Person rallies neighbors to develop their have fiber-optic network

A team of Los Altos Hills, California, people is standing up to world-wide-web giants Comcast and AT&T.

Tech-loaded but world wide web-lousy, people of the Silicon Valley neighborhood have been fed up with sluggish broadband speeds of much less than 25 Megabits-per-next (Mbps) obtain and 3 Mbps upload — the federal definition of a household unserved by satisfactory world-wide-web.

Discouraged by the acquire-it-or-go away-it attitude of online vendors, they designed their possess answer — and now this tony enclave has a single of the swiftest household speeds in the nation.

Scott Vanderlip, a application engineer, explained Comcast gave him a $17,000 estimate to join his dwelling to the a lot quicker world wide web company at a neighbor’s property.

“You received to be kidding me – I can see it on the pole from my driveway,” Vanderlip claimed, remembering his reaction to Comcast’s quote.

So the self-described “town rebel” jumped at the likelihood to companion with a startup net provider service provider called Subsequent Stage Networks. If Vanderlip could rally a couple of neighbors ready to make investments a pair thousand bucks, Subsequent Degree would get them incredibly rapidly online.

That was in 2017. Now, Vanderlip is president of the Los Altos Hills Group Fiber Association, which supplies tremendous-rapidly speeds — up to 10 Gigabits-for each-next add and download — to its around 40 association customers, letting them transfer enormous information and load webpages in the click on of a personal computer mouse, Vanderlip claimed. That’s 125 situations a lot quicker than the average obtain pace in Santa Clara County.

The status quo of broadband interaction — the passing of huge quantities of info from one area to one more at the identical time — utilizes phone wires or copper coaxial cables owned by significant firms like Comcast, Spectrum and AT&T.

This copper-based online is all which is out there to virtually 60% of the properties in the United States, in accordance to the Fiber Broadband Affiliation. Four in 10 older people earning considerably less than $30,000 a yr did not have broadband world-wide-web accessibility at home in 2021, in accordance to Pew surveys. And several Americans have no internet at all.

“We just can’t preserve begging the Comcasts and the AT&Ts of the entire world to build out a network that assures everybody in our group has (world-wide-web) that is dependable and very affordable,” reported Sean Gonsalves, who works on neighborhood broadband networks at the Institute for Neighborhood Self Reliance.

Specialists say tremendous-speedy fiber optic cables are the upcoming of broadband. As an alternative of utilizing energy, modest beams of gentle bounce down the main of glass or plastic fiber optic cables, each measuring as thick as a stack of two sheets of printer paper.

Mainly because it transmits details by using light-weight, fiber optic online has practically limitless capability, Gonsalves mentioned, and its infrastructure is more cost-effective to maintain than copper cables. Most importantly, fiber supplies the exact same net speeds when downloading and uploading facts, this means

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Taiwan options for Ukraine-style again-up satellite Internet network amid chance of war

When Russian forces knocked the Ukrainian city of Irpin offline in March, Tesla chief Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite World-wide-web company arrived to the rescue.

In just two days, the town – whose electrical power lines and cellular and Online networks were broken or wrecked – was back again on the net, and people could instantly get in contact with loved ones, according to studies.

Now, Taiwan – ever contending with the risk of a Chinese invasion – is using a leaf out of that handbook by location up a comparable again-up satellite World wide web network.

“The experience of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine… showed that the complete world can know what is occurring there in real time,” mentioned Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang in new media interviews, conveying ideas to construct “digital resilience for all” in Taiwan.

In excess of the subsequent two decades, the island is set to demo a NT$550 million (S$24.67 million) satellite programme that aims to preserve Taiwan’s command systems operating if typical connections get cut, Ms Tang said.

A number of Taiwan firms are now in conversations with international satellite provider companies, she included, with no giving aspects.

New satellite World wide web products and services these types of as these presented by Starlink depend on a constellation of lower Earth orbit (LEO) satellites orbiting at an altitude of 550km that can beam the Internet into even the most distant areas from space.

Presently, intercontinental Online site visitors is mainly carried via fibre-optic cables lining the ocean flooring.

Taiwan is linked to the earth by means of 15 submarine details cables.

“The Internet made use of in Taiwan relies heavily on undersea cables, so if (attackers) cut off all the cables, they would slash off all of the Internet there,” Dr Lennon Chang, a cyber-safety researcher at Monash College, informed The Straits Situations.

“It tends to make feeling for the authorities to have alternate sorts of interaction ready for emergency cases,” he added.

Taiwan’s satellite demo programme will come amid soaring cross-strait tensions, which attained new heights in modern weeks in the wake of US Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s take a look at to the island in August. China, which views self-governing Taiwan as its own territory, deemed her excursion an infringement of its very own sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Beijing has under no circumstances renounced the use of pressure to convey Taiwan beneath its management, and responded to the visit by launching a collection of unprecedented army exercises, such as the firing of ballistic missiles about the island.

Already, some analysts say that considerations about Taiwan’s community vulnerabilities are very serious.

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High-speed internet in Alabama: State provides $82 million for ‘middle-mile’ network

Back in January, the Alabama Legislature and Gov. Kay Ivey approved a plan to spend $276 million of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act federal funds on the expansion of access to high-speed internet.

Today, Ivey and legislative leaders announced that $82 million of that would be used for a grant to help fund a “middle-mile” broadband network that officials said would have statewide impact.

Fiber Utility Network, a corporation formed by eight rural electric cooperatives, will create the network to connect more than 3,000 miles of new and existing fiber infrastructure over the next three years, officials said.

Leaders of the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the Alabama Senate and other legislators joined the governor for the announcement at 11 a.m. at Central Alabama Electric Cooperative in Prattville, one of the cooperatives that formed the new corporation. The other cooperatives are Coosa Valley, Covington, Cullman, Joe Wheeler, North Alabama, PowerSouth, and Tombigbee.

The “middle-mile” network will be the next step in an initiative Ivey and lawmakers have said is a priority for several years. Ivey said more than 300 Alabama cities and towns will benefit from the network.

“And once connected, it will give a whole lot more Alabama families the ability to opt to be customers to one of the last-mile service providers,” Ivey said. “If you’re at home or watching the news, what you care most about is being able to have working internet, plain and simple. Well folks, the middle mile, the infrastructure setting part of this journey, is exactly what’s going to get us there.”

Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville, said broadband is essential for economic development, education and health care.

“Connectivity is the great equalizer. And I truly believe it will bring our most vulnerable communities into the 21st century,” Scofield said.

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, said high-speed internet can help bring hope to parts of the state that are short on jobs and resources, like electrical power did generations ago.

“Broadband is the new utility,” Singleton said. “It is the new power. It is the new water.”

Alabama’s effort to expand broadband access got a major boost when Congress approved the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a pandemic relief package that has sent billions of federal dollars to Alabama, including $2 billion for lawmakers to appropriate for state government purposes. The $276 billion for broadband comes from the state’s first $1 billion portion of ARPA funds. Legislators approved it in a special session in January. Legislators are expected to consider how to use the second $1 billion portion next year.

Last year, Ivey signed into law the Connect Alabama Act to set up a state government framework for making broadband available statewide. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the agency spearheading the effort, released the Alabama Broadband Map and the Alabama Connectivity Plan in January.

The map showed that about 13 percent of 1.65 million addresses in Alabama do not have access to broadband service as defined by

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Solar Protocol network explores the potential of a solar-powered internet

Internet traffic is controlled by the “logic of the sun” in Solar Protocol, a solar-powered network whose creators argue for digital design within planetary limits.

Solar Protocol involves a series of solar-powered servers, set up in locations across the world’s time zones and serving its hosted websites from whichever spot is enjoying the most sunlight.

This subverts the typical operation of the internet, as usually when an internet user goes to access a website, their request is directed to whichever server gives them the quickest response — typically the one that is closest geographically.

The Solar Protocol website is one of three things currently hosted on the network

The website might load slower for someone using the Solar Protocol, but the process will make use of the most naturally available energy, so it is optimised in a different way.

The network’s creators — artists and New York University professors Tega Brain, Alex Nathanson and Benedetta Piantella — consider this the “logic of the sun”, a way of designing by considering earthly dynamics such as the sun’s interaction with the Earth.

They created Solar Protocol to get people thinking about the links between energy use and digital design, a topic that they say is hugely overlooked.

A solar panel sits on a rooftop, held in place by sand bags
The solar-powered servers are located all over the world, such as this one in Queens, New York

“In the field of computer science, there’s always been this idea of computing being unlimited and infinite,” Brain told Dezeen. “There’s not a culture of considering the material impacts and the fact that these systems are reliant on giant energy-sucking, water-sucking data centres that are all around the world.”

“A decision about, for example, whether you are going to run JavaScript or not, it doesn’t matter, it’s completely insignificant if it’s just one. But if you scale that on the level of Google or Facebook, and you have millions or billions of users, it’s enormously significant.

“We’re trying to develop a different approach to design and particularly to UX design, where this thinking currently doesn’t exist at all.”

“We’re really concerned about how to frame design as being within planetary limits and within the energy context,” added Nathanson.

The creators are keen to qualify that their project is a provocation about how we use the internet and not a solution to its energy issues.

They don’t advocate switching the entire internet to a solar protocol. Instead, they are using the experimental project to explore multiple intersecting ideas, including whether systems could be designed around “natural intelligence” as much as artificial intelligence, designing for intermittency, and questioning the primacy of high-resolution.

These ideas are explored on the Solar Protocol website and in a recent paper by the team on the site Computing Without Limits.

Aerial photo of a man sitting surrounded by wires and circuitry while talking to someone on an open laptop
The Solar Protocol creators worked with collaborators all over the world to set up the servers

In the paper, they take aim at some expected targets – Web3 technologies such as cryptocurrency, they

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European telecoms chiefs call on tech firms to share internet network costs | Telecommunications industry

The bosses of Europe’s biggest telecoms operators including BT, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom have called for tech firms such as Netflix an Amazon to pay for some of the soaring costs of data fuelled by the global streaming and internet boom.

The call from the 16 chief executives comes as the European Commission prepares to launch a consultation into whether technology companies such as Google, Facebook, Netflix and Microsoft should be made to pay some of the soaring costs for the huge amount of global internet traffic they carry on their telecoms networks.

More than half of global internet traffic takes place through six Silicon Valley companies – Google, Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft – according to ETNO, a lobby group for European telecoms operators. The proportion rises to as much as 80% when gaming giants such as the Call of Duty maker, Activision Blizzard, are included.

Much of the growth in data usage is driven by the streaming of shows such as the Netflix hit Bridgerton and Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which is based on the works of JRR Tolkien.

“We believe that the largest traffic generators should make a fair contribution to the sizeable costs they currently impose on European networks,” the telecoms chiefs said in a joint statement. “A fair contribution would send a clear financial signal for streamers in relation to the data growth associated with their use of scarce network resources.”

The statement says that European telecoms companies spend €50bn (£44.5bn) annually on building and maintaining full-fibre broadband and 5G networks.

The energy crisis and soaring costs of materials – fibre optic cable has doubled in price this year – is adding to the financial burden.

“In this context, the issue of ensuring a sustainable ecosystem for the internet and connectivity is more urgent than ever,” the companies said. “Timely action is a must. Europe missed out on many of the opportunities offered by the consumer internet. It must now swiftly build strength for the age of the metaverses.”

Streaming and internet companies say they do pay for their content through huge investment in systems that dramatically reduce the costs to telecoms companies.

These include vast networks of data servers that allow content to be delivered close to telecoms operators’ networks, shortening the distance data then travels and cost to consumers, with the Silicon Valley companies footing the bill for “transit charges”.

On Monday, Matt Brittin, the president of EMEA business and operations at Google, said last year the company spent more than €23bn in capital expenditure, much of which was on infrastructure.

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