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Two years ago if you had told me Google would be pushing their own super-fast Internet service around the United States, I would've been hesitant to believe you. Now, they're looking to expand their Fiber service, by cementing that it isn't just an expensive research project, but it is a great and profitable business for the search giant.
Google Fiber head, Milo Medin, talked to CNET, noting that Google had kept the costs down by partnering up with cities that are interested in bringing Google's gigabit fiber network to their residents. These partners have helped Google build a less expensive, and less time-consuming network. The search giant are also keeping the bills from going sky-high by building their own network in select neighborhoods, which are known as "fiberhoods", where the demand for their gigabit Internet access is strong, versus entire cities.
Medin talked about the challenges the company faced when they launched Fiber, where the executive noted that the biggest headache was offering TV service, which is some what of a must when trying to attract new customers away from the usual phone and cable companies. The TV service has cost Google the most money, as they've had to sign programming agreements, build their own set-top-boxes and create an entire system for delivering TV through their fiber network.
Google could provide Internet access to "emerging markets" like Africa and Asia, not by using the usual cables, but by balloons. Google would use "high-altitude platforms" in order to blast a wireless signal across a gigantic area which would span hundreds of square miles.
These aren't just normal Wi-Fi routers sitting in balloons, but they would use frequencies different than those used for usual television broadcasts, which is an area that Google would need governmental approval before they could take to the skies. Why would Google do this for emerging markets? Well, they do have countless services that they could provide to hundreds of millions of customers, and with half of the world's population without Internet access, this could be a large, untapped gold mine for the Mountain View-based giant.
BlackBerry is attempting to stay relevant with its latest offering of smartphones. While there is some debate as to whether or not it's working, BlackBerry is charging ahead with other attempts at stay relevant. BlackBerry has announced that they will be releasing BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) apps for both the iOS and Android platforms sometime this summer.
The app will be a free download for both iOS and Android. At the start, BBM will only support text communication, but BlackBerry has plans to add voice and screen sharing sometime down the road. Investors weren't too happy with this announcement and BlackBerry's stock price dropped by about 6 percent.
BlackBerry says the service currently handles around 10 billion messages every day, sent by over 60 million users. The mobile messaging market is heating up with WhatsApp being the messaging app currently on top. Why BlackBerry has just now decided to release BBM for other platforms isn't clear. It could be a good thing, or it could be the signal of a dying company.
Google seems serious about its Google Fiber endeavor as it has been announcing upcoming cities left and right. The latest city to join Google's growing list of cities that will be getting Google Fiber is Gladstone, Missouri. Gladstone is just north of Kansas City, as you can see on the map provided by Google:
Like the other cities currently pending for Google Fiber, Google needs to plan, engineer, and build the infrastructure. Not even a timeline or projected date has been provided to residents, but this should allow them to rest easy knowing that they will soon be getting super-fast and reasonably priced Internet access.
I'm not even enjoying 4G yet, and all I keep hearing is talk of a 5G network being deployed within the next decade. Samsung are behind the new talks, with an under-development wireless network to be capable of giving users the speed to stream data faster than ever dreamed before, even from current wired networks.
You might want to sit down to hear this, but Samsung's 5G network will be capable of 10 gigabits per second, giving users download speeds of around 1.25GB/sec. Considering 4G LTE provides around 75 megabits per second, or around 9.375MB/sec, it is a gigantic leap that can't be frowned upon. We're talking about downloading a Blu-ray movie in under one minute over your mobile Internet connection.
Syria regains Internet connectivity after 19 hours, outage believed to be caused by 'optical cable malfunction'
Internet connectivity is returning to normal in war-torn Syria. Multiple different sources have confirmed that connectivity has returned to the region, though a specific cause can't be determined as of yet. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency is reporting that the outage was a result of an optic cable malfunction.
Of course, being a state-run media, it's very possible this report could be inaccurate. What I still find extremely scary is the fact that an entire country can drop off of the Internet just like that. This is a case where we need to come up with a more redundant and reliable network.
Google has announced that Grandview, Missouri will join the growing list of cities in which Google Fiber will be available. This announcement comes just five days after Google announced that Shawnee, Kansas residents could expect Google Fiber to become available in the coming months and years.
Like the last announcement, the details were a bit on the light side. Residents know that they will be getting Fiber, but they don't know when. Grandview is located just south of Kansas City, the first city to get Google Fiber. This will make the expansion easy and makes logical sense as to why Google picked it for Google Fiber.
Google shows no signs of slowing down Fiber roll out. In fact, the announcements seem to be speeding up, suggesting that Google ultimately wants to be an ISP. Keep your fingers crossed that Fiber soon makes its way to your city.
Apple has never been very good when it comes to Internet-based activities. MobileMe and other offerings by Apple have often fallen by the wayside as Google and others produced better--and cheaper--alternatives. Apple's iMessage service makes use of the Internet to transmit text messages between iPhones and other Apple devices.
Apple's iMessage is also suffering from an interesting, if not too problematic, glitch that results in the last word of phrases to be replaced with spaces. The glitch only affects certain phrases and it's not clear why the glitch is even occurring. Even more interesting, if you copy the message and paste it into the compose window, the full, unadulterated phrase will be shown.
To trigger the bug, you have to use certain phrases with a trailing space. For instance, "I could be the next Obama" results in Obama being removed and replaced with spaces. You can also try "the best prize is a surprise". If you find any other phrases that trigger the bug, let us know!
We covered T-Mobile's 4G LTE launch and Uncarrier event pretty closely. At the time, all of the other major networks in the country already had operating LTE networks in multiple markets. T-Mobile now believes that it could end up being the first carrier to roll out 5G LTE-Advanced.
In a recent interview with Venture Beat, T-Mobile's head of radio network and evolution strategy, Yasmin Karimli, said that this is due to their slow rollout of 4G:
I think we'll probably be able to move faster [to LTE-Advanced] because we have the latest hardware in place. Others may have hardware that's two years old, so they may have to rip and replace.
We don't fully know what it will take for the other networks to roll out 5G LTE-Advanced, though what Karimli says makes sense. 5G LTE allows for theoretical speeds of up to 300Mbps, around three times faster than LTE. T-Mobile plans to cover 100 million people by mid-2013 and 200 million by the end of 2013 with 4G LTE.
Sprint is a bit behind the other major US carriers in terms of LTE availability because they originally went with WiMax as their 4G technology. Not wanting to be left behind, Sprint has been pushing out LTE as quickly as possible. We previously announced that Sprint was ready to bring LTE to 21 new markets and now they have officially announced its availability.
Joining the ranks of LTE-enabled markets are the following:
- Albemarle, N.C.
- Bloomington, Ind.
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Contra Costa County, Calif.
- Denison, Texas
- Greeneville, Tenn.
- Joplin, Mo.
- Kerrville, Texas
- Lafayette, Ind.
- Lincolnton, N.C.
- Los Angeles
- Mankato/North Mankato, Minn.
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Newport News, Va.
- Palm Bay, Fla.
- Port St. Lucie, Fla.
- Rochelle, Ill.
- Salisbury, N.C.
- Shelby, N.C.
- Tullahoma, Tenn.
- West Palm Beach, Fla.
These new additions bring Sprint's total LTE market count up to 88, still far behind the other carriers. Sprint has said that there will be more than 170 markets getting LTE in the coming months as they play catch up. Some cities, such as San Francisco, already have LTE, though they haven't been officially announced.