Next-generation broadband service Archive

Rural Buckinghamshire acquires more fibre-optic broadband

Article

Aylesbury Vale countryside picture courtesy of Adam Bell (FlyingDodo)

Aylesbury Vale – to benefit from real broadband

Aylesbury Vale Broadband Project Starts Rollout of Fibre Optic Network |ISPReview.co.uk

From the horse’s mouth

Aylesbury Vale Broadband

Project Page

Press Release – At long last we’re laying the fibre

My Comments

Two villages in Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire have been reached for real next-generation broadband thanks to the Aylesbury Vale Broadband project.

North Marston (population 800) and Granborough (population 600) have been the first to benefit from this technology which will primarily be fibre-to-the-premises. But the Aylesbury Vale Broadband Project is taking a mixed-technology approach with fibre-to-the-cabinet if it isn’t feasible to roll out the better technology. Once these villages are proven as successful for this project, other Aylesbury Vale communities will be looked at for covering with next-generation broadband.

This is a complementary project that will focus on areas that are missed out on by the Broadband Delivery UK and the Connected Counties rural-broadband programmes. A lot of the effort is driven by volunteer labour courtesy of the local villagers. There is public funding from the New Homes

Once the service is fully active, the cost to join will be at least GBP£25 per month along with a GBP£150 installation fee. This will include the supply of a wireless router that supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology to be positioned at the home network’s Internet “edge” while the service has a 12-month minimum term contract. The full-fibre services will run initially at 300Mbps but are capable of Gigabit speeds.

The Aylesbury Vale Broadband project is one of many examples in the UK that I have read about where local effort and initiative has brought a rural area out of the digital backwaters and drawn it to something that satisfies today’s realities. This is being seen as of importance when we deal with the countryside being a small-business hub or attracting people who have had enough of the city life.

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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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Hyperoptic offers month-by-month Gigabit Internet service in the UK

Article

Hyperoptic to offer fibre-optic Internet service to UK's apartment buildings month-by-month

Hyperoptic to offer fibre-optic Internet service to UK’s apartment buildings month-by-month

Hyperoptic’s month-by-month Gigabit fibre-optic service

No contract Gigabit launched by Hyperoptic | ThinkBroadband

ISP Hyperoptic Add No Contract Option to 1Gbps FTTP Home Broadband | ISPreview UK

Advertising a month-by-month telecommunications service as “no contract” service

ASA UK Rules it Safe to Advertise Monthly Contracts as “No Contract” | ISPReview UK

From the horse’s mouth

Hyperoptic

Press Release

Advertising Standards Authority

Published Ruling concering Sky UK and their NOW TV service (month-by-month offering as a “no contract” service)

My Comments

Most Internet services, whether ADSL or next-generation broadband, are offered to customers on a contract where they have to maintain the service for 12 months or more. This is typically to benefit from cheaper or complementary equipment or tariff plans with better value. This may not suit every user, especially if you are on a short-term work placement or are living “month by month”.

Hyperoptic, who provide fibre-optic broadband to apartment blocks through the UK, have answered this need through the provision of a “month-by-month” plan for their next-generation broadband services. They understand that, as I have said before, a person may occupy an apartment for a few months rather than for the full 12 months or more.

The plans require you to stump up GBP£40 to get the service put on, which includes the provision of a Gigabit router. They offer a double-play Internet and telephone service for GBP£27 for a 20Mb service, GBP£41 for a 100Mb service and GBP£67 for a Gigabit service. These include the phone line rental and evening and weekend calls to UK landlines. There is also an “Anytime UK” plan and an “International” plan available but I am not sure of the prices for these plans. A pure-play broadband-only service will come for GBP£24 for 20Mb service, GBP£38 for a 100Mb service and GBP£64 for a Gigabit service.

The open question concerning these tariffs is whether you can take the Gigabit router with you when you move out of the apartment or leave it in place for the next tenant to use. As well, is there a cheaper “wires-only” or “self-install” connection-cost option for those of us who have suitable fibre-optic modem equipment and infrastructure in place? This could be feasible because of the fact that you don’t need to send people to the premises where existing infrastructure is in place and working.

I am surprised that Hyperoptic aren’t running a triple-play service of their own but it would be dependent on them tying up deals with an IPTV service that is operating in the UK like Sky or BT.

By the way, a question that the UK computing and IT press and blogosphere have raised about telecommunications, Internet, Pay TV or similar services is whether a service offered on a “month-by-month” basis with no long-term contract requirement should be described as a “no-contract” service? The advantage with these services is the fact that a customer can walk out of the service before the next monthly billing cycle by cancelling the service and settling up the account for the cost of the service. The IT press were splitting hairs by describing a single monthly billing cycle as a one-month contract because you wouldn’t be able to get money back for unused days of your service if you walked out before the end of the billing cycle.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority settled this once and for all by allowing a service provider to call a “month-by-month” service with no long-term requirement a “no-contract” service when they advertise it to the public. This is even though a contract that represents the monthly billing cycle of these services is technically a contract.

At least someone has stood up to the realities associated with apartment blocks and offered an Internet service deal that caters to people who come in an out of town on a short-term basis.

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Questions being raised by French carriers about promoting FTTB fibre service

Article – French language / Langue Française)

Is the fibre-optic Internet service to the building or to the apartments?

Is the fibre-optic Internet service to the building or to the apartments?

“Vraie” fibre contre “fausse” fibre : le gouvernement veut clarifier les choses |ZDNet.fr

“Real” fibre versus “fake” fibre : Government wants to set things right

My Comments

An issue that will surface with deploying fibre-based next-generation Internet service to apartment and office blocks and shopping centres is how should the Internet service be properly qualified as far as the consumers are concerned.

In France, where a lot of households are based in apartments, there is a fair bit of bickering about whether a service provider had installed a fibre-to-the-premises or a fibre-to-the-building deployment.  This is especially where service providers are wanting to run that their fibre installation is “real” fibre rather than “false” fibre as part of one-upping themselves against the competition.

In a multi-occupancy development, a fibre-to-the-premises deployment has fibre-optic cabling going to each apartment, shop, office or other premises. This is compared to a fibre-to-the-basement development, also known as a fibre-to-the-building development where the fibre-optic cabling goes to the building’s telecoms closet and a copper-based cabling solution is used to bring the Internet service to each apartment or shop. The copper-based cabling solution could implement VDSL2 which uses the building’s existing telephone cabling, DOCSIS 3.1 which uses the coaxial cabling that is part of cable-TV infrastructure or Gigabit Ethernet with new Cat5 or Cat6 twisted-pair “blue” cabling.

Most consumer-driven deployments would focus on the fact that households primarily download stuff and would focus on the download speed. But there are users who place value on upload speed which is one of the advantages offered by fibre-to-the-premises. These would include people who frequently work from home or run a home-based business, along with the shops, offices and like premises used for business purposes. They would place importance on uploading so as to facilitate cloud computing, telecommunications, onilne-storage and similar business services. Similarly, the concept of a future-proof next-generation Internet deployment would be considered important as peoples’ needs evolve.

An all-fibre deployment along with a fibre-copper deployment that uses Cat5 or Cat6 Gigabit Ethernet cabling for its copper component would offer the synchronous download-upload capabilities and high speeds that business users would want.

But there needs to be a standard for qualifying whether a service provider or infrastructure provider  has wired that multi-occupancy building with a fibre-to-the-premises setup or a fibre-to-the-building setup. This would include what kind of technology the copper component was based on in the latter service type and whether it is feasible to upgrade to an all-fibre installation along with extra approximate costs.

As well, there would need to be requirements concerning the kind of marketing spiel that service providers or infrastructure providers deliver to those with executive authority over the buildings and the marketing spiel delivered to potential customers who occupy these buildings.

At least the French are fleshing out this issue so that there are proper requirements regarding the marketing of next-generation broadband to apartment dwellers and shopping-centre tenants.

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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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Gigaclear increases their Essex footprint

Article

Epping Forest   © Copyright tim and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence tim [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Epping Forest – to get fibre-to-the-premises Internet

Gigaclear Deal Brings 1Gbps FTTP Broadband to 4,500 Essex Premises | ISPReview

From the horse’s mouth

Superfast Essex (Essex County Council)

Press Release

My Comments

Gigaclear has put their foot in Essex’s door to offer fibre-to-the-premises broadband Internet.

Here, they were selected by the Superfast Essex project team initiated by the Essex County Council as a break from BT deploying most next-generation Internet projects in the county. It is part of the new “Rural Challenge” effort covering the Epping Forest area and receives funding from public and private sources with public money coming from the UK Government and from local government in the form of the Epping Forest District Council and the Essex County Council. The private source of funding comes primarily from Gigaclear.

They will deploy fibre-to-the-premises next-generation broadband to 4,500 properties in the Epping Forest area which will encompass Fyfield, Stapleford, Tawney, Bobbingworth and closely-located communities. The project will get off the ground in November 2015 and be complete by December 2016 if things go to plan and Gigaclear were awarded GBP£7.5m to have it running. As regular readers will know, Gigaclear’s fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure supports the same bandwidth for both uploading and downloading and they are capable of offering Gigabit transfer speeds for the Internet services.

If this project is deemed successful, the Essex County Council could consider covering more of that county with the fibre-to-the-home technology courtesy of Gigaclear. The wider Superfast Essex project is still based on FTTC fiber-copper technology provided by BT Openreach and this covers 87% of the county.

A good question that is worth raising is whether these rollouts could technically and legally support infrastructure-level competition including allowing one provider to provide infrastructure for FTTP broadband while another can provide infrastructure for fibre-copper broadband services. It also encompasses whether a retail provider would be able to have access to one network or all of the networks and I would find it worth looking at how the French have been rolling out fibre broadband on an infrastructure-competition basis and is something that Ofcom could investigate when it comes to assuring a sustainably-competitive best-value Internet service for urban-living and rural-living Britons.

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European Commission gives financial thumbs-up for Germany’s rural-broadband efforts

Article

German countryside - By Manfred&Barbara Aulbach (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

European Union provides aid to Germany for real broadband in its rural areas

Euro Commish OKs €3bn German broadband aid scheme | The Register

Further resources

Breitbandauschreibungen.de – Broadband infrastructure office (German language / Deutsche Sprache)

Previous coverage

Discussions in Germany about how broadband can benefit rural areas

Deutsche Telekom raises isssues about rural broadband in Germany

My Comments

Germany has had a long desire to make sure that rural areas in their Länder (States), especially their Flächlander (Area States) which have these rural areas, were getting real broadband. Now they have been given EUR€3 billion to help them with these efforts.

According to the Breitbandauschreibungen.de Website which is administering this aid, Saxony-Anhalt have become the “first cab off the rank” to seek funding for various projects to assure 50Mb broadband over the State. Most of these efforts in the site have been fielded by local governments under the auspices of the Staatskanzlei des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt (the state government for the Saxony-Anhalt state).

Most likely these efforts will take place at the state (Länder} level with help from local government rather than the onus being placed on Berlin. This works better because the state and local governments know what’s going on at the coalface. But Berlin would need to play its part in assuring real competition for broadband Internet service throughout Gernany and not give Deutsche Telekom special favours.

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Gigaclear provides full-fibre Internet to the Cotswolds

Article

Cotswolds hill and village picture courtesy of Glenluwin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

More of the Cotswolds to benefit from real broadband

Gigaclear wins Gloucestershire contract to provide ultrafast broadband  | ThinkBroadband

UPD 1Gbps FTTP Broadband Coming to 6,495 Premises in Gloucestershire UK | ISPReview.co.uk

From the horse’s mouth

FasterShire public-private Internet partnership

Press Release

My Comments

The Cotswolds is an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty located south of the centre of England. Because of this characteristic underscored by the rolling hills and the villages that have their buildings built out of the local stonework, it is another of those country areas that attract people who want to move out of the city to the country. It also attracts an artisan culture with a fair bit of local arts and crafts going on.

But what about making sure that these people who live and work in the Cotswolds have access to real Internet service? This problem is being rectified by a partnership between Gigaclear and the FasterShire public-private Internet-service partnership to bring full fibre broadband to the villages of Guiting Power, Chedworth, Whelford, Bilbury and Icomb.

This was initially a British Telecom project which covered Phase 1 of the rollout but the Gigaclear partnership has underscored that BT can’t have a clear run of the Phase 2 contracts. It is based on Gigaclear’s track record with supplying some of the small villages around the Home Counties with a future-proof fibre-to-the-premises broadband service, something regular readers of HomeNetworking01.info will be familiar with. It will still complement British Telecom’s efforts in this locale and the goal will be to have the Internet service pass 6,450 premises in the Cotswolds area and will break FasterShire’s goal of 90% broadband coverage.

Geoffrey Clifton Brown, who is the local MP for Cotswolds established an election promise to cover his electorate with real broadband at the door for all of his constituents.

As well, the Gigaclear solution isn’t just about fibre to the premises but also about Internet services with a subscriber-level bandwidth of a Gigabit/second symmetrically this achieving a service that is effectively future-proof for these areas. This also caters for the increasing trend towards video-conferencing and cloud-based computing in both the home and business computing applications.

What I would like to see for Gigaclear to achieve is to provide FTTH not just to new areas but as a competing service for areas that have an FTTC setup provided by BT Openreach so that they can be able to benefit from the higher throughput.

Keep up the good work in providing city-business-grade broadband to rural communities, Gigaclear and FasterShire!

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Google Fiber brings competitive Internet to two more cities

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

Google Fiber Construction Begins in Salt Lake City | Broadband News And DSL Reports

Google Fiber Construction Begins in Nashville | Broadband News And DSL Reports

My Comments

AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and co are on notice in Nashville and Salt Lake City as Google gets work underway to bring fibre-driven next-generation Internet to the households’ doors in those cities. This is showing that they are coming good on their network expansion plans for their Google Fiber service.

With both these cities, Google reckons that the price for Internet service from their Google Fiber network will be similar to what has been called for Provo and Kansas City. This will typically be in the ballpark of US$70 / month for symmetrical Gigabit Internet service and US$130 / month for symmetrical Gigabit Internet plus pay-TV. They even offer a 6Mbps baseline Internet service for US$300 installation costs. Small businesses may end up with a business-grade symmetrical Gigabit service for US$100 / month.

As well, once Google has their Fiber footprint in a city, they also instigate community initiatives like computer literacy classes such as what they have done in Austin for that city’s public-housing communities. As well, situations do turn in the favour of customers when Google Fiber touches a city because there is real competition for residential and small-business Internet service.

I would reckon that Nashville and Salt Lake City are likely to see strong benefits from these rollouts with them becoming attractive to live or do business there along with properties that have this fibre-optic Internet service gaining value.

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Hyperoptic brings wired broadband to one of London’s marinas

Articles

Pleasure-boats at a marina in Melbourne

Fibre-to-the-basement broadband could be seen as a way to add next-generation broadband to a marina

Hyperfast broadband for boats in London’s South Dock marina | ThinkBroadband

Fibre to the barges: Hyperoptic connects houseboats to gigabit broadband | Recombu

UK ISP Hyperoptic Touts Hyperfast 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Boat Broadband | ISPReview.co.uk

London marina boats get faster broadband than most UK homes | Cable.co.uk

From the horse’s mouth

Hyperoptic

Press Release

My Comments

There are some of us who use boats for more than just sailing around. For some of us, they are our residences but whether you are at a marina or tying up at a quiet shore, the issue of broadband can be a limitation.

Typically, if a marina provides broadband Internet service to its tenants, this would be in the form of Wi-Fi provisioned in the same vein as a hotel’s or caravan park’s public-access Wi-Fi service. This typically involves a few Wi-Fi access points over the marina’s area and a Web-based login experience. On the other hand, if there isn’t any Wi-FI Internet, the sailor would have to use a USB wireless-broadband dongle or a Mi-Fi router to get broadband on the boat and most of these services aren’t very good value for money especially for those who live on a boat.

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

A dual-WAN router like thsi one coudl earn its keep on a houseboat or yacht

Now Hyperoptic have worked with the Southwark Council in London to provide a more exciting broadband service to sailors who live at the South Dock Marina. They have implemented the same technique used to provide “fibre-to-the-building” or “fibre-to-the-basement” next-generation broadband to multi-tenancy buildings, work they are familiar with, to setting this marina up for wired broadband.

Here, they have a communications hub installed at both the South Dock marina and the Greenland Dock marina along with Cat5e Ethernet cabling toe each of the residential berths. The resident sailors would need to drop an Ethernet cable between the facilities box on the berth and their boat and use a wireless broadband router with Ethernet WAN connection to distribute the broadband across their craft while they are moored at the dock. Of course, the “Mi-Fi” would still be needed when you are out sailing, but this need could be served better through the use of a dual-WAN router that uses a USB connection for mobile-broadband modems as a WAN option.

They subscribe to a private Internet service similar to what we would subscribe to at home or in our businesses and can benefit from broadband and landline packages with 20Mb/s, 100Mb/s and 1Gb/s bandwidth depending on the package. At the time of the press release, there has been at least 50% takeup of these services which I see as being of promise for this kind of service.

Here, this dodges the bullets associated with the metal construction associated with most craft or mobile-broadband plans that are either capped or charged at exorbitant rates.

Using the fibre-to-the-building method of deploying broadband to a marina that has a significant number of people living “on-board” could make for a value-added extra especially in any of the “new shoreline suburbs” cropping up in most of the cities where each of these developments has to have a marina. Tie this with next-generation broadband service plans that are sold “by-the-month” or in a manner that appeals to occasionally-occupied premises and this could appeal to more sailor types.

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