BT to investigate remote-node setups for fibre-copper broadband

Article

First BT Fibre-To-The-Remote-Node FTTrN Broadband Trial Set For Q4 2014 | ISPReview.co.uk

My Comments

British Telecom are trialling in Yorkshire a deployment setup for fibre-copper (FTTC, FTTN, etc) next-generation broadband setups. This is based around a miniature housing containing VDSL2 DSLAMs that can be mounted in smaller locations and able to serve a small number of copper connections.

This system, known as FTTrN (Fibre To The Remote Node) allows for longer fibre runs and can be powered either by the client premises or by a low-power independent power supply like a solar panel or simply neighbouring electrical infrastructure. It is intended to be mounted on telegraph poles, installed in small manholes or integrated in to existing infrastructure in some other way.

This is pitched as an alternative to the street cabinet that is essential to the FTTC (Fibre to the Curb / Fibre To The Cabinet) model because these have costs and installation issues as their baggage. This includes aesthetics and streetscape issues including attractiveness to grafitti vandals as a tagging surface as well as assuring dedicated power-supply availability.

Useful for difficult installations where a street cabinet would be difficult to install – cosmetic issues with large cabinets including attractiveness to grafitti vandals, planning / streetscape integration, dedicated AC power requirements including cabling infrastructure

Personally I would see these setups appeal to fibre-copper setups like “fibre-to-the-node” / “fibre-to-the-distribution-point” where the bridge between fibre-optic infrastructure and copper infrastructure is closer to the customer. They also do appeal as a way to “wire up” remote settlements, estates and hamlets with next-generation broadband in the fibre-copper way while assuring improved throughput.

I do still see these having the same limitations as any fibre-copper setup where the user experience can be impaired by use of poorly-maintained copper infrastructure which would be a common problem with rural installations.

At least BT are trying out a highly-flexible fibre-copper next-generation broadband setup which can also appeal as a tool for supplying real broadband to rural areas especially where there are the remote settlements or estates.

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Northmoor to achieve Gigabit speeds courtesy of fibre-optic network

Article

PM David Cameron Switches On Gigaclear’s 1Gbps Broadband in Northmoor | ISPReview.co.uk

From the horse’s mouth

Gigaclear

Press Release

Northmoor community page

My Comments

Another rural neighbourhood in West Oxfordshire has been enabled for Gigabit fibre broadhand courtesy of Gigaclear. This time, it is Northmoor where the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, officially switched on the new fibre-to-the-premises service which covers 500 premises in Northmoor, Moreton and Bablockhythe.

This is a non-BT scheme that is funded by DEFRA as part of a GBP£20m Rural Community Broadband Fund where there is financial assistance from the EU. This public-private project underwent a proper procurement procedure with Gigaclear being the winner of the contract.

Here, it was proven that the fibre-to-the-premises deal had a higher throughput and was more stable than the 80Mbps fibre-to-the-cabinet deal offered by BT.

But Gigaclear offers this service at GBP£37 per month for a 50Mbps to GBP£69 per month for a Gigabit connection, both with “clean feed” parental controls and a Gigabit hub. They also charge GBP£100 for installation. The users benefit form the connection being symmetric for both uploads and downloads along with not needing to pay for BT phone-line rental to have the Internet service.

The Gigaclear PR ran with a comment about a person who was working from home in the neighbourhood but having to go to London to transfer large multimedia files due to the woefully slow connection that existed before. But he is able to stay working in that area and transfer the multimedia very quickly. I also see this benefitting others who think of the country as a place to live or work because of the increase in online services that is taking place.

This is something that shows up that villages in some of the Home Counties could be appealing as places to move to for working from home or for that proverbial “tree-change” as they become wired up for real broadband, especially next-generation broadband.

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US data confirms that fibre-optic broadband boosts property values

Articles

Study: Fiber Broadband Boosts Home Value | Broadband News & DSL Reports

Fiber: It’s good for your digestion and your home value! | Gigaom

My Comments

House for sale in Melbourne

Fibre broadband can boost property values

I have previously covered the issue of the available of fibre-based next-generation broadband service at a property boosting its value in the UK. This is based upon Rightmove using the availability of this broadband service as a deciding factor for buying property and Berkeley Group, a UK property developer pushing for integration of this technology in to their newer property developments.

Now the same line concerning property desireability and values has “jumped the Pond” and been realised in the US through a Fiber To The Home Council study. Here, some comments place that the home would acquire approximately USD$5000 extra value based on it being connected to FTTP next-generation broadband service.

According to these studies, there isn’t much growth in the US concerning next-gen broadband with 58 FTTP providers operating there. Issues that are affecting the growth are strangleholds imposed on new competing communications infrastructure by various state governments to protect incumbent cable-TV and telephone companies and not much awareness or need drivers to attract Average Joe Six-Pack to the technology.

Users who would find the technology of interest would be those who run their business from home or engage in telecommuting at least on a part-time basis. Similarly, those of us who are “cord-cutters” and draw down video content via the Internet would find the technology appealing especially as TV viewing becomes more “programme-based” rather than “channel-based”.

What needs to happen is proactive activity in rolling out next-gen broadband or providing access to competitive Internet service so that more Americans can enjoy using Internet and other communications services. Personally, I would like to see local government become involved in the next-generation broadband effort because the gain in property values could also lead to a gain in the effective property tax revenue that they receive.

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Google puts the wind up Comcast and Time Warner Cable

Article

Comcast, Time Warner boost net speeds in Google Fiber city – COINCIDENCE? | The Register

My Comments

US Flag By Dbenbenn, Zscout370, Jacobolus, Indolences, Technion. [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsRegular readers will have noticed my comments about the lack of real competition in the US fixed broadband market thank you to very cosy deals arranged by incumbent cable-TV and telecommunications companies and various governments on a state and federal level.

Google have just rolled out their Google Fiber FTTP broadband service, known for offering headline data-transfer speeds of a gigabit each way, into Kansas City. Now Comcast and Time Warner Cable, for fear of hemorrhaging cable-broadband customers to Google, have upped their cable Internet service’s headline data-transfer speeds without charging their customers a single penny extra for the upgrade.

Issues have been raised about the pricing and customer-service behavior of cable-TV companies when they are faced with real competition beyond the DSL service offered by the incumbent telco. This has come in to play during discussions concerning the proposed merger between Comcast and Time-Warner Cable, as well as the issue of Net Neutrality.

As well, I would see the Google Fiber rollout as a boost for local government in Kansas City because the properties in the area that have Google Fiber past their doors become increasingly valuable to live in or do business there. It is a similar situation that has happened in various UK neighbourhoods where houses are assessed by prospective buyers on whether next-generation broadband is passing their doors or the property is connected to a next-generation broadband service.

Who knows what this means for other US cities who are pushing Google for their fibre-optic service?

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Google to get their fibre claws in to the UK

Article

Google Considers Bringing Google Fiber to UK | Broadband News and DSL Reports

Google aimed to build ultrafast broadband in Britain | The Telegraph (UK)

My Comments

Google are putting their fibre-optic next-generation broadband paws in to the UK market while trying to provide competitive Internet service in some US communities. It is seen to be their first foray in to the European market.

This is being achieved with them working with CityFibre, which may not be seen as adding extra competition in that market. Firstly, this is to be seen as a threat to BSkyB’s partnership and place themselves at loggerheads with a BSkyB / TalkTalk fibre-optic rollout which is passing 20,000 households in York.

But it is set to put more pressure on BT to deploy more next-generation broadband, especially as the British Internet press is complaining about BT Openreach taking a long time to roll out this service across the biggest Internet-service market outside the US. Google will also see this as a platform to run an HD-capable IPTV service which is ready for 4K UHDTV.

My question is whether Google could make further efforts in working as a competitive next-generation broadband provider for the British market, whether as a wholesale provider or as a retail provider. As well, could they be in a position to help with Scotland’s broadband goal if Scotland does go independent? Similarly, could they be able to put their claws in to other European areas like Spain, Germany and Italy with a goal to upset the applecart when it comes to competitive Internet service there.

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A UK developer now makes fibre broadband a key feature for their properties

Article

All New Berkeley UK Homes to be Fibre Optic Broadband Compatible | ISPReview.co.uk

From the horse’s mouth

Berkeley Group

Press Release

My Comments

Beautiful house

House developers could offer broadband readiness as a selling point

Especially in the UK, accessibility to next-generation broadband is being considered a key feature for a property. This has been underscored with Rightmove using this as something to assess a property or neighbourhood with when it comes to its saleability and could easily put a positive impression on its value.

Now Berkeley Group, a developer of premium residential properties in the UK, have released their business plan with the supply of fibre broadband to be part of the feature set for these developments. It is in response to a European Union directive that is requiring new buildings to be ready for high-speed broadband by 2016. In Europe, people are seeing broadband Internet service on the same level as water, electricity, fixed telephoy service and other utilities.

The big question I would have about these developments is whether they would be “wired for Ethernet” and whether this would reach most rooms in these homes? Similarly, would there be the ability for an average home-network wireless router to cover all of the premises with Wi-Fi signal using its own antennas (aerials)?

It is also in addition to a Britain-first strategy for marketing policy, a significant increase in apprenticeships, improved on-site safety as well as a desire to have customer satisfaction that beats Apple’s standards.

Personally, I would see residential building developers implement next-generation broadband and the connected home as a key differentiator with customers and property investors.

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Underriver to benefit from Gigabit broadband Internet courtesy of Gigaclear

Article

Gigaclear starts installation of its network for Underriver in Kent | ThinkBroadband

From the horse’s mouth

Gigaclear

Press Release

Product Page – Underriver

My Comments

Underriver, a small affluent village just on the southwest of Sevenoaks in Kent has now started working towards a fibre-based Gigabit next-generation broadband service courtesy of Gigaclear. Like other Gigaclear projects and similar projects, it is more about achieving a value-priced real broadband service to the small towns and villages around the UK.

There is a goal to have the service pass 2000 homes and businesses and is to provide a symmetrical Gigabit broadband service which would please a lot of small businesses, professionals working from home or intending to do so and people who have long-distance relationships. This is because the upload speed is as quick as the download speed which would satisfy cloud-computing needs, online storage, Web content creation, VoIP amongst other needs.

Of course, one of these “fibre-to-the-door” deployments is considered a value-added feature for a premises that is being sold or rented out at a later time. This was something I touched on when RightMove were adding this factor to what their customers were searching on when they were seeking out property to buy.

Who knows what other villages and small towns in the “Garden Of England” could duplicate what is happening up in Underriver?

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Fibre broadband passing your business? What it means for you

Article

Guest blog: Fibre broadband: what does it mean for your business? | Go E-Sussex

My Comments

A situation may occur for your small business where fibre-optic next-generation broadband passes your office (including your home). This is due to efforts in place to head towards the concept of this technology being made available in most places through progressive rollouts by differing companies.

In some cases, the next-generation broadband rollouts are public-private efforts with national, state or local governments putting money towards the efforts as a way of investing in their constituencies. It is very similar to improving infrastructure like roads, rails or utilities in a neighbourhood to make it worth investing or doing business in that area.

How could this benefit my business?

Use of remote storage and cloud services

One obvious application us the increased use of off-premises computing services.  Typically these are in the form of remote storage and backup services like Dropbox or Box.com, often marketed as “cloud storage” services. Some of these services essentially function as an off-premises data-backup tool or they can simply work as an invitation-only file-exchange service, whether between you and business partners or simply as a way to shift files between your regular computer and your mobile devices while “on the road”.

For organisations with a Web presence, this will encompass uploading Web content as you maintain your Web page or even backing up that Web page.

Even if a business implements on-premises storage technology such as a NAS or server, there is also an increased desire for remote “on-the-road” access to these resources. Similarly, it could be feasible for a business with two or more locations to have the ability to shift data between these locations such as storing data that is worked on at home using a NAS or server at the shop or caching data between two shops.

Another key direction is to head towards cloud-computing where the software that performs business tasks is hosted remotely. This will typically have you work either with a Web page as the software’s user interface or you may be dealing with a lightweight “peripheral bridge” for industry-specific peripherals. In some cases, various programs such as some business-grade security programs implement cloud computing in order to offload some of the processing that would normally be required of the local computing system. This is being pitched as a way for small business to “think like big business” due to the low capital-equipment cost.

The next-generation broadband services can improve this kind of computing by reducing the time it takes to transfer the files and allows for silky-smooth cloud-computing operations.

IP Telecommunications

A very significant direction for business Internet use is IP-based telecommunications. This gives businesses some real capabilities through the saving on operational expenditure costs while also opening up some newer pathways that have been put out of small business’s reach.

One application is IP-based videocalls using Skype and Lync technology – totally real, not science-fiction anymore. These technologies have the ability to provide for video-based real-time teleconferencing even to high-quality visual displays and some of them even allow for multi-party videocalls. The next-generation broadband services can exploit this technology by permitting smooth reliable videocalls with the high-resolution video display.

Another IP-telecommunications application appealing to small business is the concept of the IP-based business telephone system. This can be facilitated with an on-premises IP-based PBX server that is linked to the outside world via an IP-based “trunk” or a hosted IP-telephony system which is ran simply as a service. The phones that sit on the desks are primarily IP-based extensions or legacy phones connected via analogue-telephone adaptor devices with DECT cordless phones linked up to an IP DECT base.  In some cases, a regular computer or a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) could run a “softphone” application which uses the device’s control surface and audio infrastructure to make it become an extension.

These appeal to businesses due to access to low telephony costs especially for long-distance calls or, for that matter, free calls between multiple business locations through the use of a tie-line that the business doesn’t need to rent.

The next-generation broadband can allow IP-based telecommunications to take place while data is being transferred or the Internet is being used without impeding data-transfer speed or voice / video call quality.

IP-based video surveillance

Shopkeepers and other small-business owners would find greater justification to install an IP-based video-surveillance system or upgrade an existing video-surveillance system to IP-based technology. This could allow, for example, one to watch over another location from one location or permit backup video recording of the footage at another location whether it be a storage provider that you rent space on or a NAS installed at home or another business location.

This also allows for use of newer cameras that implement higher-resolution sensors and support on-camera video analytics. The increased bandwidth means that more of the video footage from these cameras can be streamed at once to a remote location.

Working from home

If you work from home, whether to telecommute or to operate your business operation from home, you will find that the next-generation broadband service is important for you. This is more so if you are dealing with graphics, CAD or multimedia content or even using a VoIP or videocall service as your communications technology.

As well, you benefit from reduced Internet-service contention with other household members when you have the next-generation broadband service. This is because the increased bandwidth could allow you to do intense cloud-based work computing or a large file transfer while they do something like engage in a VoIP voice call or stream video content.

Offering your customers or guests public Wi-Fi Internet service

If you run a bar, café, hotel or similar venue, you could offer your customers or guests a public Internet service and not worry that this service will cramp your business Internet style. In some cases, you could handle more customers’ data-transfer needs at once  which would happen at “peak occupancy” or allow for them to engage in high-bandwidth applications like business data transfer, videocalls or enjoying online video content and have the best experience with these activities.

To the same extent, the public Wi-Fi Internet service is being seen by mobile telephony carriers as an “offload” service to increase their mobile network capacity. As well, some mobile carriers are even implementing femtocells which are mobile base stations that cover a small area like a home or business premises as a method of improving indoor mobile coverage in a particular premises or increasing mobile capacity in a popular location.

Is your small business’s network ready?

There are some things you would have to do to get your small business’s network ready for the next-generation-broadband service.

Your router

One would be to make sure you have a small-business router that is optimised for next-generation very-high-speed broadband. One critical feature it would need is to have an Internet (WAN) connection with Gigabit Ethernet. This would allow for use with an optical-network modem that provides for the high-speed throughput these networks provide. As well, having Gigabit Ethernet for each LAN Ethernet connector and 802.11n/ac dual-band Wi-Fi wireless where applicable would be considered important for the local network side of the equation.

Most of the current-issue high-end or “small-business-grade” routers would cut the mustard when it comes to having this kind of connectivity and this goal could be achieved with the current network-equipment replacement cycle.

Your network

As well, you would need to bring your Ethernet infrastructure to Gigabit standard while also evolving your Wi-Fi wireless infrastructure to 802.11n or 802.11ac standard with simultaneous dual-band operation i.e. N600 or better. A HomePlug segment that you operate in this network could be brought to HomePlug AV2 standard preferably due to higher throughput and improved robustness than HomePlug AV500 or HomePlug AV.

Wireless hotspots

Those of you who run a wireless hotspot or similar public-internet service which is managed by a special router dedicated to this task may have to evolve it to a component-based system so you can implement high-throughput networking technology.

Component-based hotspot systems use a wired hotspot router with Ethernet connections as the only network connections. Then you connect a VDSL2 modem, optical-network terminal or similar appropriate device to your hotspot router’s WAN / Internet port and a dedicated 802.11n access point with a standard of at least N300 for a 2.4GHz single-band unit or N600 for a simultaneous dual-band unit.  This is also a good time to make sure you have optimum public Wi-Fi coverage across your business premises.

You may also have to make sure that the system has improved quality-of-service support for multimedia-based tasks especially if you business happens to be a hotel or similar type. This is because a lot of people are increasingly using smartphones, tablets and ultraportable laptops to engage in Skype videocalls or stream video content from catch-up TV or video-on-demand services and poor quality-of-service severely ruins the user experience with these services.

Considering the full-fibre option

Another issue that can be worth considering for small-business fibre broadband is the “full-fibre” option in a fibre-copper setup. This is being offered by some UK next-generation broadband services and is also being offered In Australia as an option under the Coalition’s preferred fibre-copper National Broadband Network setups.

Here, the same service provider who would normally provide a fibre-copper service like fibre-to-the-cabinet / fibre-to-the-node would also provide a fibre-to-the-premises service as an extra-cost option. A small business could opt for these services especially if they are using cloud services a lot or uploading data to online storage frequently.

Even a business using a fibre-copper setup could look at the feasibility of the full-fibre option as a long-term goal as they make more use of the Internet. As well, this would be a valuable option for premises that are underserved by VDSL-based fibre-copper services. 

It is also worth noting that when you have a “full-fibre” install to a premises, the sale or lease value can increase because of the availability of really high-speed broadband service at that location.

Conclusion

When fibre-based next-generation broadband passes your business, it would become a valuable business option to sign up to one of these services due to costs saved through the higher throughput available with these services. It also allows the business to “grow up” and adapt to increased data-throughput needs.

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NBN to consider FTTN in regional areas

Article

NBN Co ponders rural reversal | The Australian

My Comments

With the NBN considering moving regional areas to Fibre-to-the-node technology, we need to be aware of other similar developments taking place in UK and Germany where similar technology is being deployed for next-generation networks.

Here, we need to know of any deployment mistakes that have been made in these countries and are at risk of being made here. This includes connections that have or are likely to impede operation of the technology as well as catering to the changing landscape that will affect these areas, which is a fact as a town expands and farmland is subdivided for multiple housing projects. It is also why the concept of adaptability is very important when working on a next-generation broadband infrastructure

In the same context, the concept of adaptability  is important as a way to allow customers to buy increased broadband which I would say is important for professionals working from home or if the concept of “fibre to the basement” / “fibre to the building” is to be realised for subsequent multi-tenancy developments that occur in the neighbourhood.

What we need to be sure of for a next-generation broadband service is a competitive highly-adaptive system that can suit the way neighbourhoods change.

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Some more Oxfordshire villages gain real broadband

Artilcle

Gigaclear announces next batch of Oxfordshire villages to get Gigabit | ThinkBroadband

From the horse’s mouth

Gigaclear

Rollout page – Otmoor

Press Release – Otmoor

My Comments

Gigaclear, whom I have featured on this Website, are working hard and fast on enabling more of the Oxfordshire villages for real broadband. Here, the Otmoor community which is the latest to be targeted with this technology is being set up with fibre-to-the-premises “next-generation broadband” technology.

Here, this community has its wetland and grasslands as its assets being a nature reserve, most likely being of touristic value in some way. But Gigaclear had put the broadband rollout on the map without government assistance and having this become the full symmetric broadband courtesy of the fibre-optic technology.

When I read the ThinkBroadband article, there was a comment about Gigaclear focusing their efforts on the small upmarket Oxfordshire villages rather than the “real” rural areas in the UK. But the “real” rural areas could approach Gigaclear to cover them by visiting this page and not “giving up” with them if they are turned down. There is still the issue of high-speed Internet being of importance for professionals working from home along with small businesses where online competitiveness is still valued.

Of course, a question that may be always raised with these broadband rollouts is catering to the larger properties be they estates with a large house and a handful of cottages or smaller houses or simply small or large farms that are colocated to the villages. Issues that may be raise include whether a fibre rollout may be extended to a cluster of neighbouring large properties or not.

Similarly, if Gigaclear “conquered” a larger area of Oxfordshire or a similar area, could they be seen to be in a position of influence by providing the high-speed broadband for that area?

At least the Gigaclear effort is taking place to make sure that rural communities, which are also being seen as urban outposts or venues for “tree-changes”, as viable locations for proper Internet service.

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