NBN to consider FTTN in regional areas


NBN Co ponders rural reversal | The Australian

My Comments

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

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

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

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

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Some more Oxfordshire villages gain real broadband


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

From the horse’s mouth


Rollout page – Otmoor

Press Release – Otmoor

My Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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You live in an outer-urban area and find you have unreliable Internet connections. What do you do?

I have covered the issue of substandard and unreliable fixed-broadband Internet connections in rural and outer-urban areas on HomeNetworking01.info before, based on experience with people who have had this kind of situation occur to them.

In these situations, a customer may find that they have very reduced bandwidth especially abnormally low bandwidth. On the other hand, the Internet connection becomes increasingly unreliable with it dropping out or taking too long to establish. The latter situation may be typically in the form of the SYNC or LINK light flashing or off or, in some cases this light glows and the INTERNET or CONNECTION light flashes, indicating Internet connection trouble.

For some home users who use the Internet for personal use, it is so easy to give up on the service due to this unreliability. But you shouldn’t simply give up on this service.

What you can do

Here, you contact the ISP’s or telecommunication company’s customer-service department preferably by phone and report this fault. Even if it “comes good”, it is worth keeping the ISP’s customer service “in the loop” about when the service comes good or not.

Keeping a record of when the failures or inconsistencies in the Internet service’s performance occurs may also help the ISP has a fair idea of what was going on. This is important with ADSL services and similar services where another company like an incumbent telco manages the infrastructure. It also is a way of identifying if a failure or substandard performance occurred in conjunction with particular weather conditions such as rainfall, which gives the game away with failing connections between the exchange and your premises.

As well, identify where the point of demarcation for your service is, which delineates where the service provider’s point of responsibility is when providing the service. In most ADSL services, the first telephone socket which may be in the hall or kitchen; or the provider-supplied splitter may be the point of demarcation. Here, you can know if the failure was with equipment and accessories you own or not.

If your hear your neighbours moan about substandard broadband Internet performance, ask them to join forces with you and keep a record of when they were affected. This could be a situation concerning the old or decrepit infrastructure. Other stakeholders that are worth talking to are shopkeepers and other small business owners whom you deal with because they may be facing similar problems.

The issue that typically occurs with ADSL providers is that they blame the customer’s equipment because they find that the modem at their end is still good. They don’t realise that the infrastructure between the exchange and the customer’s premises may be at fault. This typically is where the service is “good enough” for voice telephony but will not perform for ADSL broadband Internet as highlighted in the article. Here, you may have to draw this to your ISP’s customer service department that they need to pay attention to this wiring.

As I have mentioned before in the article, the situation that commonly plagues the telephone wiring infrastructure in rural and outer-urban areas is that there is a lot of old and decrepit infrastructure in these areas. When ADSL is provided in these areas, the work may be just done at the exchange as the DSLAM modems are installed in the exchange. But the infrastructure isn’t assessed properly for points of failure as part of the installation in normal circumstances. Similarly, the telephony infrastructure may not be upgraded when the town becomes enveloped in a metropolis.

Further action

This may only occur for a town’s business area or if a major employer sets up shop in the neighbourhood. It would also happen for services affected by a disaster evebt or by damage that affects a particular line like a tree falling across that line. But this activity should be a chance for all telephone customers in the town to have their lines assessed for proper ADSL service whether they are starting broadband service using that technology or not.

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Gigaclear to provide competitive retail access to their fibre networks


thinkbroadband :: Gigaclear partners with Fluidata to offer provider choice on network

My Comments

In the UK, a lot of small fibre-based networks are popping up in different country areas to offer real next-generation broadband to these areas. They are typically either a sole private effort or assisted by local or central government or even the local community.

But, unlike most next-generation broadband networks (including the National Broadband Network in Australia) and the ADSL broadband networks in most areas, there isn’t competitive access to the infrastructure. Here, it makes it hard for these markets to be approached with retail Internet service that competes on price or services offered.

Now, Gigaclear, whom I have been following on HomeNetworking01.info, have partnered with Fluidata to open their fibre-to-the-premises networks to other retail providers on a competitive-access model. This could allow a potential customer in Lyddington, Appleton or somewhere similar to benefit from a competitive tariff chart or sign up to a package that has “all the fruit” like VoIP telephony or IP-provided television.

There needs to be a platform for providing competitive access to infrastructure provided as part of any new next-generation-broadband project  This means that there is a company who looks after the infrastructure to the point of demarcation between the company’s responsibility and the customer’s responsibility at a customer’s installation.

But different companies can use this platform to provide a business or home customer access to the Internet using this infrastructure but in a competitive manner. Here, a customer then chooses which company provides an offer that best suits their needs and provides the best “bang for the buck”.

One could easily think that such a platform needs to be built or integrated at a later stage after the project is established but it is worth investigation any competitive-access systems as part of rolling out a next-generation Internet or rural-broadband-enablement project.

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Gigaclear to partner with Vonage in providing VoIP service to the FTTP-enabled villages


thinkbroadband :: Vonage and Gigaclear in partnership deal

From the horse’s mouth


Press Release


UK company webpage

My Comments

As you may already know, Gigaclear have been known for rolling out focused fibre-to-the-premises deployments to various Oxfordshire and Berkshire villages in the UK to enable them for next-generation broadband. A lot of these services are known to provide up to a gigabyte in upload and download capacity.

Now they have partnered with Vonage, a US-based over-the-top VoIP telephony provider to exploit this bandwidth for providing VoIP telephony. One would see this as a way to eliminate dependence on British Telecom for landline voice telephony for people who sign up to Gigaclear FTTP services.

Here, the main advantage would be for the new Vonage customers who are behind the Gigaclear services to avoid having to pay the £9.99 activation fee when they set up for VoIP service and will benefit from calling anywhere in the UK for £5.99 per month. As well, Vonage do sell a VoIP analogue-telephone adaptor that is set up for these services as part of the service so you can use that existing landline phone with your VoIP service.

But one could easily ask whether Gigaclear could resell the VoIP service on behalf of Vonage so that customers could buy the telephony and Internet as a package. Similarly, another question could be asked whether Gigaclear could also partner with an IPTV provider to resell pay-TV to the customers.

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Google using TV white space to provide broadband in remote South Africa

Article – From the horse’s mouth


Google Europe Blog: Improving Internet access in Africa with ‘White Spaces’

My Comments

What is “white space”?

A term that we will hear a fair bit of with Internet services is “white space”. This is UHF or VHF radio spectrum that has been newly created as the result of a nation or region switching from an analogue TV service to a digital TV service, which is typically more spectrum-efficient.

How is this relevant

The use of “white space” is becoming very appealing for Internet in rural and remote areas due to the fact that the VHF and UHF frequencies have relatively longer wavelengths than the frequencies used for most wireless-broadband applications. This allows for a longer distance between the base station and remote stations which suits this kind of deployment.

Such setups will be established on the concept of the fixed-wireless broadband setup where the customer-premises equipment will be connected to a fixed antenna (aerial), typically a rooftop aerial.

A lot of the talk about these services relates to whether these setups should be worked on licensed spectrum or the newly-free spectrum be declared in a manner to allow unlicensed use for this application, in a similar vein to Wi-Fi wireless.

In a test that was undertaken in some parts of rural USA by Google, it was proven that white space could be used as a wireless last-mile backhaul without interfering with existing TV stations and other spectrum users. This was through the use of a database which identifies channels that are used that is indexed by GPS-driven geographic parameters. The base station equipment are equipped with a GPS receiver to determine their geographic location and this comes in to play during the commissioning stage in order to determine the useable channels. Of course, the customer-premises equipment would seek for the frequencies associated with services that exist in a similar vein to a cable modem.

The African deployment

After Google had their success with the Kansas City fibre-driven next-generation-broadband rollout when it came to establishing an Internet-service, they put forward the idea of setting up a trial “white-space” fixed-wireless setup in some of the remote parts of South Africa. The idea is to establish access to Internet for the schools that are in this area.

It was organised in partnership with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, equivalent to the US’s FCC or UK’s Ofcom communications authorities and is assisted by broadcasters and the industry.

What I would see of this is a chance for African nations to observe this trial and see how it can allow for decent broadband service in to their remote areas. This will include assessing what kind of power is needed at the customer’s end so as to determine whether this could work on a solar power setup that serves one building.  Similarly, this could be assessed for establishing cellular-data backhauls for extending or improving access to Internet service via cost-effective wireless-broadband equipment in these areas.

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Next-generation broadband to enable the Scottish Highlands


thinkbroadband :: Highlands and Islands in £146 million fibre boost

From the horse’s mouth

British Telecom

Press Release

My Comments

Another rural area in the United Kingdom is being enabled with real broadband. This time it is the Highlands and Islands region in Scotland.

The mighty Scots will have a fibre-optic infrastructure that will intend to pass at least 84% of homes and businesses in this area. The setup will be primarily of the FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet / fibre-to-the-curb) fibre-copper setup with some installations being FTTP (full fibre-to-the-premises) setups.

This £146m project is being primarily provisioned by BT but, like a lot of these projects, has a lot of public funding. There will be £19.4m pitched by BT and £12m coming from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise business group with balance being public money from BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) and from Edinburgh.

This will be considered one of the most ambitious rural-Internet-enablement projects in the UK due to the geographical makeup of the are i.e. the hilly nature of the Highlands as well as the Scottish Islands separated by water. One of the main costs would be to run 19 undersea fibre links to the Scottish Islands that are in this district. As well, areas that are considered to be remote will be the target of a £2.5m innovation fund to get broadband in to them.

What I would see of this is that the Highlands and Islands project can he used as an example of deploying real next-generation broadband to areas that have a mixture of geographically-difficult terrains like mountains or islands.

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Next-generation broadband to appear in the Dordogne area in France

Articles – French language


Dordogne : le calendrier du très haut débit se précise – DegroupNews.com

L’Aquitaine se prépare au défi du très haut débit

My Comments

In France, there are greater plans to cover the Aquitaine region with next-generation broadband. This time, the Dordogne (24) département is now part of the blueprint to deliver this service through the region. Previously they have established the Lot-et-Garonne and Gironde départements as part of the effort. Initially the effort will be focused on the Gourdine and Bergerac population centres.

There has been work undertaken on coverage in the Bordeaux, Biarritz and Pau population centres with initial involvement from energy companies in that area.

Initial plans require the fibre trunks to be laid after 2015 and the work complete after 5 years.

France Télécom / Orange will be primarily behind the effort as far as the infrastructure is concerned. But a good question to raise is whether there will be local or regional public investment in the effort? This is although most rural-broadband-improvement / next-generation broadband efforts in the UK and France have a fair bit of public investment from local government.

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Scilly Isles to have reliable fast Internet thanks to a fibre backhaul


thinkbroadband :: Scilly Isles to benefit from fibre link and better broadband

From the horse’s mouth

Superfast Cornwall

Press Release

My Comments

Scilly Isles in Cornwall, United Kingdom is now to benefit from reliable real broadband thanks to a fibre-optic backhaul.

Previous, the inhabitants were serviced by a wireless link between Land’s End and the islands as their Internet backhaul. But reliability could be an issue due to the nature of radio links and this backhaul would not yield enough bandwidth for all the residents and businesses on those islands.

Here, the Superfast Cornwall initiative which facilitated this link made use of undersea “dark fibre” (unused fibre-optic links) that went out to the Atlantic Ocean to steer the Internet link to these islands. They intend to have the service up and running by 2014. 

Like a lot of these broadband-improvement efforts, this one is a public-private partnership with the European Regional Development Initiative and Cornwall Council putting their hands to the plough.

I also see this as opening up better pathos for people at the southern tip of England to benefit from the real fast broadband, whether you work or retire there. It could also allow for some form of financial regeneration to occur in these areas.

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La Réunion to have a fibre-optic next-generation broadband network

Article – French language

ZEOP apporte la fibre optique à La Réunion – DegroupNews.com

My Comments

Previously, I had written an article about La Réunion, one of France’s “Départements Outre Mer” colonies having to deal with the issue of costly Internet access on that island.

Now there is action afoot to set up a next-generation broadband network on this island near Madagascar. ZEOP, who is an ISP that services this colony has put up the idea of a fibre-optic network being set up via their “Réunicable” subsidiary.

They will initially work on Saint Gilles which is their main economic centre due to the existence of a popular seaside resort with the work starting in April 2013. The goal is to connect 11000 premises to the network but I am not sure whether this effort is the same “fibre-to-the-node” deployment with a coaxial run to the subscriber as has been set up by Réunicable for the Pont D’Yves and Bras de Ponth dual-play services.

There will be an expectation that ZEOP /Réunicable shares the infrastructure with competing retail carriers and providers in that territory as has been mandated in the French mainland. But ZEOP want to run their retail service as a triple-play €49.90 / month with included telephone calls to landlines within La Réunion, to France and 60 other international destinations; 50 TV channels and an Internet service of 35Mbps download / 2Mbps upload bandwidth.

Of course, as I have mentioned in the previous coverage on this Département Outre-Mer, there is the issue of increasing the bandwidth that the island has to the rest of the Internet world. This could be about making La Réunion become a link between Africa and other European and Asian territories through the use of more satellite and submarine cable uplinks.

As well, I would like to see ZEOP look at other technologies that can do the job better, for better value in this island like use of VDSL2 for the copper run or full fibre-to-the-premises.

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