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

Article

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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Cumbria to benefit from fibre-optic rural Internet

Articles

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

From the horse’s mouth

Digital Dales

Product Page

My Comments

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

Two Yorkshire Dales villages near Cumbria to benefit from real broadband

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

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

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

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

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

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BT to investigate remote-node setups for fibre-copper broadband

Article

First BT Fibre-To-The-Remote-Node FTTrN Broadband Trial Set For Q4 2014 | ISPReview.co.uk

My Comments

British Telecom are trialling in Yorkshire a deployment setup for fibre-copper (FTTC, FTTN, etc) next-generation broadband setups. This is based around a miniature housing containing VDSL2 DSLAMs that can be mounted in smaller locations and able to serve a small number of copper connections.

This system, known as FTTrN (Fibre To The Remote Node) allows for longer fibre runs and can be powered either by the client premises or by a low-power independent power supply like a solar panel or simply neighbouring electrical infrastructure. It is intended to be mounted on telegraph poles, installed in small manholes or integrated in to existing infrastructure in some other way.

This is pitched as an alternative to the street cabinet that is essential to the FTTC (Fibre to the Curb / Fibre To The Cabinet) model because these have costs and installation issues as their baggage. This includes aesthetics and streetscape issues including attractiveness to grafitti vandals as a tagging surface as well as assuring dedicated power-supply availability.

Useful for difficult installations where a street cabinet would be difficult to install – cosmetic issues with large cabinets including attractiveness to grafitti vandals, planning / streetscape integration, dedicated AC power requirements including cabling infrastructure

Personally I would see these setups appeal to fibre-copper setups like “fibre-to-the-node” / “fibre-to-the-distribution-point” where the bridge between fibre-optic infrastructure and copper infrastructure is closer to the customer. They also do appeal as a way to “wire up” remote settlements, estates and hamlets with next-generation broadband in the fibre-copper way while assuring improved throughput.

I do still see these having the same limitations as any fibre-copper setup where the user experience can be impaired by use of poorly-maintained copper infrastructure which would be a common problem with rural installations.

At least BT are trying out a highly-flexible fibre-copper next-generation broadband setup which can also appeal as a tool for supplying real broadband to rural areas especially where there are the remote settlements or estates.

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Deutsche Telekom raises issues about rural broadband in Germany

Articles (German language / Deutsche Sprache)

Telekom will für Breitband-Aufbau Kabelanbieter kaufen | Gizmodo.de

Breitband-Ausbau wird zweistelligen Milliardenbetrag kosten | Der Spiegel

My Comments

Deutsche Telekom logo courtesy of Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom to raise concern about assuring rural broadband coverage in Germany

Deutsche Telekom has been raising concern about assuring that the whole of Germany has access to decent-standard broadband Internet and have been interested in buying in to smaller cable-broadband services in that country to achieve that goal.

But are they the entity who has to carry the burden for rural broadband service, which requires huge investments? This is although they have been previously the government-run monopoly telecommunications operator for Germany.

Here, they were having to need EUR€10 billion to get a broadband service of at least 50Mbps over 90% of Germany with them needing to cover the remote areas which represents 10% for another EUR€15 billion. They also raised the issue of competing services needing federal money to achieve this same goal.

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

Farmhouses in these areas not to be forgotten about for real broadband

I see a reality where no other government or public-private entity is putting their hand up to provide rural broadband in that country. Germany’s political layout with the individual States (Bundesländer), especially the “Area States” (Flächeländer) could put themselves in a better position if the States (Baden-Württenburg, Bavaria, Lower Saxony, North-Rhine-Westphalia and co) or subordinate government divisions could underpin the works needed to be done.

This is something that has taken place in some other European countries like the UK and France where local or regional governments put their hand in their pocket for broadband enrichment projects in their territories. This is with a view to seeing investment take place for their areas with a view to attracting major employers like research, education or technology to their areas or to see their local economy on a level or better playing field with other areas.

Similarly, allowing for a truly competitive environment for Internet service where there isn’t favouritism for existing carriers may also be a chance for the other carriers to invest more in to Germany and see all of the nation covered with real broadband.

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Northmoor to achieve Gigabit speeds courtesy of fibre-optic network

Article

PM David Cameron Switches On Gigaclear’s 1Gbps Broadband in Northmoor | ISPReview.co.uk

From the horse’s mouth

Gigaclear

Press Release

Northmoor community page

My Comments

Another rural neighbourhood in West Oxfordshire has been enabled for Gigabit fibre broadhand courtesy of Gigaclear. This time, it is Northmoor where the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, officially switched on the new fibre-to-the-premises service which covers 500 premises in Northmoor, Moreton and Bablockhythe.

This is a non-BT scheme that is funded by DEFRA as part of a GBP£20m Rural Community Broadband Fund where there is financial assistance from the EU. This public-private project underwent a proper procurement procedure with Gigaclear being the winner of the contract.

Here, it was proven that the fibre-to-the-premises deal had a higher throughput and was more stable than the 80Mbps fibre-to-the-cabinet deal offered by BT.

But Gigaclear offers this service at GBP£37 per month for a 50Mbps to GBP£69 per month for a Gigabit connection, both with “clean feed” parental controls and a Gigabit hub. They also charge GBP£100 for installation. The users benefit form the connection being symmetric for both uploads and downloads along with not needing to pay for BT phone-line rental to have the Internet service.

The Gigaclear PR ran with a comment about a person who was working from home in the neighbourhood but having to go to London to transfer large multimedia files due to the woefully slow connection that existed before. But he is able to stay working in that area and transfer the multimedia very quickly. I also see this benefitting others who think of the country as a place to live or work because of the increase in online services that is taking place.

This is something that shows up that villages in some of the Home Counties could be appealing as places to move to for working from home or for that proverbial “tree-change” as they become wired up for real broadband, especially next-generation broadband.

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