a month, plus an initial equipment investment of $500. It's taking pre-orders in parts of the US, Canada, and the UK.
When the coronavirus pandemic forced many Americans to work and learn (and, really, do everything) from home last year, the amount of internet data the average household consumed began to rise rapidly. That rise has continued and, despite the hope of an end to the pandemic, appears destined to continue.
OpenVault, a company that collects subscribers' usage behaviors and puts them into data sets confirms what most industry analysts believed to be true. Their latest report, covering the 4th quarter of 2020, found that per-subscriber average data usage rose to 482.6 GB per month, a 40% increase over the same quarter in 2019 and a 26% increase over the 3rd quarter of 2020.
Not only are Americans using more data, but more Americans are going online. Internet subscriptions rose 6.5% in the last three months of 2020. For more on the OpenVault report, check out this article at Fierce Telecom.
Will average data usage drop once we the pandemic has come to an end and lives return to some version of normal? Possibly, but it's also possible that a full year in quarantine may have permanently reset some of life's routines. While almost everyone agrees that our children's education is best conducted in schools and not in living rooms, there may be a significant number of workers, driven home by the pandemic, that remain in some mix of remote work. Also, a year at home has likely enlightened some Americans to what they were missing online, creating new appetites for home entertainment that remain after the masks are put into storage. It will be very interesting to see OpenVault's reports a year or two from now to see what the trends were.
A bill promoted by Mediacom that would place potentially fatal restrictions on new and existing municipal broadband providers is likely dead for the 2021 Iowa Legislature.
Senate Study Bill 1184, was identical to a bill introduced in last year's session that also died. It would have eliminated the ability of municipal broadband operators to price their services competitively with incumbents and made access to capital more difficult for new networks.
The bill was briefly discussed by a subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee on February 16th, but postponed "indefinitely" by the committee. Although it appears dead for this session, CBAN will continue to monitor it and other bills that may have an impact on Iowa's growing municipal broadband community.
Another week...another new CBAN Associate Member to welcome to the ranks of our growing community. We'd like to thank UltraVue Satellite & Security for joining CBAN.
UltraVue Satellite & Security is headquartered in Urbandale, IA. Founded by Dustin Mick in 2009, UV has a nationwide footprint with their vendors, focusing on DIRECTV/AT&T products for residential, commercial, MDU and Lodging & Institution sales verticals. In fact, UV is a multi-time winner of several awards for their sales and service in the MDU space and currently manages properties in IA,MN,WI,SD,MO,AZ, FL and NC, totally over 20,000 doors. UV can provide both DTH (Direct to Home model) or Bulk DIRECTV services to MDUs. Because of this success, Mick is on the prestigious DIRECTV Dealer Advisory Council, helping form policies and programs for all dealers across the country. UV is also one of the largest security system sales and installation companies in Iowa, handling any type of business or residential need, even offering 24/7 monitoring if required.
Last March, UV added an I&R contract with Century Link that allowed them to hire over 40 techs during the start of the pandemic. UV is currently ramping up for the this season’s work and is hiring additional techs. If you are aware of techs that might be interested, please reach out to the UV office at 515-309-6446.
Another key element of UV’s success is their dealer partner network spanning the entire country. Dealer partners have access to all products that UV offers, with the ability to complete the sale process or refer sales to UV’s call center. UV prides itself on the accurate reporting, competitive commissions and most importantly, paying their partners on-time and accurately. UV also offers outstanding sales support, providing training and updates on promotions/pricing as needed with a back office support team, available from 8-8 Mon-Fri and 8-12 on Saturdays, that can help provide quotes, assist with order entry and customer retention. If your company would like to get more information on UV’s Dealer Partner Program, please reach out to Kurt Whiton, SVP of Sales & Marketing at Kurt.Whiton@teamultravue.com
The ranks of CBAN's Associate Members continues to grow! We're excited to welcome Midwest Video Systems to CBAN.
Midwest Video Solutions (MVS) delivers satellite-video signals on fiber-optic networks. MVS offers an economical and flexible alternative to cookie-cutter solutions; and you don't have to do it yourself to save money. Their members and prospects include internet service providers (ISPs), independent phone companies and municipalities. Their current membership spans over Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota as well as U.S. Air Force bases in Japan and South Korea. In turn, their members distribute the IP signal under their own branding, and via a partnership that MVS has established. MVS also prides itself on not only quality of signal, but they measure and target uptime signal reliability of 99.975%. Their customers say it this way: “They’re easy to work with. And we appreciate their flexibility.”
With MVS’s offerings, they provide all of the necessary physical infrastructure, technical expertise, and signal monitoring services - whether from their headend connections or from WIN Technology. This is inclusive of both encrypted MPEG-4 streams to set-top boxes as well as the latest technology of adaptive bit-rate signals, enabling an HLS offering that is serving the growing market of wireless devices. Now you can offer streaming video at home and on every device. As their customer, you enjoy top-flight savings from a local provider that treats you like the neighbor you are. MVS is member-owned and member driven, and they don't forget it. That's why they’re committed to being such good listeners.
Arkansas, which was once among the nation's most restrictive states in terms of municipal broadband networks, has moved a big step in the right direction with legislation signed into law this month.
Senate Bill 74 passed the Arkansas legislature and was signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchinson. While the new law has some limits on municipal networks, it's a huge step in the right direction.
As always, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (a CBAN Advocate member) has done an outstanding job covering the history of municipal broadband in Arkansas. See this post on at muninetworks.org to get the full scoop.
And while you are there, be sure to bookmark their website and refer back to it often. Christopher Mitchell and the team at ILSR do an outstanding job cover municipal broadband across America.
We are so excited to see the CBAN community growing here in early 2021. Our latest Associate Member is eX2.
eX² Technology is a single source solution for those seeking to build, scale or future proof their communications infrastructure. They provide robust smart city, intelligent transportation, critical infrastructure and private network solutions and services with greater efficiency, loss cost and a streamlined acquisition process. eX² prides themselves on delivering EXCELLENCE IN EXECUTION®, specializing in turnkey network design-build-maintain services, network asset commercialization, duct and dark fiber and assisting their customers with unique project financing options.
For more than 25 years, eX² management team members have worked together designing, building, commercializing and maintaining some of the nation’s largest and most complex communications and critical infrastructure projects. Together, they have more than 300 years of combined industry experience, designed and built more than 2M+ fiber miles and accumulated $340M+ in duct and dark fiber sales.
Another great company with a long history of providing services to small, independent broadband companies has joined the ranks of the CBAN Associate Members. We'd like to welcome Innovative Systems to the team!
Innovative Systems is a leading vendor of solutions for North American communications and utility providers with over 800 deployed systems.
eLation™, their integrated BSS/OSS solution, includes
MG-TV is Innovative's one-platform approach to video solutions such as
The APMAX™ platform provides enhanced voice and hosted business solutions.
The Innovative Systems Print Division is a full-service printing company specializing in print services for the telecommunications and utilities industries.
For more information, visit www.innovsys.com.
Last year, the City of West Des Moines and Google Fiber reached an agreement where the city could build a conduit network and Google Fiber would run fiber and provide services. The announcement attracted a lot of interest in the broadband community, and sparked a lawsuit against West Des Moines by incumbent cable operator Mediacom.
According to a report from Axios, a similar partnership with the City of Des Moines is also in the "early discovery phase". According to the Axios story, Des Moines is also in contact with Metronet, which has announced overbuilds of suburbs Johnston, Urbandale, and Clive.
No doubt the City of Des Moines will also be looking very carefully at the legal implications of any partnership agreements, especially in light of Mediacom's suit against West Des Moines.
One of the elements of the most recently passed COVID-19 relief bill was an appropriation of $3.2 billion for the "Emergency Broadband Benefit Program". te program will provide a monthly discount of up to $50 per month ($75 per month on tribal lands) for low-income broadband customers. Under the program, eligible broadband providers can opt in to participating in the program, offer the discount to eligible customers, and be reimbursed.
To discuss the program in more detail, the FCC is hosting an online presentation and roundtable discussion on Friday, February 12th at 10:00am EST (9:00am Central, 8am Mountain, 7am Pacific). No registration is required - just visit the FCC's website at https://www.fcc.gov/livewww.fcc.gov/live.
Lunch & Learn
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
CLICK HERE to register
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.