Wednesday, December 07, 2011

MVDDS for New Mexico Internet (Maybe)

[2012] This is one of my most widely contested post. It was originally a press release that I reformatted, then I added corrections.

Latest note from Jean-Claude Ducasse, "in RAD -INFO the comments by Kirkpatrick about Hypercable and MDSi are lies, the right Hypercable MVDDS full story official sources from FCC files Lawyers files US Navy etc... are here".

More corrections at the bottom as of Friday, 12/9/2011


Albuquerque is the first U.S. city selected to receive breakthrough, Internet connection technology that promises up to 50Mbs, wireless Internet speeds at very competitive pricing.

The technology is called Multi-Channel Video and Data Distribution Service (MVDDS) and is already operating in the UAE, Ireland, France, Vietnam, Greenland and Serbia.

The technology was developed by Florida based, MDS America. Deploying the technology in New Mexico is Agave Broadband, the exclusive licensee for New Mexico.

“This partnership with MDSA will provide the latest internet, high‐speed connectivity technology to the Albuquerque market and outlying areas,” said Les Matthews, Agave Broadband Director. “This is another step in our long‐term strategy to bring affordable, high‐speed connectivity to both commercial and residential users in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and in parts of rural New Mexico.”

MVDDS uses patented and patent-pending technology to take advantage of a licensed broadcast spectrum owned by Agave partner, MDS America.

“We’ve successfully deployed this technology in many rural parts of the world,” said Kirk Kirkpatrick, MDS America, President and CEO. “The Albuquerque market provides an excellent opportunity to deploy in a combination of rural/urban markets containing a wide variety of climatic conditions. New Mexico is just the beginning of our roll-out of MVDDS technology into the United States.”

Agave recently acquired Cibola Internet Services, who had begun the preliminary discussions with MDS America. Lou Uttaro, Cibola’s owner, who had for many years been on the forefront of bringing innovative Internet services to New Mexico, will remain involved with Agave in deploying the MVDDS technology in the state.

Agave Broadband currently provides wireless broadband internet service to the East Mountains from Edgewood to Mountainair. The partnership with MDS America will allow expansion of the company’s current service offerings to many population centers in the State of New Mexico.

Now the correction and tech specs:

"I'm not sure I would call this "NEW BROADBAND TECHNOLOGY", 20 some years ago this technology was first developed."

This technology uses the DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite) frequencies but at a terrestrial level.

It uses spectrum (US / FCC) in the 12.2 - 12.7 Ghz range.

The technology is UNI-DIRECTIONAL, in other words its a SEND TO SUBSCRIBER ONLY technology. [ME: like the original satellite broadband service.] The Internet is a BI-DIRECTIONAL technology, needing traffic in BOTH directions.

The primary use is to deploy multi-channel VIDEO via wireless and thus circumvent existing "Cable TV" franchise rules that municipalities presently have and are required by FCC.

The technology was initially developed in the mid 1980's and was known then as HyperCable.

In 2002, the FCC decided to hold a spectrum auction (Auction 53 and 63) for the land based use of the spectrum. The Albuquerque-Santa Fe market (Market ID MVD049) was granted on 7/26/2004. It EXPIRES on 7/26/2014. There is potential for renewal, if there is substantial service. The licensee has a requirement to provide substantial service within five years of the initial authorization grant. The initial authorization grant was on 7/26/2004. Add five years and you get 7/26/2009. [ME: missed by THAT much. So how come the spectrum didn't revert back to the FCC?]

Permissible Operations: MVDDS licensees may use this spectrum for any digital fixed non-broadcast service (broadcast services are intended for reception of the general public and not on a subscribership basis) including ONE-WAY direct-to-home/office wireless service. Licensees are permitted to provide ONE-WAY video programming and data services on a non-common carrier and/or on a common carrier basis. Mobile and aeronautical services are not authorized. Two-way services may be provided by using other spectrum or media for the return or upstream path.

So the licensee can use the service for ONE-WAY service and MUST NOT provide common carrier services. This could impact "VoIP / Voice" service offerings.

To deploy this technology Agave will need to deploy a DIFFERENT technology to get the packets from the subscriber BACK TO THE INTERNET. [ME: like a telephone modem :)] This can cause significant problems in actually achieving the bandwidth claimed.

Further, MDS Operations SHALL NOT partition or lease any portion of its license within the prior approval area, including Bernalillo County, Sandoval County. There do not appear to be any FCC approval records filed.

A few technical issues:

1. The licensee is permitted a SINGLE TRANSMITTER located at Sandia Park [35° 13' 01" North Lat. - 106° 27' 08" West Long] Since MDS Operations can only have a SINGLE TRANSMITTER, then is is a SHARED bandwidth system. The more customers they put on the system the less bandwidth will be available for each user.

2. The total amount of bandwidth will also be limited by the amount of bandwidth they can reliably get to the top of Sandia Peak. I do not believe there is FIBER at Sandia Peak. So they will have to use additional wireless technologies to get up to the peak. *** For 100 customers to get the 50Mb/s they will need to have 5000 Mb/s of uplink to Sandia (That's 5 Gbps) *** Unless they oversubscribe the system.

3. There is no "redundancy" in the system. If the single FCC authorized transmitter breaks, then all subscribers are DOWN.

4. Bandwidth will be limited by the latency and reliability of the back-channel technology deployed. Same problem that Satellite based systems have. The latency won't be quite as bad, but that really depends on the back-channel medium they use.

5. I suspect there will be NAT and other network address / routing issues that will cause certain Internet based applications to break or not work very well.

6. Assume they also deploy video on this technology (Video is/was the major driver of this technology), then the aggregate bandwidth available for "Internet" will be significantly less. A single HD video stream requires around 6 to 8 Mb/s, raw. That does NOT include the overhead of IP. So a 100 channel video service all in HD would need around 600 to 800 Mb/s of Bandwidth, in addition to the bandwidth consumed by Internet applications.


New update comes from "Kirk Kirkpatrick and I am the CEO of MDS America. We designed and built the MVDDS system denigrated below. I have been the CEO of MDS America since 2000 when the company was formed. I was the first Manager of Information Systems for the Public Data Network in Kuwait.....MDS America and its associated companies have been building MVDDS systems since their inception. We have build the largest such system in the world, in the U.A.E., with a total capacity of 700 digital television channels of which over 385 are presently lit. There are more than 15 active transmission sites and MDS America holds a current purchase order from that company for 14 more transmission sites. This system has been running, uninterrupted, since 2004."

Kirkpatrick took to the user group to reply to the journalist mainly with biting replies, which I think were unwarranted, but that's just me. The journalist was writing about MDS in America, not MVDDS deployed internationally. Spectrum usage is different in every nation.

Kirkpatrick wrote, "We called the technology HyperCable in the early 90s and sold it from our French subsidiary, MDS International. My engineer, Fabrice Ducasse is the one who coined the term HyperCable and also the terms (obsolete as well) HyperGate Internet distribution system and HyperBoost."

"The FCC decided to auction this [spectrum in Auction 53 and 63] on the basis of the 98-206 proceeding. This public proceeding was dominated by three parties, the DBS satellite industry, Northpoint Technologies Inc. (who claimed to have patented these systems but never built one), and MDS America. MDS America wanted the FCC to put this spectrum up for auction in the US. It was already being used by our systems in over 15 countries..... This is a standard spectral license from the FCC bought at auction. Virtually all FCC licenses are written this way and come with something called “renewal expectancy.” This means that if the license holders make an honest effort to use the licenses, they will be renewed. The 80 DMA license we hold, of which Albuquerque is only one, have already been renewed once."

About the bi-directional capabilities: What the journalist wrote "is inaccurate and simply shows that the author does not understand the issues involved. The MVDDS spectrum is used for the downstream. Our CPE are capable of using any path as an upstream. The CPE have a 3G card built in with a slot for a sim. This is very much a two-way system. It is simply using another spectrum for packets going back to Internet. In this case, Agave Broadband will provide an upstream link in another spectrum." [This doesn't make the author wrong about the uni-directional use of the spectrum. It just clarifies how MDS will make it bi-directional.]

"“This can cause significant problems in actually achieving the bandwidth claimed.” Could the author be a bit more vague? This is known as FUD. I have had a real world screen shot from one of our installed CPE in Albuquerque placed on the MDSA website." [ME: the screen shot is NOT there.]

"MDS America is operating this system and has not leased out the spectrum." So no FCC paperwork needed.

On a single site: "Actually we are allowed a single transmission site at this power level. As well can build out this site to its full capacity. The license is for the entire Designated Market Area which is 80% of the state of New Mexico. MDSA is fully empowered to build as many transmission sites as it needs to serve its customers. ... In addition, yes it is shared bandwidth like a Cable Internet service, Like DSL, like the Internet backbone, like ethernet, it is a shared bandwidth. That means it is even better that MDS is able to instantiate more bandwidth as we need it." [ME: I don't even understand that last statement.]

"This part is true. This transmission site will be limited somewhat by available bandwidth to the site. MDSA does not anticipate being able to supply more than 2Gbps to the top of the mountain. The system will be oversubscribed as well."

On Latency: "This part is where I started wondering why anyone would take this person seriously on a technical level. Satellite signals traverse from, at least, the Clarke belt, meaning minimally 35,786+ km of free space. Given the speed of Radio Frequency propagation there is almost 25 ms latency inherent in the round trip to/from the Clarke belt [geostationary satellite orbital arc]. ( [distance to Clarke Belt / c ] is (2)3,600,000 m /(299,792,458 mps) ). Our furthest customer at 22dBm will be in the range of 30km from the transmitter so our signal will add, not 25ms, but in the worst case, .1 ms of latency. YES that’s ZERO POINT ONE compared to 25 milliseconds. Like comparing a one second wait to a 4 minute wait. I am guessing Mr. Brown has not done any RF systems design." [ME: the journalist was talking about the MINIMUM 25 ms of latency to the satellite. And 0.1 ms added by gear is unlikely. Gear usually adds a minimum of 1 ms of latency to the path IRL.]

,p>On the bandwidth capability: "Sounds like a pretty good argument for the provision of television for our system since we can put down considerably more 800 Mbps. Of course the writer forgets that there are already 2 operators operating in this spectrum (DirecTV and Dish Network). Both operate on exactly the same frequency as MVDDS, yet a consumer can receive both DirecTV and Dish Network signals at one location. This is because the Ku band is highly directional. This means that one consumer could receive our signal from two different towers (different vectors) as long as we could show (and have done it before) that we would not raise the Ku band noise floor."

Kirk Kirkpatrick, President and Chief Executive Officer, MDS America "Bringing Wireless Broadband Back Down to Earth" [800 Lincoln Ave., Stuart, Fl 34994 USA * Phone 877-677-MDSA]

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