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

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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

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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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Claverton assists BT in providing real broadband to that village

Kennet and Avon Canal near Claverton, Bath, Somerset © Copyright Clive Barry and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons LicenceArticle

UPDATE Tiny Village of Claverton co-Funds BT Fibre Broadband Rollout | ISPReview.co.uk

From the horse’s mouth

Claverton Parish Council

Broadband rollout web page

My Comments

I have previously covered some community efforts that have taken place in the UK to see real broadband Internet be available in various rural villages such as some of the Gigaclear efforts.

But the 115-strong community in Claverton, a Somerset village just a stone’s throw from Bath, have been the first community of its kind to co-fund British Telecom to establish a “fibre-to-the-cabinet” broadband network to cover that village. Here, BT responded with laying 2 kilometres of underground ducting and 4 kilometres worth of overhead and underground fibre-optic cable. This was terminated with 2 new street cabinets with one delivering regular ADSL and telephony services and the other serving as the fibre off-ramp for the next-gen FTTC broadband of up to 80Mbps.

Previously, the broadband service that covered the Claverton community was a joke with bandwidth of less than 1Mbps. This village was one of those communities that would be considered too small for the UK Government’’s “Broadband Delivery UK” programme and of course too small for commercially-viable rollout.

This was about a community that can work together to get something real done about their broadband service, making the village more viable economically. As well, it was about forcing an incumbent carrier like BT to adapt to the needs of a small community. Similarly, the infrastructure that is laid as a result of servicing Claverton can be used as a thoroughfare to service communities that are further out from there.

 

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NBN to raise the bandwidth on wireless-broadband

Article

Tarcutta Halfway Motor Inn

Small rural businesses like this motel will benefit from the increase in bandwidth provided through NBN’s fixed-wireless broadband service

NBN Co to trial faster fixed wireless | IT News

From the horse’s mouth

National Broadband Network

Press Release

My Comments

The National Broadband Network is rolling out to most of rural Australia a fixed-wireless broadband service. This is based around towers scattered around the country areas which provide a radio link to a fixed-wireless modem that is installed at the customer’s premises and connected to their network’s router.

This connection has been rated at 25Mbps for the top-tier broadband offering has now had this bandwidth speed raised to 50Mbps down and 20Mbps up for this same package. It is being offered on a trial basis with the goal of having this improvement available in full production in the fourth quarter of the year. These are typically “headline” link speeds that can be achieved under ideal situations.

The goal is to expose to the rural community the kind of speeds most of us who live in urban areas and have properly-behaving ADSL2+ setups take for granted. This would lead to something that would suit most Internet activities that would benefit these communities, well more than an ADSL service provided using a DSLAM at the exchange that is connected to long-run decrepit telephone infrastructure that seems to be the order of the day for these users.

Personally, I would like to know what real improvement will there be for most country properties when the throughput is increased. But I would see this also making Internet real for people living or working in the country.

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Quality of life becomes another argument to validate rural broadband

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Tree on a country property

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

Good Broadband Helps Lift Rutland to Top Halifax’s 50 Best Rural Areas | ISPReview

My Comments

I have given increased coverage to the subject of rural broadband, including implementation of next-generation technologies in the country.

Here I have stood for proper rural broadband due to raising the bar for people who live or work in the country rather than treating them as second-class citizens, something I have experienced with radio, television and telephone. An example of this was a telephone service that was frequently riddled with crosstalk, a radio service with reduced access to music content or a TV service with unreliable reception.

In the UK, the Broadband Delivery UK programme assisted by British Telecom made sure that real broadband passed 98% of the county’s premises courtesy of fibre-to-the-cabinet technology. This was also complemented in some villages with fibre-to-the-premises technology courtesy of Gigaclear and Rutland Telecom. This has been demonstrated as a way to lift the value of the properties in these areas as the quality of broadband service can improve one’s online life.

But real broadband in rural areas has been seen as contributing to an improvement to quality of life in these neighbourhoods, which was highlighted in a Halifax survey that was just published. Halifax factored the quality of broadband service in to this list with a bandwidth of 2Mbps or greater as a positive influence. Here, the Rutland neighbourhood appeared at number 1 thanks to the Gigaclear and BDUK

These figures could be used by local government and citizen groups to substantiate why real competition is important for Internet service and why country areas need real Internet service that is reliable. It can also be used by national governments to define the standard of adequate broadband Internet service and justify having this service covered by a universal-service obligation along with protection of real competition for these services and the provision of public money to set these services up.

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Discussions in Germany about how broadband can benefit rural areas

Article

German industry is poised to exploit rural broadband | PC World

My Comments

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

There are real applications for real broadband in Germany

Other countries are having to work harder to even justify rural broadband but Germany is justifying and standing for a broadband standard of at least 50Mbps even in rural areas. This was something that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel had called for in her opening speech at CEBIt 2015 in Hannover.

Here. the goal was about using broadband as a tool to benefit the tradition-driven farming and forestry industries that exist in the country’s rural areas. This is although Germany is pushing the VDSL2 barrow for their next-generation broadband technology but could use “fibre to the remote node” with VDSL2 and ADSL2 to push real broadband to rural households or to serve 4G or newer mobile-broadband service to these areas.

The main benefit was to allow farmers and forestry workers to implement computer-driven analytics rather than tradition and “rough-gauging” to their tasks in order to gain better harvests. SAP were premiering a “field analytics” service which covers the lifecycle of a farmer’s crop, recommending when to start the various tasks associated with that crop. This allows dates for these tasks to be factored in by the farmer or seed merchant. As well, weather reports for that area can be used to vary when to start a particular task.

The SAP service also has the ability for the farmer to share out data with contractors on an “as-needed” basis thus honouring Germany’s strict data-protection laws. At the moment, it is a proof-of-concept service but it was realised that this kind of service can benefit from real broadband being available to rural areas.

Other beneficiaries included Claas who offered a sensor-equipped tractor along with Fovea who offered a surveying app for forestry workers.

Here it is not just about personal entertainment or general office communication that would benefit the rural community when real broadband arrives. It is also about using the “fat pipes” that this technology provides to exchange data with various analytics services to obtain the right crop yield.

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New York State to raise the bar for US broadband

Article

New York State plots broadband future | The Register

From the horse’s mouth

New York State Government

Governor’s speech (video)

My Comments

The New York State government are taking the bull by the horns to raise the bar for broadband in New York State. This is a regional-government effort to counteract the way that the US broadband Internet service has been going downhill.

This may rattle some “established” cages regarding public funding for projects but they are pitching US$500 million towards public-private broadband-service improvement projects through the state. Here, they want a minimum bandwidth of 100Mbps for most of the state with, in some rural situations, 25Mbps. This is compared to a state average of around 6Mbps.

Albany is also soliciting local input to guide development so they know of unserved or underserved neighbourhoods; aggregate the demand across across business, institutional and residential usage sectors; identify and detail the most cost-effective ways to achieve this universal-access goal along with leveraging their state-owned assets. The goal of identifying the unserved and underserved areas works well also to combat any redlining that is taking place concerning service provision.

Any of the developments that are taking place will be worked to support a “dig once, make ready” policy so that any further work to improve the state’s broadband doesn’t require any further major work that would be costly.

Of course, a lot of these efforts put forward the idea of increased employment and business development in the areas concerned.

But they would need to encourage the provision of competitive broadband by allowing those other than the incumbent telcos or cable-TV firms to lay down infrastructure or provide broadband service to the state’s citizens.

Could this light up New York State for Broadband?

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The soil has been turned for fibre-optic Internet in rural Yorkshire

Articles

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

More Yorkshire villages to benefit from real broadband

B4YS Start Rural FTTH Broadband Rollout for Yealand, Silverdale and Storth | ISPReview

B4RN brings fibre to B4YS country | ThinkBroadband

From the horse’s mouth

B4YS

Home Page

My Comments

Real broadband is coming to some parts of rural Yorkshire sooner than you think. Here, the B4RN group who established fibre-optic Internet in some parts of rural Lancashire have cut in to the large Yorkshire county, especially Yealand, Silverdale and Storth because these villages abut Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Here, the B4RN community-funded Internet group have turned the soil for the fibre-optic links and have achieved Stage One funding of GBP£101,000 without need for any state aid. This capital is to establish the core network. This is achieved through shares being sold to local residents and local businesses offering to lend capital to the effort and landowners offering labour towards the effort.

They are using a low-impact mole plough so that the land that the fibre-optic connections pass through isn’t disturbed heavily. Use of private land is totally with the landowner’s permission as it should be and there is encouragement for landowners to help with the work of installing the fibre-optic cable.

They intend to have the first premises connected sometime this year but there have been issues of this requiring the second-stage funding of a similar amount and B4YS are building up that capital. Users benefit from a Gigabit-throughput unlimited broadband service for £30 per month VAT inclusive and a one-off connection fee of £150.

If the B4YS project takes off well when it comes to connections, this could be a chance for this chapter of the B4RN project to work outwards and service more of the North Yorkshire villages, thus creating a force for real broadband Internet in the rural communities there.

But what is being allowed for here in the UK is for local communities and small businesses to deploy fibre-optic broadband to serve these small communities to allow them to benefit from real broadband Internet. This is alongside the BT Openreach service who are establishing fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband Internet in most of the UK and is a way to use competitive services to achieve the same goal.

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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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