Google Fiber’s Expansion Continues

    Google Fiber continues to enter — or explore entering — new cities. Network World and other sites reported this week that the company is exploring moves into Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Jacksonville and Tampa, Florida. It added San Diego and Irvine, California, and Louisville, Kentucky to the exploratory list last month.

    According to the story, Google is operational, designing/building systems or in exploratory mode in 18 cities. There also likely is goading of other providers, though it is impossible to precisely gauge the impact of Google Fiber on the telephone and cable companies with which it completes. The only thing that can be said for sure is that clearly there has been a general acceleration in both speeds and size of footprint.

    The story points out that the first Google Fiber build was in Kansas City – both in Missouri and Kansas. Ironically, the video service there suffered a blackout this week during a World Series game in which the hometown Royals were playing.

    What’s the LTE-U Battle About?

    A little dust-up is going on between the Wi-Fi sector and cellular folks about the use of unlicensed spectrum for LTE (LTE-U). Network World’s Jon Gold offers a nice explanation of what is going on.

    Essentially, Wi-Fi devices were designed to operate in an unlicensed environment. That means that anyone can play and, for that reason, certain technical elements must be built in to ensure that an access point (AP) or other device is sensitive to others. Licensed spectrum, however, is built on a system in which the licensee has full rights and doesn’t have to pay attention to anyone else. Thus, it lacks the functionality necessary to be a good neighbor.

    LTE therefore has to be tweaked in order to be able to use unlicensed spectrum. The fight, which is an important one, is over precisely how LTE will be given the capabilities to coexist with other players in the unlicensed band.

    Mind Control Breakthrough

    There always is time to pay a little attention to a sci-fi come-to-life story. InformationWeek reports this week on research at Royal Holloway at the University of London, where “a major breakthrough” has occurred on understanding brain signals. This knowledge, the story says, may help mind-controlled computers and prosthetics. The breakthrough actually is easy to understand:

    For the first time, researchers were able to study neural signals of planned actions and predict a person’s movement.

    The difference between this and other progress in the field is simple: Previous progress was based on interpreting motor signals, which is what the brain sends to the body to order it to do something. At Royal Holloway, researchers were able to read signals denoting planned actions and predicting a person’s movement from those.

    BC/DR’s Second – and Tremendous – Cloud Benefit

    One of the reasons it’s good to be a cloud provider – or, for that matter, a customer – is that there are two completely discrete advantages to the approach.

    The most-cited benefits of the cloud are operational, and include such things as reducing expenses and better serving remote and mobile workers. However, a natural outgrowth of the cloud is to provide business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) functions. This is a very big deal – and becoming more so over time – and to some comes as an almost hidden benefit.

    The ITWeb/EMC 2015 Cloud computing survey, which was conducted from late July to early August, provides a tremendous amount of insight into perceptions of cloud computing. The IT Web, a South African site, actually found that users appreciate the BC/DR functions more than other benefits:

    Business continuity emerged as the top-rated benefit of cloud by respondents (71%), second was cost saving at 67% and higher availability ranked third at 56%.

    EE to Trial 1 Gbps over 4G

    Light Reading’s Iain Morris reports that Olaf Swantee, the CEO of EE, said that the UK carrier will trial a 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) service over its 4G network during the first half of next year.

    The company, which previously indicated that it would try the approach this year, but didn’t release specifics, said that it would use carrier aggregation techniques to combine as many as five different spectrum channels, Morris wrote. The result would be service as much as six times faster than the 150 Megabits per second (Mbps) on its current “double speed” 4G network.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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