Category: Internet Access And Service

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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Rural-growth campaigns need to factor in broadband and mobile

Article

A house in an Australian country town - telecommunications needs to be factored in for rural areas if there is pressure for them to grow

A house in an Australian country town – telecommunications needs to be factored in for rural areas if there is pressure for them to grow

Government to Build More Rural Homes, But What of Broadband? | ISPReview.co.uk

My Comments

The UK Chancellor, George Osborne, puts forward a growth and productivity plan for UK’s rural areas, an activity which other countries call for in order to “spark up” their similar low-density areas. This may also involve encouraging a larger employer to set up shop in or near a rural area or nurturing a tourist area for increased capacity and attraction. Similarly a town with a tourist attraction may see economic growth based on that tourist attraction.

But even if the government doesn’t call for this, these rural areas continue to attract the “tree-change” culture where people who were in urban areas shift out to these rural areas because of attractions like beauty, tranquility, ability to know locals easily and the like. This also encompasses an increase in small businesses operating in these areas, whether to serve the local area or larger areas. Let’s not forget rural areas that exist on the periphery of an urban area falling victim to urban sprawl as the neighbouring urban area expands.

This is something that typically encompasses an increase in housing density in these areas such as subdivision of land, creation of new housing communities or expansion of existing housing areas.. But there is the need for improvements in local (private and public) transport, infrastructure, education and the like which also will include a requirement to see local telecommunications services like broadband Internet and mobile (cellular) telephony be brought to urban standards.

With the telecommunications issue, this may be sorted with extension of telephone lines from the town-based exchange in to the new developments but this can limit bandwidth for DSL-based broadband services. Such situations may call upon a need to re-architect the telecommunications infrastructure that serves the town and neighbouring communities, whether to have separate exchanges or distribution points for each community. In the case of a next-generation broadband rollout, it may call for a fibre-based fixed-line rather than a fixed-wireless deployment for the town and those communities.

Similarly, there will have to be the issue of mobile coverage which may be contentious ion some areas due to the perceived health effects of electromagnetic radiation. This could be approached again through re-architecting the mobile base station layout with use of more low-powered base stations in denser neighbourhoods.

So if there are efforts to increase capacity for a rural neighbourhood or factor in a change of direction for these neighbourhoods, the telecommunications issue may have to be factored as much as housing density and other infrastructure.

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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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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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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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A French community shows that impending next-generation broadband service can improve ADSL service

Article – French language / Langue Française Brittany flag

Montée en débit en ADSL dans la commune de Sibiril en Bretagne | DegroupNews

My Comments

In a lot of rural and peri-urban areas, even ADSL internet service can be substandard as I have witnessed a few times. This is typically aggravated by established telecommunications entities that underinvest in the infrastructure that serves these areas and this infrastructure is not conducive to proper performance for any service based on DSL technologies.

In Brittany, France, the community in Sibril have decided to take action to have their telephony infrastructure improved before the arrival of an impending fibre-based next-generation broadband service. This effort has paid off with the bandwidth for 259 households in  the territory being improved to nearly 20Mbps where it was in the order of 0.5Mbps to 2Mbps. It has made the service fit for IP-based video services  to Full HD specification along with quicker downloading for even large files.

What Orange have done is to install cabinets closer to the affected locations and run fibre-optic cable to these cabinets, in a similar vein to a fibre-to-the-cabinet setup which implements VDSL2 technology. But they have deployed ADSL2 DSLAMs in the cabinets to assure continuity of ADSL2 service with existing Liveboxes. As well, the customers’ telephone cables are routed to the communications cabinet rather than the main telephone exchange.

This technique comes in to its own with country areas that have a village, hamlet or town which services a collection of smaller communities, something that is taking place in a lot of rural areas. It also comes in to its own with country towns that are growing and the telephony infrastructure needs to be re-worked. Here, a telecommunications cabinet could be installed closer to the various communities and it houses DSLAMs and similar “on-ramp” equipment but has enough rackspace to cope with a few large-property subdivisions that increases the number of customers. Then this cabinet is linked back to the main exchange using a fibre-optic connection while the premises’ telephony and ADSL services are terminated at the cabinet.

There is a greater chance of increased communications security for these areas because if there is equipment breakdown or power failure in a particular cabinet, other areas aren’t affected by the failure. This could also lead to the provision of battery backup in those cabinets for the local telephone services with this requiring a reduced energy need.

At least this comes across as a near-term solution to providing real broadband to densely-populated country areas or to cater for country areas that take a different more-dense housing character.

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