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Comment Re:Google Fi Access Points (Score 1) 198

That's more likely what they're doing. Seeing how far they can expand the Fi network.

In what sense does this let them expand the Fi network? Maybe they could do a deal with an ISP like Comcast to let them do public facing access over home routers (, but why would an ISP go for that?

Submission + - Google's OnHub WiFi router is a strategic product

lpress writes: Last quarter, Google made $16 billion on advertising and $1.7 billion on "other sales." I don't know how "other sales" breaks down, but a chunk of that is hardware devices like the Pixel Chromebook, Chromecast, Next thermostat, Nexus phone and, now, WiFi routers. Does the world need another $200 home router? Why would Google bother? I can think of a couple of strategic reasons — they hope it will become a home-automation hub (competing with the Amazon Echo) and it will enable them to dynamically configure and upgrade your home or small office network for improved performance (hence more ads).

Comment Re:A "phone" is already obsolete. (Score 1) 138

That is true for the US and a lot of other places, but Cuba has very little IP connectivity today so their 2G phones are still useful. In my post, I was suggesting that in perhaps five years they would be able to ditch their 2G phones and not bother with obsolete phones beyond that. Check the graph in my post for confirmation of your contention that "phones" are obsolete.

Comment Re:People have to be careful (Score 0) 138

Let's be honest, US has only brought Cuba back in to the peace because of the current geo-political situation.

I disagree that it is the only reason, but think that fear of the growing influence of China in Cuba and Latin America is a motivating factor. (The State Department denies this by the way).

Comment Re:4G LTE is the way to go, not waiting for magic (Score 1) 138

My concern with LTE is that Cuba is a poor country and, in order to install ubiquitous LTE, they would need a lot of foreign investment in return for control and profits to the investor. I am not a big fan of, say, Verizon or Orange. By 2020, the Cuban economy will be in better shape, there will be newer technology and the US embargo will probably be history. Can they get by with expanded WiFi for mobile access and their current 2G phone system until then? Also, it is not clear that with the current government and economy that they could find an investor.

Submission + - Can Cuba skip cell phone connectivity?

lpress writes: Cuba has a second generation cellular network and Internet access is limited to about 5% of the population via work and school accounts and (mostly dial up) access in a few homes, so it was big news when they rolled out 35 public WiFi hotspots. Can they expand this public WiFi and skip 3G and 4G cell infrastructure until 5G equipment is available in about five years? By then, the US trade embargo will be gone, the Cuban economy will be improved and 5G and other wireless technologies will be available. Will they even need cell phone capability by then?

Submission + - Bitcoin comes to Cuba

lpress writes: Cuba has two paper currencies — the Peso and the Convertible Peso or CUC. CUCs are worth about $1 and Pesos, which are used for government salaries, are worth about $.04. But, what about Bitcoin? The first Cuban Bitcoin transaction is history. Will Bitcoin be used by Cubans and Americans to sell goods and services without the knowledge of their governments? Cuban offshore developers might be the first to use Bitcoin.

Submission + - Cuban traffic has shifted from satellite to undersea cable

lpress writes: Nearly all of Cuba's international traffic is now routed over the ALBA-1 undersea cable, which connects Cuba and Venezula. The cable landing is at the east end of the island, so there must be a backbone connecting major cities to it. Huawei is installing home DSL and WiFi hotspotsi in Cuba — have they also installed an inter-province backbone?

Submission + - Cuba connecting universities with fiber

lpress writes: Two Cuban universities have fiber links and fiber connections will be available to all Cuban universities in January 2016. One of the currently connected universities is in the west, near Havana (satellite ground station) and one in the east, near the undersea cable landing. Are these the early stages of a fiber backbone? Cuba will use Chinese equipment for DSL to the home and Wifi access points. I wonder if Chinese equipment is being used in these fiber links. If so, how is Cuba paying for it and what, if anything, are they giving up? Oh — and where does that leave US vendors?

Submission + - SpaceX and OneWeb -- same goal, different technology and strategy

lpress writes: OneWeb has announced that Airbus will manufacture their Internet-connectivity satellites and told us more about their plans and progress. Both OneWeb and their competitor SpaceX have the same goal — global Internet connectivity and backhaul using satellite constellations, but their technologies and organizational strategies are different. SpaceX will use many more satellites than OneWeb, but they will be smaller, shorter-lived, cheaper and orbit at a lower altitude. They are also keeping more of the effort in-house. This is competitive capitalism at its best — let's hope both succeed.

Submission + - Cuba forms a CS professional society -- it's no ACM

lpress writes: The formation of the Unión de Informáticos de Cuba (UIC) was announced at a Havana conference and a 7,500 person teleconference (no mean feat in Cuba). My first reaction was "cool — like a Cuban ACM," but there are signfificant differences between ACM and UIC. For example, one must apply to the Ministry of Communication to be accepted into the UIC and the application form asks about membership in political organizations like the Communist Party or Young Communists League along with technical qualifications. A CS degree is required (sorry Bill Gates). UIC members must be Cuban, while ACM has chapters in 57 nations. ACM has student chapters, but they are less needed in Cuba, which has over 600 youth computer clubs where kids take classes and play games and promising students are tracked and channeled into technical schools.

Submission + - SpaceX applies to test Internet service satellites

lpress writes: Elon Musk's SpaceX and Greg Wyler's OneWeb both hope to provide global Interent access using constellations of low-Earth orbit satellites. Neither company plans to be in operation for several years, but Musk's SpaceX is ready to test two satellites. They have applied for permission to launch two satellites that will orbit at 625 km. They will use them to test two types of terminal at each of three West Coast ground stations.

Submission + - Will the nascent Cuban startup community thrive?

lpress writes: The Cuban startup community has some things going for it, including well educated users, hackers and developers and a resourceful, cooperative culture. That's the good news, but obstacles include nearly nonexistent Internet connectivity, a lack of capital and business experience and a bureaucratic government that may favor state enterprises. Let's hope the community takes off.

Submission + - Get to know Elon Musk -- 3 cool videos

lpress writes: I have my classes watch three Elon Musk videos — an interview by Sal Khan of the Khan Academy, Musk introducing his planned satellite constellation for global Internet connectivity and his introduction of Tesla Energy. The videos show his goals and motivation, his role as an open-source catalyst rather than an industrialist and his skill as a speaker.

Byte your tongue.