In today's fixed-access news, UK doubles fiber availability, rural US gets more gigs, suspicious snips in FTTx, DISH hops onto Nest wagon and more in our final BBWN Bites of 2019.
Apple has about a dozen engineers from the worlds of satellite, aerospace and antenna design secretly working on satellite technologies, seeking ways to directly connect their devices to the Internet, Bloomberg reported today, citing people familiar with the work. The project is in very early stages and may not advance far, although Apple CEO Tim Cook "has shown interest," giving it some precedence in the corporation, the report said. Former aerospace engineers Michael Trela and John Fenwick, formerly of Skybox Imaging lead Apple's satellite initiative; both stayed with Skybox after Google bought the firm in 2014, where they led Google's satellite and spacecraft work before heading to Apple in 2017, Bloomberg wrote at the time.
About 3 million UK homes and businesses (10%) have access to full-fiber broadband connections, double the 2018 number, according to Ofcom's "Connected Nations" report, released today. The number of homes with access to speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s (referred to as 'superfast') grew more than 500,000 in the past year, taking overall UK superfast coverage to 95% of all premises (about 29 million), the UK regulator found.
This year, 25.3% of rural-telco subscribers have gigabit broadband available to them compared with 23.4% in 2018, according to the latest NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association research. An additional 35.5% of rural residents connect at speeds of between 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps versus 33.9% last year, NTCA found.
Simultaneous fiber-cable cuts in Bulgaria, Iran and Turkey caused a two-hour Internet outage in that region, the BBC reported. Because these fibers were cut at the same time, the news outlet described them as a "highly unusual thing to happen." BBWN agrees, putting the odds of this occurring "naturally" at about 1 gazillion to 1.
Pay-TV provider DISH now supports the Google Nest Hello Video doorbell with its Hopper and Wally receivers. When the doorbell rings, subscribers see an on-screen notification and image on their televisions. This is the first of several Google Nest integrations planned for the Hopper platform, DISH said.
This is the last BBWN Bites of 2019, although Broadband World News will have new stories as we end one year and begin another. BBWN and Light Reading wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and the best of everything in 2020 and beyond. - Alison
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