SpaceX Deploys Starlink Satellites to Washington Burn Zones

SpaceX tested its Starlink satellite in Washington state for emergency responders, the first early use of the service revealed thus far. Initial reports indicate improved setup times and significant decreases in latency. In early August, Washington’s state military, which includes its emergency response division, began using Starlink to bring Internet service to areas destroyed by wildfires via seven Starlink user terminals. Meanwhile, the four-year-old startup Swarm Technologies has placed 21 of its tiny satellites into orbit, to deliver Internet access to all types of devices. Continue reading SpaceX Deploys Starlink Satellites to Washington Burn Zones

Chinese Cities Invest in National Campaign for Advanced Tech

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will invest at least $1.4 trillion in the next five years in advanced technologies; more than a dozen Chinese municipalities this year pledged 6.61 trillion yuan ($935 billion) to achieve this goal, for projects on artificial intelligence, data centers and mobile communications. The country’s BeiDou navigation network will be complete this month when the final satellite goes into orbit. Premier Li Keqiang said the campaign is the Communist Party’s top priority. Continue reading Chinese Cities Invest in National Campaign for Advanced Tech

Companies to Launch Low Earth Satellite Internet Services

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos revealed more details of his Low Earth Orbit satellite plan for broadband Internet access with the announcement of Project Kuiper, a 3,236 array of satellites. Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink also recently launched a rocket with 60 satellites. These players, joined by OneWeb and others, are competing and, in the process, making LEO satellites for broadband a reality. SpaceX will first debut services in North America, with future plans to cover the planet, and Amazon has similar aspirations. Continue reading Companies to Launch Low Earth Satellite Internet Services

Federal Government Takes Additional Steps to Block Huawei

The U.S. government is reportedly pushing for foreign allies to stop using hardware from China-based Huawei Technologies Co. According to people familiar with the initiative, the government is aiming to convince wireless and Internet service providers to avoid telecom equipment that comes from Huawei in an effort to increase security. Washington officials are particularly concerned about countries that host military bases. The U.S. and Australia already have bans in place to curb the risk of cyberattacks. Huawei is the world’s largest telecommunications provider. Continue reading Federal Government Takes Additional Steps to Block Huawei

FCC Readies Two Auctions for Ultra High Frequency Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will begin the first of two auctions for extremely high-frequency spectrum licenses, testing out how valuable these radio waves are considered. Up until now, wireless carriers have judged these high-frequency ranges to be useless, but the advent of 5G wireless services has changed that assessment. Signal frequencies above 1 gigahertz can carry more data for current 4G networks, often positioned above low-frequency bandwidth, and also help launch 5G networks. Continue reading FCC Readies Two Auctions for Ultra High Frequency Spectrum

Facebook Confirms Plans to Create Internet-Delivery Satellite

Facebook is aiming to launch its “Athena” Internet-delivery satellite early next year for parts of the globe where traditional delivery systems such as fiber optic cables are not feasible. According to an application the company reportedly filed with the FCC under the name PointView Tech LLC, the satellite intends to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world.” Facebook confirmed that Athena is its project, but offered no details. Similar Internet-delivery projects are in development by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and SoftBank-backed OneWeb. Continue reading Facebook Confirms Plans to Create Internet-Delivery Satellite

Airbus, SoftBank and Bill Gates Invest in EarthNow Satellites

The EarthNow project, which plans to launch 500 small satellites to provide video coverage of the world, now has three notable investors: Airbus, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and SoftBank Group chief executive Masayoshi Son. Satellite entrepreneur Greg Wyler, who has also partnered with Airbus and SoftBank on OneWeb, another satellite Internet project, is a fourth investor. Project chief executive Russell Hannigan says EarthNow will cost more than $1 billion, but didn’t reveal tech details or a launch date. Continue reading Airbus, SoftBank and Bill Gates Invest in EarthNow Satellites

Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

Facebook developed mapping technology that has allowed it to create a data map of the human population in 23 countries so far. The map can zero in on any man-made structure as close as five meters, in any country on earth. Facebook says it is using the data to understand how humans are distributed around the planet, and thus be able to determine the best way to provide them with Internet access, via land, air or space. The goal is to create a “multi-pronged” Internet network to serve under-connected populations. Continue reading Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

SpaceX Closer to Space Travel with Successful Rocket Mission

In a first, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) successfully sent a rocket into space and then back to earth, where it landed, standing and in one piece, near the launch site in Florida. For SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk, the success marks another major step towards the ultimate goal of sending people to Mars. This is the company’s first flight in half a year; its last rocket launch, carrying supplies to the International Space Station, ended in the rocket’s complete destruction. Continue reading SpaceX Closer to Space Travel with Successful Rocket Mission

Over 131 Startups Now Valued at $1 Billion, Says CB Insights

Two years ago, venture investor Aileen Lee coined the term “unicorn” for what was then a fairly rare commodity: a startup company that investors valued at $1 billion. In the current market, at least 131 startups are valued at a total of $485 billion, says research firm CB Insights, making the designation “unicorn” — a mythical beast — less accurate. Apparently, unicorns not only exist, but only half of the current crop hail from their birthplace in Silicon Valley. And they now focus on a wide variety of industries. Continue reading Over 131 Startups Now Valued at $1 Billion, Says CB Insights

Facebook Hopes Drones Will Expand Global Internet Connectivity

Facebook has long expressed its goal to connect as many people as possible. The company already has a reported 1.4 billion users, but has plans to expand well beyond these numbers by launching drones that can provide high-speed connectivity to even the most remote areas of the world. The drones would resemble a Boeing 767 in width, weigh less than a small vehicle and help Facebook connect with the roughly 5 billion people that it does not already reach on a global scale.  Continue reading Facebook Hopes Drones Will Expand Global Internet Connectivity

Google Invests in SpaceX to Push Worldwide Internet Access

SpaceX recently landed a $1 billion investment from Google and investment firm Fidelity. Google’s commitment to SpaceX is part of the company’s ambitious plan to facilitate Internet connectivity on a global scale in order to serve more areas of the world, reach consumers more directly, and ultimately get its products into more hands. In addition, Google has plans to offer a wireless service through deals with Sprint and T-Mobile, which could lead to rivals lowering their prices and improving connectivity speeds. Continue reading Google Invests in SpaceX to Push Worldwide Internet Access

Elon Musk Plans to Provide Internet Access on a Global Scale

Elon Musk, entrepreneur and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, has set global Internet access as his most recent endeavor. Working together with former Google executive and WorldVu Satellites founder Greg Wyler, Musk plans to design smaller and less expensive satellites that would compete with those already in space. Sources predict that the duo plans to launch close to 700 of these satellites. The projected cost of the project is in the range of about $1 billion. Continue reading Elon Musk Plans to Provide Internet Access on a Global Scale

Google’s Skybox Purchase is About More Than Satellite Images

By 2016, Skybox Imaging will use six satellites to capture daily images of the Earth. By 2018, the company plans to launch 24 satellites, imaging the entire planet with exceptional resolution. Google’s acquisition of Skybox for $500 million will allow the Internet company to use these satellites to provide faster online access to high-quality images. The deal, in the long run, is also expected to improve Internet access and assist with disaster relief. It could also collect new levels of information on people and companies. Continue reading Google’s Skybox Purchase is About More Than Satellite Images