Posts tagged ‘satellite’

RUS Prepares to Fund Satellite Projects

The RUS has decided that, in round 2, there will be a specific and clearly defined role for satellite internet service providers.

Satellite service grants will be accepted for specific areas (the map showing those areas has not yet been published).

Satellite service is designed for those areas where wireline and wireless won’t work, where either would cost over $10,000 per home connected.

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Tech Savvy Vermont Grades Applications

I don’t agree completely with the internet plan of Vermont Governor Douglas (R) but even in this advanced day, he deserves credit for having a clear and ambitious vision for the future of the internet in the state of Vermont.

It is therefore no surprise that he took the task of ranking applications to heart and provided a clear, detailed letter (here in .pdf format from the Baller Herbst website) that ranked the various applications involving the state of Vermont.

He chose Vermont CTO Tom Evslin (blog here) to head the stimulus effort of the state of Vermont — a higher profile person than that heading the stimulus effort in many much larger states. Continue reading ‘Tech Savvy Vermont Grades Applications’ »

Nevada Supports Satellite and Connected Nation

The Nevada Broadband Task Force recommended (.pdf from Baller Herbst Law Group) a large number of projects but should be commended for ranking them all.

At the top of the list, the task force placed two public computer projects (about $4 million to $6 million each) which seem to me to be very worthwhile. Detailed information is available for one of them.

I was surprised to see the projects of Hughes and EchoStar recommended so highly. Unless they can reach parts of the state that nobody else can — this is possible — I see no reason for the deployment of satellite when better technologies are available.

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Kansas Recommends Many Projects

Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson (D, formerly R) recommended most of the projects that go through his state. Parkinson obtained the seat when Kathleen Sibelius, who had worked hard for Obama, especially during the primaries, resigned to become secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, a job that became very important when swine flu hit the U.S.

Parkinson, who says he plans to step down in 2010, appears to have recommended most of the applications in the state of Kansas, including several multistate applications. Kansas is one of the few states to recommend EchoStar’s nationwide satellite deployment. The governor also recommended a large and costly cellular deployment. Several of the projects appear to overlap each other.

The state even recommended a project from Connected Nation, the telcos’ non-profit.

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Connecticut’s Governor Recommends All Six Applicants

In contrast to other governors, Jodi Rell (R) of Connecticut managed to recommend all six applications for her state without seeming unreasonable.

Applicants were: City of Manchester, City of New Haven, Hartford, West Hartford, and East Hartford. Hartford, CT is the capital of the state and may have had undue influence, but all applications seem reasonable.

The sixth application is from AlphaStar and uses satellite technology. I think that it is not as good as the other five. It is a large project, partially redacted, so the public cannot judge it but based on the information submitted, I think the government should ask for a partial rollout of it in order to prove it works.

The governor of Connecticut also supported a number of large nationwide projects. I think that for some of these projects, the government should request a pilot project in order to prove they work before funding the entire grant request.

Hughes Applies for $650 Million

In three applications, satellite provider Hughes Network Systems has applied for about $650 million to serve “all rural and rural remote unserved and underserved areas in the U.S.”

Satellite broadband is a special case. Although it can reach virtually anywhere in the U.S. — to any place from which you can see the Southern sky — it has unique flaws.

Satellite signals are transmitted over a sufficiently long distance to introduce latency, a delay of almost a full second that can degrade or even break some applications — especially those employing voice.

I don’t believe that 10 percent of the stimulus should be spent on delivering this lower quality service. Instead, I hope that the stimulus will be spent on delivering the same quality of service to rural areas that is currently enjoyed in wealthy areas of the United States.

I do see a limited use for satellite. There is an application from Motorbrain Consulting, Inc. of Lincoln, Maine, to deliver satellite service to 3,400 homes that have no other option, free to the customer, for 2 years, at a cost of $ 5,571,784. That’s less than $100 per home per month, and seems reasonable.

The state of Maine is mountainous and heavily forested, making it difficult (but not impossible) to bring wireless or fiber service to many homes. I think that Motorbrain’s application has merit.