Local Government to become an Internet provider option in Australia

Article

Watch out Optus and Telstra: local councils want to become NBN internet providers | The Age

My Comments

Tree on a country property

Local government could also improve the reality of proper broadband in the country

As the Australian National Broadband Network’s technology option changes towards something akin to BT Openreach in the UK which is based around a fibre-copper technology, another option for service provision is creeping in to the equation.

This is where some local councils are stepping in to become local retail Internet service providers with the NBN as a wholesale backbone. This kind of practice has been tried in Australia for some utilities normally sold by a larger government-owned or privately-owned entity that has a larger geographic remit. An example of this is the retail-level sale of electricity to the consumer by some local councils or entities ran by these local councils, one of which was the former City of Box Hill in Melbourne.

As far as Internet service is concerned, some local governments have provided free-access Wi-Fi hotzones in their towns’ central-business-districts in the USA. This was much to the ire of established incumbent telecommunications providers and cable-TV companies who see this “threatening their patch”. It also raised the ire of Republicans, especially those supporting the “Tea Party” agenda, along with various libertarian and pro-business think-tanks because this was appearing to be government having a strong hand in the provision of public Internet service.

Some people can easily see this as a “do-good” effort by local government to raise the digital-access standards in their neighbourhoods of remit such as by, for example, using council rates to cross-subsidise the prices charged to householders for the communications services. This could be targeted at households who are on limited means like pensioners or people looking for work, or could be targeted at community organisations and small businesses that the council is nurturing.

House that may be fixed up

Local government being involved with providing Internet could raise the value of a neighbourhood

Similarly, the councils could use their power as retail ISPs to pay the NBN to equip neighbourhoods with fibre-to-the-premises or equip rural settlements or townships not considered large enough to equip with a fibre-copper service with one of these services. This would be part of their effort to invest in their cities and towns by raising the bar for Internet service in these areas, thus bringing in one or more valuable employers or raising residential property values.  This same effort could also be about making it harder for NBN or a retail carrier or ISP to postpone setting up a neighbourhood for next-generation Internet because it is on the “wrong side of the tracks”.

To see this work properly, local government has to realise that they will be competing with other retail telecommunications carriers and Internet service providers when reselling consumer and small-business telecommunications and Internet service.

If the idea of a local council obtaining a carrier licence and setting up as an ISP doesn’t play properly, they can do what has been practiced in Europe. This is where local government, along with a local chamber-of-commerce actually pays NBN to install fibre-to-the-premises through the town as a way to raise the property values or draw in the high-value employers.

At least the local government in Australia are seeing the potential that the National Broadband Network has and are looking towards taking it further to improve that town.

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UK to benefit from Naked FTTC broadband

Article

Naked fibre to the cabinet may be on the way from Openreach | ThinkBroadband

My Comments

AVM FRITZ!Box 3490 - Press photo courtesy AVM

AVM Fritzbox 3490 – an example of a VDSL2 modem that could be part of the naked VDSL2 service offered in the UK

I have written up an article about broadband Internet options available for those of us who use the mobile phone as the main voice telephone. Here, I was highlighting the kind of options that are available without you needing to pay line rental to an incumbent voice-telephony carrier and highlighted services like FTTP fibre-optic Internet or cable-modem broadband service which are hosted on separate infrastructure.

But I also highlighted the concept of “naked DSL” or “dry-loop DSL” which is a DSL service using your phone carrier’s wires but you don’t have a local voice telephone service a.k.a a “dial-tone” service. A lot of countries offer this as a service option for most DSL-service packages but the United Kingdom doesn’t offer that kind of service at all.

Things are to change for the UK with Openreach offering the “naked DSL” option for people who sign up to VDSL2-based “fibre-to-the-cabinet” next-generation broadband. They will maintain the subscriber’s circuit from the FTTC street cabinet to the exchange just for line testing or if a subsequent subscriber wants to sign up to a full service with the legacy voice telephone component.

But this is a service that is considered a proposal but should really be available for UK households who start out “mobile only” or want to use that second line that was created for the fax or for someone’s independent telephony needs for their fibre-copper next-generation broadband needs.

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Cumbria to benefit from fibre-optic rural Internet

Articles

Fibre GarDen to Start Community FTTP Broadband “Big Dig” in Cumbria | ISPReview.co.uk

From the horse’s mouth

Digital Dales

Product Page

My Comments

Yorkshire Dales By Kreuzschnabel (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

Two Yorkshire Dales villages near Cumbria to benefit from real broadband

Another independent rural-broadband campaign is taking place in England to provide fibre-to-the-premises broadband in to some rural communities. This time it is being facilitated by Digital Dales and is to serve Garsdale and Dentdale in Cumbria, just north of the Yorkshire Dales. It, along with Gigaclear’s efforts, seen to be the only two non-BT rural broadband project to be taking place in the UK.

Digital Dales, which is a community-owned cooperative, have raised enough money to commence construction of this infrastructure on the 5th October 2014. In the early days, this enablement project had a bumpy start and was riddled with uncertainty. The funds have been sourced from the Rural Community Broadband Fund which provides money to facilitate real broadband in the country areas, along with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Sustainable Development Fund.

They had achieved the go-ahead for landowners’ properties to have the fibre-optic cable pass through them and the operation will be described as a “Big Dig”.

Once the infrastructure is in place and the service is live, householders will expect to pay GBP£30 / month for 30Mbps or GBP£50 / month for 100Mbps bandwidth. These services will comes with free basic landline telephone service, but the householders can upgrade their phone service to the same standard as BT for GBP£2 – £3 per month extra.

Personally, I would see this as effectively “lighting up” the villages with real broadband which could benefit small businesses, professionals who work from home, the tourism industry amongst other users. It could even allow Garsdale and Dentdale to become more attractive to live in for “tree-changers” as the availability of next-generation broadband is being used to assess a community’s liveability.

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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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