Welcome to Friday and your weekly edition of Gigabites. Today, Aereo founder Chet Kanojia plans nationwide gigabit wireless service under the name Starry Internet, Mozilla makes ready to fund new gigabit application projects in Kansas City and Chattanooga, the FCC makes waves with the 2015 Broadband Progress report and more.
There are two parts to Starry. One is the Starry Station, a fancy retail WiFi router priced at $350 that includes an interactive touchscreen and simplified network configuration features. The second is Starry Internet, and that's where Kanojia's new venture gets interesting.
Starry says its Internet service will be the first to use "millimeter wave active phased array" technology for consumer communications. Current mobile industry plans also call for 5G to use millimeter wave, but in a different slice of spectrum. The designation of millimeter wave simply refers to the use of high-frequency spectrum bands. (See Spectrum Uncertainty Hinders 5G Research.)
According to Starry, its Internet service will offer wireless speeds up to a gigabit and be much cheaper to deploy than wired broadband. However, the company has to prove that the technology works and that it can scale in real-world conditions. Plus, Starry is sure to run into entrenched telecom interests in much the same way that Kanojia butted up against broadcasters with Aereo. Presumably there won't be copyright issues this time around, but it's likely the big Internet providers won't look kindly on Starry's work either.
Perhaps ironically, the FCC's internal argument centers partly on the agency's definition of broadband, which is 25 Mbits/s downstream and 3 Mbits/s upstream. That's nowhere near the gigabit speeds that the industry is hyping (and in some cases deploying) today. (See FCC Still Bemoans Rural Broadband Gap.)
Of note, Charlotte is also the site of Light Reading's Gigabit Cities Live event this spring. Both the CIO of Charlotte and Google Fiber's Michael Slinger, director of the Fiber Cities Team, are among the keynote speakers lined up for that April 5 event.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading