Category: Internet-service competition

AT&T charging less for Gigabit Internet service in some cities–Why?

Article US Flag By Dbenbenn, Zscout370, Jacobolus, Indolences, Technion. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Want cheaper AT&T gigabit service? Move to a Google Fiber city | The Register

My Comments

Linksys EA8500 broadband router press picture courtesy of Linksys USA

A competitive Internet service market coming to more US cities

Regular readers will know about Google Fiber showing up in an increasing number of US cities and bringing real competition to the US fixed-line broadband Internet market.

Before Google Fiber came to these cities, there was a very cosy cartel between the local “Baby Bell” telecommunications company who provided DSL Internet service and the local cable TV company who provided cable Internet service. This led to a woeful Internet experience where there wasn’t value for money and, in some cases, there was poor customer service, something that affected householders and small-business owners in most of the USA. The big telcos and the cable TV companies even were working with state governments to frustrate the creation of competitive services so that they can maintain the status quo.

Now the presence of Google Fiber has even raised the idea that you could sign up to AT&T’s 1Gbit/s GigaPower service for an ask of US$70 in Nashville or Atlanta while the same service would go for US$110. There was even a situation in Raleigh where the existing ISPs were deploying high-speed networks in that city with a photo of AT&T’s U-Verse announcement door hanger on someone’s front door appearing in the comments trail of that article.

Personally, I would see it become real that any American city that Google Fiber touches will become an attractive city to live or run a small business in because the costs of decent Internet service have reduced due to the arrival of competition.

Keep up the work, FCC and the competing Internet service providers including Google!

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York to become the UK battleground for next-generation broadband

Articles

York UK aerial view courtesy of DACP [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

York is intending to become a battleground for next-generation broadband Internet

Battle for your broadband custom in York hotting up | ThinkBroadband

Sky first ultrafast broadband connections | Advanced Television

From the horse’s mouth

Sky Broadband

Press Release

My Comments

York in the UK is showing up as a market where there is some intense competition for next-generation broadband Internet service.

This has come about due to fibre-optic infrastructure being laid down by CityFibre in conjunction with Sky and TalkTalk for a fibre-to-the-premises network capable of operating to 940Mbps. Just lately, Sky had connected their first customer to this network.

It brought out a war of words about what qualifies a city as an “ultrafast” or “gigabit” city when it comes to the presence of next-generation broadband Internet service. The European Union and the UK Government qualified a residential Internet service “ultrafast” as being greater than 100Mbps “at the customer’s door”. But CityFibre were using the term “Gigabit City” to qualify where there is an Internet service with a bandwidth capable of close to a Gigabit per second and is an actual revenue-providing service rather than a trial service.

It is feasible to call many of the UK’s cities as being “ultrafast” when it comes to next-generation broadband deployment because there was services of at least 152Mbps bandwidth penetrating 90% of these cities. Then the other qualifier was the presence of fibre-to-the-premises service with Kingston Upon Hull having 30.9% coverage.

Questions were also raised about BT Openreach providing full fibre-to-the-premises service in York with their central-activities district having native FTTP coverage of 12.4% and the rest of that city having 3.25%. As well, Hyperoptic had wired a large number of apartment blocks in York with FTTP broadband,

The competition issue that may need to be resolved is whether there is any “building-over” taking place where competing infrastructure providers are deploying their infrastructure in to each other’s territory. In a similar vein, there is also the issue of the availability of competing retail Internet service across many or all of the different infrastructures that exist. This could come to a point where the UK will need to determine a policy that affects competing next-generation broadband Internet services delivered using competing last-mile infrastructures in urban areas. This will have to encompass competitors “building over” each others’ infrastructure including access to multiple-premises buildings like apartment or office blocks and shopping centres.

What is happening in York could lead to a very interesting road for delivering fibre-based next-generation broadband in the UK’s urban areas. As well, it could lead to next-generation broadband Internet that is increasingly affordable for most households and small businesses in these areas and yields increased value for money for these users.

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TPG poised to be Australia’s Hyperoptic

Article

TPG to offer fibre-to-the-basement Internet to these kind of apartment blocks

TPG to offer fibre-to-the-basement Internet to these kind of apartment blocks

TPG Is Still Building Its Own Competitor To The NBN | Gizmodo Australia

My Comments

As some of you may know from a few previous posts, Hyperoptic is an Internet service provider who runs their own fibre-optic infrastructure and services apartment and office buildings and similar developments in an increasing number of UK cities with next-generation broadband. They are standing as viable competition against BT Openreach who are effectively owned by British Telecom and offering increased value by deploying FTTP installations in to these buildings whereas the Openreach setup will be based around fibre-copper setups, either FTTC (fibre to the street cabinet) or FTTB (fibre to the basement) setups with VDSL2 to the customer’s premises.

As well, they even offered customers the option to sign up for this service “by the month” rather than a 12-month or longer contract. This was pitched at people who are on short-term work placements or are living “month-by-month” and may not rent the same apartment for a year or more.

In Australia, iiNet recently started to offer a competitive fibre-to-the-building Internet service for apartment blocks and similar developments to answer the National Broadband Network efforts concerning next-generation broadband and this effort has continued since TPG took over iiNet. Like Hyperoptic’s effort in the UK market, this is based on fibre-optic infrastructure that they own rather than the National Broadband Network who are working in a similar manner to BT’s Openreach, thus allowing them to charge cheaper prices for their Internet service and offer better value.

They are different from Hyperoptic because they implement fibre-to-the-building technology where there is copper cabling between the basement and the customer’s apartment, office or shop. But TPG could be in a position to offer fibre-to-the-premises for these users if they so wished to.

A question that will be raised in conjunction with these competitive deployments is whether NBN and competing next-generation-broadband infrastructure can coexist with each other in the same neigbbourhood or building; including whether a retail operator can sell their service on one or more different infrastructures . This could open up infrastructure-level competition for Australian users who live or run businesses in these developments. Similarly, it could be about lighting up “Gigaclear-style” fibre-optic rollouts to rural, regional and peri-urban areas using infrastructure not under the control of NBN.

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Four more US cities to benefit from Google Fiber competition

Article

Linksys EA8500 broadband router press picture courtesy of Linksys USA

A competitive Internet service market coming to more US cities

Google Fiber Eyes Louisville, Irvine and San Diego Expansions | Broadband News & DSL Reports

From the horse’s mouth

Google Fiber

Press Release

My Comments

US Flag By Dbenbenn, Zscout370, Jacobolus, Indolences, Technion. [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsI have been covering Google Fiber’s rollout of competing fibre-optic Internet service to various communities in the US and how this is bringing about real competition to the communities’ Internet-service markets. Examples of this include an impending Google Fiber deployment in Raleigh, North Carolina putting the existing ISPs on notice with them offering a similar-speed Internet service to their customers.

Some more communities are now to be touched by this competitive spirit, this time in California where there is a strong start-up and IT-driven business culture. The Californian communities are Irvine, which was where Linksys started from, along with San Diego; while Louisville in Kentucky which has the “Code Louisville” software-development effort is also to benefit. IAt the moment, Google is “checking the boxes” by getting things worked out and approved with the various local governments, “chalking out” where utility lines are and the like so they can start working.

I wouldn’t put it past AT&T, the Big Red or Comcast to get their act together once they know this is going on and “sweeten the deal” for their subscriber bases to avoid the inevitable churn to Google Fiber before the soil is turned. Definitely, things are looking up for competitive Internet service in the USA.

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Free–ready for VDSL2 in France

Article – French language / Langue française

Freebox Révolution - courtesy Iliad.fr

Freebox Révolution – – ready for VDSL2 when you are closer

Free propose le VDSL2 sur tout son réseau dégroupé | Freenews

My Comments

The competitive environment has paid off in France especially with Free.fr .

They have wanted to head down the VDSL2 path and have equipped their Révolution modem-router for this technology.

But they wanted to have a service ready to go in October 2013 then they wanted to be sure most, if not all of their subscriber base across France can benefit from this technology and needed to test all of the infrastructure to be sure. As well, they didn’t want to publish the number of customers that were ready until they were sure of their facts.

They then went over everything and were able to know that their whole dégroupé (unbundled local-loop / sub-loop) network was ready to go VDSL2 and had the necessary equipment in place to go. The technology has been set up on a “fallback basis” where the customer would have the high bandwidth associated with the VDSL2 technology if they are closer to the exchange or connection point that is suitably equipped but fall back to regular ADSL2 conditions otherwise. The distance to benefit would be around 1500 metres or closer which would typically be places closer to town centres or other dense urban areas.

The unforgettable Freebox Révolution is already to go for VDSL2 as the customer-premises endpoint or can benefit through a software upgrade in the same way it has benefited from other newer features. It can be a proving ground for any fibre-copper deployment or redesigning a community’s telephony infrastructure to raise the issue of higher-throughput VDSL2 service for people closer to connection points but allow for better quality ADSL2 service.

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Achieving the goal of a competitive Internet service

Linksys EA8500 broadband router press picture courtesy of Linksys USA

A competitive Internet service market is lively and for the end user

The common problem

A market with one Internet-service player, described as a monopoly, is at risk of poor customer service and prices that don’t represent real value.  A similar situation can occur where there are two or three players colluding together and this can be described as a cartel or oligopoly.

In some situations, the Internet service providers can engage in activities that are hostile to the customer such as bandwidth limiting, contracts with onerous terms and conditions or simply refusing to invest in the Internet service they provide.

How is the Internet service constructed?

The Internet service that we buy consists of various components, namely the wired or wireless infrastructure that brings the service to the customer’s door, the off-ramps from various national and global Internet backbones and the Internet services which are provided on a retail basis to the customers.

Ownership approaches

The North American approach

Infrastructure for the exclusive use of the communications company

In the USA and Canada, the retail Internet service is provided by companies who own the infrastructure, the off-ramps from the backbones along with the “to-the-customer” functions. Sadly this has led to a situation where few companies exist to provide this service – one for each wired or wireless broadband medium. This is represented by a cable-TV firm providing cable-modem service, a “Baby Bell” telephone company offering ADSL or fibre-optic service along with one or two wireless (cellular) telephone providers offering mobile broadband.

The European model

An established telephony infrastructure owned by the incumbent telephony company but leased to other ISPs.

But in Europe, Asia and Oceania, there is a different approach. This is where multiple companies, including the incumbent telephony companies provided wholesale Internet service which was sold by different retail ISPs that used the same physical infrastructure which was the copper telephone cabling.

These countries typically had an incumbent telecommunications company that was initially part of the national government’s post-telephone-telegraph ministry and was typically split from the post office, ran as a government entity then fully privatised. Such companies were often charged with providing the universal telephone service including the public payphones installed in the streets and managing the national emergency telephone service i.e. 999, 000 or 112 and they owned the abovementioned established telephone infrastructure.

But there was still the ability for other companies like cable-TV companies to use other wired and wireless infrastructure for their Internet offerings.

The problem here was that the incumbent telephony provider “taxed” the other providers for using the established telephone infrastructure to provide an ADSL service in an unfair manner, such as by requiring the rental of their equipment and requiring customers to subscribe to a local “dial-tone” telephony service through these providers even if they just want Internet service.

Key issues

Access to established infrastructure by competitors

One issue that is always raised is allowing competing telecommunications providers to have access to established telecommunications infrastructure, especially wireline infrastructure. There were issues where the incumbent telecommunications company would frustrate this access through onerous costs or service requirements levied on competing providers and their customers who wanted to use this infrastructure.

Unbundling the connection between the customer’s premises and the exchange

Instead, this has lead to the arrival of “local loop unbundling” or “dégroupage” where the wires between the customer’s door and the telephone exchange were effectively handed over to the competing operator. Typically this is facilitated through the incumbent telco renting rack-space in their exchanges out to competing operators and connecting the subscriber to the competing ISP’s equipment in that rack-space. A variant of this technique is “sub-loop unbundling” where the competitor connects to the subscriber at the local telecommunications distribution point in the street or the telecommunications wiring closet in a multiple-tenancy building.

ADSL service that is independent of dial-tone telephony service

Another tactic is to allow the sale of a “naked” or “dry-loop” DSL service which doesn’t require the customer to rent a local “dial-tone” telephony service from the incumbent telco. This meant that the wires were just to be used just to provide Internet access and a voice telephony service was either provided as a VoIP service or the customer had to subscribe to a mobile telephone service. This has been practices in Australia, France and a few other countries but not in the UK.

This service appeals also to customers who used to maintain a separate telephone line for a fax machine or dial-up Internet but want to use those wires for a dedicated ADSL data path with all the benefits of better throughput.  They can maintain their main telephone line for their classic voice telephone service with a traditional telephone as a “lifeline” independent of local power conditions or a “catch-all” phone number for the household.

Removal of infrastructure control from the incumbent telco

But this elephant of monopolistic practices didn’t go away while the incumbent telco had control of the wires to the customer’s door. Instead, some countries used various procedures to remove the infrastructure from the incumbent telco’s control and either require these assets to be divested to a separate company or to be nationalised where they owned by the nation’s government.

If this was a separate legal company that was owned by the telco, the situation was called “functional separation”. This would require the telco to sell retail service through its own entity while access is sold via that separate legal entity.An example of this is BT Openreach who maintains the infrastructure for the UK’s telephony and Internet service while BT supplies retail telephony and Internet service to customers but competitors use Openreach to provide telephony and Internet service.

On the other hand. “full separation” would require the infrastructure to be nationalised or owned by another entirely different business entity and the incumbent telco would be required to rent the infrastructure and use the infrastructure to sell their telecommunications services. This is while competitors can rent this same infrastructure to sell their telecommunications services.

Competing infrastructure providers

There has been the creation of competitive infrastructure, typically in the form of coaxial cable by cable-TV providers and cellular radio setups for mobile-telephony services. These were then set up for Internet service through the gradual evolution of technology. Similarly, some towns had their own copper and fibre infrastructure that was owned by a separate entity to provide a telecommunications service for that area or leased back to the incumbent telco.

But this idea was taken up in a strong manner in some markets where competing infrastructure companies who just owned the wires and leased these wires to other providers and/or offered a retail Internet service to these markets. The UK have moved along this path with some fibre-optic deployments in rural areas, more as a way to seek independence from British Telecom. It is a similar path in France where multiple retail ISPs established partnerships who owned particular fibre-optic infrastructure.

An issue that is being examined by regulators is the ability for competing interests to build infrastructure of the same technology in the same area for the same purpose, commonly described as “build-over”. This could allow a retail ISP to choose a particular infrastructure for the best package or allow them to provide the same service across multiple infrastructures.

Similarly, in North America, the established telcos and cable-TV companies were paying US state governments to prohibit the deployment of infrastructure for competing Internet service. It was perceived as a way to stop local government and other public-minded organisations from spending public money on providing free wireless Internet as a community service in competition to the established operators. This allowed for comfortable oligopolies to exist between these established players and, among other things, had ruined the quality of service and value for money Internet users experienced.

Google and a few other private operators set up Gigabit fibre Internet service at prices that most could afford in a few neighbourhoods using their own infrastructure and this opened up the floodgates of competition. This along with various laws and regulations put up by Uncle Sam had improved access to Internet service which was about better value for money.

Pay-TV and multiple-play services

Foxtel IQ2 pay-TV PVR

Access to desirable content by all Pay-TV providers including telcos and ISPs helps with competitive Internet service

Another issue that is creeping up in some markets is the provision of subscription multiple-channel TV. This was typically provided by a cable-TV provider or a satellite-TV provider who owned the infrastructure on an “end-to-end” model.

But there is interest amongst telecommunications and Internet providers in the concept of providing a pay-TV service as part of a “multiple-play” offering, something which the traditional cable-TV providers could do with their infrastructure. These “multiple-play” packages typically include landline telephony, pay-TV and/or broadband Internet with some packages offering mobile telephony and mobile broadband Internet.

Such services appeal to most of us because of the ability to have “all the eggs in one basket” with only one account to think of and pay to obtain telephony, pay-TV and Internet.

Previously, a telco or ISP would deliver these services if they had a contractural arrangement with a cable-TV or satellite-TV provider and this involved installation of extra infrastructure at the customer’s premises. Now this involves a “single-pipe triple-play” setup based on IPTV technology which makes it feasible for an ADSL-based or fibre-based provider to offer multichannel pay-TV as part of their service offerings without needing to support new infrastructure.

These providers may run their own pay-TV service such as what Telstra, BT and most of the French ISPs do and solicit the content to show on these services themselves. On the other hand, they would sign up to an IPTV franchise which solicits the content itself and provides it to multiple telcos and ISPs. An example of this is the Australian Fetch TV franchise who offers pay TV to independent ISPs. In some cases, a traditional pay-TV provider could offer their services as an IPTV service as well as through their own end-to-end infrastructure and franchise it to ISPs and telcos.

Access to desirable TV content

A problem that is showing up in the UK and could show up in Australia and other markets where there is a dominant pay-TV provider like Sky or Foxtel is the availability of desirable TV content, whether as particular channels or shows, only through that dominant TV provider rather than through other pay-TV services like IPTV services.

Typically a content provider like Viacom or the BBC would offer channels of particular content like MTV, Comedy Central or BBC First for people to subscribe to. A dominant pay-TV provider would obtain the content on an exclusive basis so that a competing pay-TV provider like a telco or IPTV franchise can’t make these channels available to their customers for the duration of the contract.

This is augmented if the local outpost of a particular channel which is supplied via the dominant pay-TV provider obtains exclusive TV rights to a popular sports event or movie. The UK example would be for Sky Sports owned by Sky TV obtaining exclusive rights to the  Premier League soccer (association football) matches while the Australian example is for one of Foxtel’s premium channels to obtain exclusive rights to “Game Of Thrones”. Here, they can play a rough hand with these shows by: running them on premium channels only available to “platinum-package” subscribers, even making it hard for commercial (hotel/restaurant/bar) subscribers to play these shows; not completing their screening obligations in order to inhibit access to the show by free-to-air TV, “over-the-top” video-on-demand services or home video; or even trying to frustrate access to radio-broadcast or online-service rights for the hot games so you can’t get play-by-play commentary unless you subscribe to their sports channel.

Such situations lead to customers taking out multiple pay-TV subscriptions and dealing with multiple set-top boxes in order to get the video content that they want. That is if the dominant pay-TV provider will only deliver their service in an “end-to-end” fashion requiring the customer to install their infrastructure and set-top box.

Personally, I would like to see limitations placed on exclusive-access contracts for pay-TV channels so that a particular MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor – a Pay-TV provider) cannot tie up channels for their own exclusive access. It could be facilitated through an open “wholesale-retail” market for each content provider and pay-TV provider where content packages and channels are sold to pay-TV providers as though the content provider is a wholesaler and the pay-TV provider is a retailer.

In the USA, the FCC have achieved this goal with satellite TV by making it hard for cable-TV companies to tie up content so that DirecTV and DISH can’t screen that content or have to pay too much. They are working towards extending the rules about that situation to encompass telcos and others using IPTV methods.

There will be other issues that need to be looked at such as differentiating between “first-run” and repertory screening when determining the conditions of a contract affecting a show’s broadcast in order to prohibit tying up of shows so it takes too long for them to appear on home video or other screening platforms.

Net Neutrality

Another key issue that is raised in the context of Internet services is Net Neutrality. This is where everyone has equal access to the Internet as a highway.

It is compared to practices by various telcos and ISPs who would make it hard for customers to gain access to Internet services unless the company providing these services paid the ISP for a high-throughput path. This was feared because it would make it harder for small-time publishers and new startups to be seen by their customers.

It has been the subject of debate and is something I mention in the same breath as competitive Internet service. A competitive Internet market would provide proper benefit to customers in the form of value for money and if a customer couldn’t benefit from a particular Internet resource like, say, Wikipedia; they would want to “jump ship” to someone who provided the proper throughput.

Conclusion

To maintain a healthy Internet-service market that allows us to make the best use of this technology, there needs to be a strong effort to assure sustainable competition. This includes government departments that oversee telecommunications and competitive-market issues maintaining that level of competition by removing encumbrances and protections for established operators along with limiting market consolidation.

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A Singapore telco sets the cat amongst the Australian pigeons

Article

Linksys EA8500 broadband router press picture courtesy of Linksys USA

Someone could be setting the cat amongst the pigeons in the Australian market

Singaporean Internet startup MyRepublic to launch in Australia | Mashable

How Telstra threat MyRepublic plans to win the NBN race in Australia | Fairfax (Sydney Morning Herald)

My Comments

What needs to happen with the status quo when it comes to Internet service quality and pricing is that a new competitor who offers better value for money shows up in the marketplace.

This has happened in France with Free.fr when they offered some really low prices for their telephony and Internet service and has whipped up a highly-competitive Internet service market where Internet and triple-play services are so keenly priced. In the USA, Google rolled out their Google Fiber service to cities like Kansas City, Provo and Austin with rock-bottom prices for Gigabit Internet service. This has stirred up established Baby Bells and cable companies in the area to lift their game when it came to Internet service quality and prices. In the UK, Gigaclear have cut in to BT’s established practices by offering to rural communities FTTH broadband services which have the same upload and download speeds at prices most home and small-business users can afford.

Now a new Singapore telco has come on the scene in the Asia-Pacific region to do expressly that. MyRepublic is intending to join the Australian Internet-service market by offering an all-you-can-eat 100Mbps service for AUD$80-90 per month in the main capital cities. They intend to link in to the NBN infrastructure to provide this service but are critical of the way NBN was changed towards a fibre-copper technology mix.

MyRepublic had reached other markets like New Zealand where they offered an all-you-can-eat 100Mbps service for NZ$79.99 over a 24-month contract and were focusing on offering a pure-play service that is independent of traditional telcos and cable-TV companies who are dependent on their other services.

Existing telcos, especially Telstra, are crying foul because they think that MyRepublic doesn’t have the infrastructure ready to provide Internet service of the same standard that they want to provide. What I see of this is that it shows that established providers will try to discredit competitive influence in order to make sure that the competitors can’t survive.

A question that may be worth raising is whether MyRepublic would have to capitulate towards offering multiple-play services with VoIP telephony and IP-based pay-TV especially in markets where multiple-play is the order of the day. It will also include whether these services will be keenly priced and offer increased value such as included calls or TV channels.

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Google’s impending arrival in Raleigh raises the bar for Internet service quality

Article

Linksys EA8500 broadband router press picture courtesy of Linksys USA

Competition for Internet service is real where Google Fiber passes

Google Fiber Network Build underway in Raleigh | Broadband News & DSL Reports

From the horse’s mouth

Google Fiber

Deployment Page for Raleigh-Durham

My Comments

Google had just started rolling out their Google Fiber next-generation broadband service in Raleigh, North Carolina. But even when Google announced the impending arrival of this service to that neighbourhood, the existing ISPs took notice and were suddenly on their good behaviour.

They were infact rolling out higher-speed networks or improving the speed of their networks in that area. Someone posted in to the article’s comments thread a picture of an AT&T door hanger on his front door announcing the arrival of their improved U-Verse fibre-optic service in the commenter’s neighbourhood.

What is showing up in that once some serious competition comes on the scene, the existing carriers will do their best to keep their customers. But Uncle Sam still needs to work hard to encourage this competition by overriding any state laws or local ordinances written at the behest of the cable-TV / Baby-Bell cartels that control the Internet service in those neighbourhoods.

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C Spire and Google Fiber increase fibre-based competitive broadband coverage

Articles US Flag By Dbenbenn, Zscout370, Jacobolus, Indolences, Technion. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Google Fiber

Google Fiber Gets Approval For Expansion Into San Antonio | Broadband News And DSL Reports

San Antonio’s size proving to be a challenge for Google Fiber | San Antonio Business Journal

C Spire

C Spire Deploys Gigabit Service to a Fourth City | Broadband News And DSL Reports

My Comments

Some communities in the US’s south are about to face the end of the cable-TV / Baby-Bell duopoly courtesy of some fibre-optic Gigabit broadband services being rolled in those areas.

Google Fiber has received approval to start deploying in San Antonio which is their second Texas-based deployment. But they are facing logistical issues that are caused by that city’s geography, especially the land mass and topography. They still insist that they can surmount these issues and what I see of this is that they can learn from this deployment on how to roll out fibre-optic Internet in to cities that have difficult terrain and can share it with the rest of the industry.

While down in Mississippi, C Spire have been at it themselves rolling out Gigabit-capable fibre infrastructure to offer competing Internet service in nine cities in that state. They are an independent provider who offer mobile-telephony service in some of the US”s Deep South but are cutting in to fixed-infrastructure Internet service.

One of these that has “lit up” this week is Clinton where they offer Gigabit Internet for US$70 per month, double-play Internet + phone for US$90 per month, double-play Internet + super HDTV for US$130 per month and a triple-play phone, Internet and TV for US$150 per month.

The deployment is supposedly based on interest and they are focusing on Southern communities which are in their mobile-telephony footprint and are capitalising on their existing fibre infrastructure. C Spire could also follow in Google FIber’s footsteps by sponsoring various computer-literacy programs targeted at disadvantaged communities and older generations.

As long as there are more companies offering to compete with the Baby Bell or the cable-TV company by offering better broadband for the US’s neighbourhoods, it could be a chance to raise the standard for Internet service value and quality.

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UK to simplify switching between DSL broadband providers

Articles

Draytek Vigor 2860N VDSL2 business VPN-endpoint router press image courtesy of Draytek UK

It now becomes easier to chase value for money for your British Internet service

At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier | The Register

Switching your broadband supplier just got really easy | Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Ofcom

Press Release

My Comments

In the UK, Ofcom have simplified the processes involved for customers who want to change DSL providers that use the BT Openreach or KCOM telephony infrastructures.

Previously, a customer who wanted to “jump ship” had to obtain from their prior ISP a “Migration Authorisation Code” and had to pass this to the newer provider they were about to sign up to. Now, from Saturday 20 June 2015, the newer provider will facilitate the switchover without extra work from the customer.

There will be a requirement that the both the existing and the new ISPs send a letter to the customer advising them of the switchover and this will be the point where the customer can opt out. As well, both ISPs are required to keep records of the customer’s consent to change ISPs in order to protect customers against “slamming”. This is the practice where a customer is switched between electricity, telephone or Internet services that use the same infrastructure without their knowledge or permission and can result from participation in a “cold-call”.

But there could be the ability for customers to arrange with their ISP to have any switch-over to be an opt-in process to frustrate “slamming” attempts. This may be of value to small-business users who are often at risk of falling prey to various scams targeting that sector.

According to Which?, UK’s main consumer-protection body who is similar to Choice in Australia, customers are receiving sub-par Internet bandwidth from most of the providers who are using this infrastructure.

As I have said before, this would apply to Internet services which use the BT Openreach or KCOM telephony infrastructures and wouldn’t really apply to customers switching between services with different infrastructures like cable or FTTP fibre-optic. But a good question worth raising is that if a customer is made aware of aVDSL2 service and switches to the FTTC service, would this arrangement take place for customers switching to the FTTC service?

What this improvement should offer is to allow customers to have more control over the Internet services they subscribe to so they have greater value for money.

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