Weekly output: Starlink, spectrum coordination, flight delays (x2), T-Mobile and Verizon 5G home broadband, Mark Vena podcast

About one year later than I’d planned, I’m flying to Las Vegas Tuesday to cover the Black Hat information-security conference. Two big factors in my deciding to go ahead with that trip this year: My kid is now vaccinated and boosted, while I had Covid barely seven weeks ago.

8/2/2022: SpaceX’s Starlink has soared, but a course correction may be on the horizon, Fast Company

More weeks ago than I’d like to admit, one of my editors asked if I could do a more in-depth look at the progress of SpaceX’s Starlink low-Earth-orbit broadband constellation. A day after this piece ran, Reddit’s ever-informative r/starlink served up new evidence of capacity issues at this service: a new rate plan in France that cuts the monthly rate in half but imposes a 250 GB threshold for possible speed deprioritization.

8/2/2022: 2 Key Federal Telecom Agencies Promise to Play Nice With Wireless Spectrum, PCMag

Two federal offices about two miles apart in D.C. pledged to work better together in spectrum planning. That might seem like an obvious thing to do, but the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration last updated this memorandum of understanding in 2003.

Story as seen in Chrome on a Pixel 5a phone, showing its lead illustration: a photo of people waiting on line at an airport.8/3/2022: Don’t Get Stranded: How to Watch for Flight Delays and Get Around Them, PCMag

A discussion on PCMag’s Slack workspace about coping with travel hiccups led to me asking if I could write this story, and not just because I’d like to recoup my added travel costs from my unplanned extra night in Toronto in June.

8/3/2022: How Verizon ‘fixed wireless’ and T-Mobile home broadband is converting cable customers, USA Today

After a reality-check interview with an analyst who reminded me that fiber scales so much better to meet demand than fixed wireless can, this column on the progress of T-Mobile and Verizon’s 5G-based home broadband got a bit less enthusiastic about its potential.

8/4/2022: S02 E32 – SmartTechCheck Podcast, Mark Vena

My main contribution to this discussion was talking about my Starlink story, but if you watch the video of the podcast you can also see me scowl at a Lightning cable.

8/5/2022: DOT Moves to Strengthen Rules on Refunds for Flight Changes, Cancellations, PCMag

Speaking of travel delays, I returned to the subject to cover a set of proposed Department of Transportation rules that would clarify what counts as a significant schedule change and a cancelled flight–and require either non-expiring trip credits or straight-up refunds for travel canceled because of a future pandemic.

Weekly output: Google shopping-search lawsuit, broadband competition in apartments, Fox earnings, DELETE Act, Mark Vena podcast

Yet another Super Bowl has ended without Washington’s woeful NFL franchise having any involvement in the game–which is fine, really, because D.C. sports fans will always have 2018 and 2019.

(In addition to the work below, I wrote a post for Patreon subscribers breaking down potential savings on tax-prep apps available through some credit cards.)

2/7/2022: Swedish Price-Finding Site Sues Google for $2.4B Over Alleged Market Abuse, PCMag

When I write about lawsuits, I usually insist on linking to a PDF of the complaint so that readers can make their own judgment about that source text. But here the plaintiffs said they couldn’t provide that.

Screenshot of the story as seen in Safari on an iPad2/8/2022: FCC Chair Plugs Plan to Open Apartment, Condo Buildings to Broadband Competition, PCMag

My first workday spent entirely in D.C. in almost two years (courtesy of the telecom-industry group Incompas hosting their policy summit downtown instead of online) allowed me to write up Federal Communications Commission chair Jessica Rosenworcel’s speech backing a proposed set of rules to open up broadband choices for apartment and condominium dwellers.

2/9/2022: Sports betting boosts Fox revenue, busts Fox income, FierceVideo

I filled in at my video-industry-news client to cover Fox’s quarterly earnings. As some of the Super Bowl ads may have reminded you, the sports-betting industry is doing some huge favors for TV networks right now.

2/10/2022: With DELETE Act, Senators Want a ‘Do Not Call’ List for Data Brokers, PCMag

I wrote up a new bipartisan bill that would let Americans opt out of the collection and sale of their information by data brokers, a topic I covered at length for The Verge last year.

2/10/2022: S02 E06 – SmartTechCheck Podcast, Mark Vena

I rejoined this industry analyst’s podcast after a few weeks off to discuss the FCC’s move to require Internet providers to provide broadband shoppers with a standardized, food-label-style list of just what sort of service they’ll get.