Internet Subscriber Growth Slows, Starlink in India, Trump Media Company Raising Questions About Hype

Comcast, Charter see internet growth slow, Starlink announces India venture, columnist analyzes the hype surrounding Trump media.

Internet Subscriber Growth Slows, Starlink in India, Trump Media Company Raising Questions About Hype
Photo of former-President Donald Trump speaking CPAC in 2011, used with permission.

November 1, 2021 – Analysts have noticed a drop in internet subscription growth, concerning stakeholders that further slowdowns are imminent.

Bloomberg news reported that Comcast and Charter Communications Inc. announced that internet subscriber numbers fell this year, raising speculation about market conditions and changing consumer priorities.

Charter reported on Friday that its estimations for new broadband subscribers fell short by 25 percent. Its analysis estimated that the overall number of new customers were all back to 2018 levels. Comcast reported 300,000 new internet customers over the year on Thursday, less than half of the number added in 2020.

Analysts say they expected a slowdown in demand after 2020, a year when broadband subscriptions saw massive growth as American life shifted online.

Charter’s regression raises questions about “whether this is the beginning of the end of the cable broadband story,” said Geetha Ranganathan, an industry analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. Charter’s chief operating officer Chris Winfrey said that “residential customer activity” was “taking longer than we expected to return to normal levels. Analysts predict that Charter will add 1.4 million subscribers this year.

Analysts are concerned about a drop in consumer spending, lowering tiers and downgrading services. Companies are also facing competition from phone companies like AT&T, who added nearly 300,000 fiber internet competition last quarter.

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or SpaceX, said Monday it will bring its satellite-based internet service to India’s rural communities.

The company’s India executive Sanjay Bhargava announced that the company has established a subsidiary in India and will begin broadband services in December 2022, subject to government approval.

Starlink is SpaceX’s low-earth orbit enterprise designed to beam down high-speed internet from satellites orbiting Earth. The satellites, which hover lower to the Earth’s surface than traditional satellites to provide better connectivity, can bring broadband to remote areas where building infrastructure is difficult.

“At Starlink, we want to serve the underserved. We hope to work with fellow broadband providers, solution providers in the aspirational districts to improve and save lives” he posted on LinkedIn. SpaceX plans to provide 100 Starlink hardware kits for free to rural Indian communities in the first phase.

In 2019, SpaceX launched a constellation of low earth orbit satellites to deliver high-speed internet to rural areas. Since then, the company has worked toward its ambitions to launch 30,000 satellites in order to connect the entire world.

Trump’s media company all hype and no substance, reports say

It’s hard to justify the fever over former President Donald Trump’s media venture when looking at its current state, David Nicklaus wrote Monday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Trump announced his new Trump Media and Technology group on October 20th and agreed to merge it with a public shell company, Digital World Acquisition Corp. The website says it intends to “rival the liberal media consortium” and “fight back against the ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley, who have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.”

The company said it intends to compete with the likes of Twitter and Facebook, which banned Trump after his words were connected to the riot at the Capitol in January; streaming services Netflix and Disney+ by offering “non-wok entertainment”; and cloud services from Amazon and Google.

After going public, the company’s shares jumped to $175, signaling excitement over the venture.

But Niklaus reports that the company has not hired anyone with digital media experience or developed any content for its services. He added that investors would need answers before putting money into the venture.

“How are you going to offer your services to people? How are you going to get paid for it, and how are you going to finance the growth of it?”

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