Category: Internet Access And Service

Boeing to launch LEO satellite network


Boeing corporate offices photo image courtesy of the Boeing Company

Boeing to join the low-earth-orbit satellite party

FCC licenses new LEO constellation from Boeing | (

FCC Authorizes Boeing V-Band LEO Broadband Constellation – Via Satellite – (

My Comments

The Puget Sound area of Washington State in the USA now has two actors in the low-earth-orbit satellite broadband game.

This was initially Jeff Bezon’s Project Kuiper effort that is starting to pick up steam, but Boeing, associated with the likes of some well-known airliners which you most likely have flown on many times, is now getting the go-ahead to build a constellation of these satellites.

The initial FCC permit will allow Boeing to launch 147 LEO satellites which will be for civil-use cases like residential, commercial and institutional use initially within the USA then globally. The wavebands they will be licensed to work in are part of the V-band radio spectrum for both space-to-ground and inter-satellite communications. They have six years to develop the constellation and launch half of the satellites as part of the licence.

Here, it will be about Boeing joining a relatively-crowded market for LEO satellite broadband which will be a boon for use cases like real broadband in rural and remote areas; alongside broadband Internet within transport services.

Boeing could be more than those commercial airliners we have flown in but extend to satellite broadband Internet for rural communities

But how will Boeing join this market? Could this be through offering a retail service like SpaceX’s Starlink or to offer it as a wholesale service in a similar manner to OneWeb. That is where retail ISPs could resell Boeing’s service to local customers.

There will be the issues of having a retail service licensed for operation in multiple countries especially where some countries are particular about preferring companies chartered in their jurisdiction offer telecommunications and allied services. A wholesale approach can allow a country’s own telcos and ISPs to resell satellite broadband to all user classes.

There is also the question about Boeing being tempted to vertically integrate this service with their lineup of civil aircraft. This could mean that they could get more airlines who fly the likes of the 737 or the 787 Dreamliner to offer a high-bandwidth Internet service provided by their LEO satellite constellation as a passenger amenity.

If Boeing can get these low-earth-orbit broadband satellites off the ground and yielding a viable service, this could be a viably competitive market when it comes to satellite broadband.

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New satellite antenna for Starlink


Starlink square panel user terminal on roof - product image courtesy of SpaceX

This is what the new Starlink user terminal will look like

Starlink’s new rectangular satellite broadband dish is smaller and lighter than before | Engadget

SpaceX’s new, smaller Starlink satellite-internet dish is a rectangle – take a look at the new design (

Starlink Launch New Dish for LEO Satellite Broadband Service – ISPreview UK

My Comments

SpaceX Starlink have issued a second-generation user terminal for their low-earth-orbit satellite Internet service that is intended to help the rural broadband situation. This is due to it heading towards full service with 1800 LEO satellites currently in orbit.

Compared to the previous user terminal which used a dish, this unit uses a 11” x 19” rectangular panel as its antenna. There will be a different set of accessories including a pole you can set up in your yard for this antenna. As well there is increased tolerance for heat which will benefit areas that are really hot such as desert areas.

But you use this new satellite antenna with a new different Wi-Fi modem router that doesn’t have an Ethernet port. Here, if you want Ethernet connectivity, you would have to use an Ethernet adaptor accessory thanks to this design heading towards IP54 outdoor water-resistance requirements.

Some of the computing press reckoned that SpaceX Starlink should forego the IP54 weather-resistance goal and install at least one Ethernet LAN socket on the modem router. This is because the modem router would likely be installed within the house rather than outside.

The WI-Fi LAN for this device will be a three-stream MU-MIMO Wi-Fi 5 setup rather than the previous design’s two-stream MU-MIMO Wi-Fi 5 approach. This will most likely be about improved bandwidth for the LAN aspect of the setup.

SpaceX are still selling their Starlink user equipment as a loss-leader and this new device is about being more compact and cheaper to build.

But they could offer other modem options for the Starlink user terminals. This would include an indoor-optimised modem router with Wi-Fi and Ethernet support along with a pure-play modem that works with a broadband router of your own choice. The latter setup could come in to play with business-grade routers, dual-WAN routers or where a more flexible or better-performing network is desired.

As well, I would like to see some of these modem options able to work from a DC power supply of 12 to 24 volts. That would then come in to its own with Starlink setups in caravan / RV or small-craft marine setups where that voltage range is dominant in such vehicles or craft. It would also come in to its own in areas that don’t have or can’t afford to deploy a reliable mains-voltage power supply.

What is being shown here is that by offering a second-generation user terminal for the Starlink satellite Internet service, SpaceX are showing that there is strong interest in the idea of low-earth-orbit satellite Internet.

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Leicester to be a mid-sized UK city to watch for infrastructure-level broadband competition


Cultural Quarter, Leicester by Malc McDonald, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Leicester to have increased infrastructure-level competition for its broadband services
Cultural Quarter, Leicester by Malc McDonald, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Grain Extending Full Fibre Broadband to Homes in Leicester UK – ISPreview UK

My Comments

Leicester, a mid-sized city in the UK’s East Midlands is to end up with plenty of infrastructure-level broadband competition thanks to Grain Connect starting to set up shop in that city.

Grain Connect expect to cover the UK over the next five years but are targeting mid-sized cities and large towns. They intend to offer retail service for GBP£14.99 per month for symmetric 50Mbps service to GBP£44.99 per month for a 900Mbps service with a minimum 12-month contract term. These kind of aggressively-low prices are there to encourage rapid service takeup.

Leicester already has Virgin Media, Openreach, Hyperoptic, Cityfibre, OFNL and Fibreloop building out Gigabit-capable service networks across the city. Then for Grain Connect to start setting shop and building infrastructure within that city will show how much infrastructure-level competition it can tolerate.

This kind of competition could lead to some keen-edge pricing for broadband or multiple-play online services and could also see the ISPs all increasing their value for money and trying to retain their customers.

But the question that can easily come about is how sustainable this kind of marketplace will be for a city of Leicester’s size. This may result in some market consolidation taking place in order to keep it in check. There will be the issue of how much market consolidation can take place to avoid a highly-concentrated US-style broadband and telecommunications market. It would be more so for small cities and large towns like Leicester.

What is going on in Leicester will show how sustainably a small-to-medium-size city or large town can handle infrastructure-level competition. This includes how competitive the market can be for Internet service.

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Month-by-month plans available on Australia’s NBN


Linksys MR7350 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router press picture courtesy of Belkin

There are month-by-month NBN plans available in Australia that require you to bring your own home-network router

Contract-Free NBN: Unlimited NBN Plans With No Setup Fees (

My Comments

A handful of NBN-based ISPs are offering month-by-month plans to the Australian Internet market.

These kind of Internet plans are not dependent on you being on a contract for say 12 to 36 months but require you to bring your own home-network router rather than use a carrier-provided piece of equipment that you have to pay off. That is equivalent to terms like “no-wires” or “BYO modem” for Internet services where the provisioning is done by the provider at their office without the need for any of their staff to deliver or install any equipment or infrastructure at your premises.

Firstly, you have to have an NBN connection of some sort installed at your premises. You will have to use an NBN-supplied modem or optical-network terminal for installations other than FTTN or FTTB installations, with this equipment being NBN’s responsibility. Here, you would need to use a broadband router with Ethernet WAN connection for setups other than FTTN or FTTB while you would use an up-to-date modem router for FTTN or FTTB installations.

Some of these providers offer a timed-discount approach with a few months at the start of your subscription being cheaper. As well, all of the plans listed in that article have unlimited data allowances and they don’t have any setup fees associated with getting on board the service. But the cost typically comes around AUD$75 – AUD$80 for a 50Mbps “NBN 50” plan. It is worth clicking on the Gizmodo article’s link at the top of this article to have a look at what is available for you bandwidth needs.

One of the providers called MATE even offers an option to annex a SIM-only mobile service to their broadband package and save money on both those services. This is one that is delivered under a mobile virtual network arrangement with Telstra’s mobile network under the context for wholesale service.

Who would want these plans?

They are being pitched for those of us who want to be able to walk away from our NBN Internet deal at a moment’s notice, typically to join a competing NBN or non-NBN ISP. Here, it would be about the pending arrival of infrastructure-level competition in your building or neighbourhood, be it Optus pitching their 5G mobile broadband service as a fixed-wireless setup or something like Spirit Broadband being in your apartment building.

The article even talked of a person who would be likely to go over to mobile broadband or low-earth-orbit satellite broadband like Starlink due to them shifting out to the country or shifting around Australia.

Another usage scenario is to cater towards those of us who are likely to engage in month-by-month placement work contracts where one is likely to be in a different town, city or country at a moment’s notice. This can also apply to people who are likely to move even within NBN’s service-coverage area but may face contract issues due to changing location.


It may become a requirement for ISPs to offer a “bring your own equipment” deal that operates on a month-by-month basis without any minimum-length contract. This may be a way to court users who don’t necessarily want to run a long-term service contract or may want to be able to use competing infrastructure offers.

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Elon Musk intends to get Starlink in full service by August


Starlink satellite launch photo courtesy of SpaceX

Starlink expected to be in full service by August this year

Starlink Will Be Here In August, Elon Musk Says (

My Comments

Elon Musk expects to get the Starlink low-earth-orbit satellite Internet service up and running as a full-time service by August according to a virtual-presence talk he had done for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

According to him, he has a constellation of 1,800 Starlink satellites in orbit at the moment and expects to have 5000 users “on the books” for that service within the next 12 months. There is also expected to be engagement with various countries’ telcos and mobile carriers in order for them to resell the service or use it in some form.

He also had a talk with some airlines who are wanting to equip some of their fleet for Starlink satellite Internet as a backhaul for their headline in-flight Wi-Fi amenities. But what was not put on the map was that the New South Wales police force in Australia were signing up to Starlink satellite Internet for their remote police stations. This police force’s Starlink contract could be seen as an “acid-test” regarding how “fit-for-service” a low-earth-satellite broadband service like this one is for emergency-service and essential-service use cases.

But Elon Musk is looking at the possibility of impending competition in the low-earth-orbit satellite Internet space. He is looking at Jeff Bezon who is establishing the Project Kuiper service along with the UK and India who are establishing their OneWeb consortium for this service.

There will be issues like offering residential and business satellite Internet service with fixed and transportable installations as well as mobile services for vehicles, vessels and aircraft in motion. Let’s not forget making sure that low-earth-orbit satellite broadband is offered as a viable service at prices affordable for most people.

Add to this efforts to encourage remote communities to take advantage of this technology as a way of being able to stay competitive with the rest of the world. This could be through education programs along with last-mile setups for villages especially where a household may not be able to afford or be able to install the satellite dish for these services.

Who knows how the low-earth-orbit satellite Internet will impact rural and remote Internet service over the next years as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezon establish their satellite Internet services.

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OneWeb to team up with BT to offer satellite broadband in the UK


Aylesbury Vale countryside picture courtesy of Adam Bell (FlyingDodo)

OneWeb to partner with BT to bring LEO satellite broadband to the countryside

OneWeb signs up BT for rural connectivity | (

My Comments

OneWeb is to partner with BT in order to offer satellite broadband Internet to rural areas within the UK. This is more so in areas within the British Isles which have geographic conditions where the provision of fixed-line Internet service or fixed-wireless Internet service that implements a wireline backhaul would be a difficult and expensive task.

This is part of the UK’s economic clawback effort being undertaken to get the country on its own feet after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

BT is also wanting to use OneWeb as part of providing resilience and backhaul functionality for mobile telephony as well as seeing OneWeb as a backhaul for fixed-wireless services. Here, I would see this as part of getting more of the UK’s difficult-to-connect rural areas with up-to-date communications technology.

The question here is how BT will offer this infrastructure to Britons, whether as an Openreach wholesale product for that retail telecommunications providers sell use to sell Internet service. Or whether BT will use the OneWeb partnership to offer a retail satellite broadband service to the rural community.

Another question that will crop up is whether the OneWeb / BT partnership will be also about offer offering “mobile satellite broadband” service. That is about offering satellite broadband installations to vehicles, vessels and aircraft to use anywhere within the UK.

But being in a position to have someone who can offer OneWeb satellite broadband Internet at a retail level can open the path for competition in the low-earth-orbit satellite broadband Internet space. This could be about offering cost-effective decent Internet service to rural areas within the UK at least.

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German government subsidises Starlink satellite Internet


Starlink satellite launch photo courtesy of SpaceX

German government to subsidise satellite Internet installations for Starlink and similar setups at the consumer end

Germany to subsidise Starlink subs | (

Germany readies subsidies for satellite internet providers such as Starlink | Reuters

My Comments

The rise of low-earth-orbit satellite technology to enable decent Internet service for regional, rural and remote parts of the world has gained a bit more traction.

This time, it is the German Federal Government (Bundesregierung) with its Transport ministry who are subsidising Starlink installations across rural Germany. The US’s FCC has engaged in some form of subsidisation for Starlink but this is at a corporate level as part of their US-government-based program for enabling decent rural Internet service there.

The German approach is to provide EUR€500 towards Starlink hardware purchase for installation in Germany’s rural areas. This doesn’t just apply to Starlink but to any satellite or other radio-link-based Internet service provided on a retail level. It is intended to be consumer-focused and provider-agnostic in the same manner as what is expected for the provision of broadcasting and telecommunications in modern Germany.

It doesn’t apply to ongoing service costs that customers pay to keep the service alive. In the case of Starlink, the monthly service costs are EUR€99 / month at the time of writing.

German countryside - By Manfred&Barbara Aulbach (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

.. to improve access to real broadband in German rural areas

This was just announced as Tesla were about to commence work on building its European Gigafactory near Berlin and was riding on the fact that Tesla and SpaceX Starlink are owned by Elon Musk. The Bundesregierung need to seek approval from all of Germany’s 16 Federal States for this retail-level subsidy to go ahead.

The question that will come up is  whether public subsidies for satellite or other radio-based Internet service is the way to go to bring decent broadband Internet to rural areas. This is compared to current efforts by local or regional governments in cohort with local chambers of commerce to bring fibre-optic Internet to rural and regional areas.

There will also be the issue of whether to extend this kind of subsidy to people living in boats along Germany’s inland waterways. Think of retirees who have riverboats on the Rhine, Elbe or Wupper rivers or cabin cruisers on the likes of Lake Constance (Bodensee).

Personally, I would see Starlink and similar technology come in to play for sparse rural areas while fibre or similar deployments are considered for more dense settlements. The long fibre-optic trunk link between towns or to serve a remote employment / industry area should never be forgotten as a way to encourage economic growth along its path.

At least Germany is taking another approach to dealing with the rural Internet deficiency issue by subsidising the installation of Starlink and similar technology in its rural households.

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Project Kuiper about to compete with Starlink


Starlink satellite launch photo courtesy of SpaceX

Amazon’s Kuiper low-earth-orbit satellite service could compete with Starlink very soon

Bezos vs Musk: Let battle commence | (

Musk Vs. Bezos: The Battle Continues – SatNews

Previous Coverage about low-earth-orbit satellite Internet

Low Earth Orbit satellites to improve rural broadband opportunities

My Comments

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has on the 21 April 2021 made his Project Kuiper low-earth-orbit satellite effort ready to launch. This, like OneWeb, will be in competition to the SpaceX Starlink low-earth-orbit satellite effort driven by Elon Musk of Tesla fame.

This will be about providing affordable reliable credible satellite broadband Internet service primarily to rural and regional areas.

Initially the satellites will be launched using Atlas V rockets owned by the United Launch Alliance that is established by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. But Amazon are wanting to work with other space-tech consortia like Arianespace, Bezos’s own Blue Origin company or Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

The Kuiper constellation consists of 3236 satellites that work at an orbit of 590-630 km. The customer’s installation for the Kuiper setup will be based around a 12” flat-dish antenna, something equivalent to the size of an LP vinyl record. It will be about making such equipment affordable and portable for most users.

But Musk’s Starlink service has a head start with coverage of the Earth, Earth-station installations and service licensing in a significant number of countries. As well Starlink even has got going with seeking regulatory approval for mobile equipment intended to be installed in road and rail vehicles, maritime vessels and aircraft.

But to achieve the desireable amount of competition for the satellite Internet service, there will be a significant number of hurdles. There will be the launch frequency issue i.e. how frequently Jeff Bezos can get satellites in to space to cover the Earth. There is also the issue of establishing ground stations and licensing end-user device designs and legitimately providing service in many jurisdictions. It also includes the design and licensing of mobile stations for installation on vehicles, vessels and aircraft to allow use of Kuiper on the move.

Both the tech visionaries are in a bitter fight to the end with the FCC regarding licensing of satellites and similar technology. But when in full flight, expect competitive service and low prices for broadband at your bush block.

I do still see a significant number of questions come about regarding low-earth-orbit satellite broadband in its current form. Firstly, there needs to be a wide variety of customer equipment that suits different use cases, such as satellite modems that work with broadband routers that have Ethernet WAN connections,

There will have to be the issue of assuring the legitimacy of satellite-broadband service within peri-urban rural areas. These are the rural areas that form the hinterland of a city or large town and some of these areas do not have access to broadband service of a decent standard due to the settlements being relatively sparse. Here, if there is a requirement to assure “rural-only” service for a satellite-broadband service, the peri-urban areas could be deemed legitimate based on the absence of wired or terrestrial wireless broadband service providing a minimum bandwidth.

Similarly there will be the issue of facilitating mobile and portable satellite broadband services whether to serve campers or to serve airlines offering inflight Wi-Fi. For countries with international land borders or airlines and ships that offer international transport, it will encompass providing mobile satellite broadband on an international form.

But what I see of the Starlink and Kuiper efforts is that they are about providing decent and affordable broadband service to rural and remote areas of the world. This year could effectively be the year of a race for this goal.

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Low Earth Orbit satellites to improve rural broadband opportunities

Starlink satellite launch photo courtesy of SpaceX

Starlink and similar satellites could give satellite broadband more credibility (Credit SpaceX)



Report: Satellite broadband market to triple | (

How Is Low Earth Orbit Changing Satellite Internet? – X2nSat

Elon Musk’s Starlink poised to shake up Australia’s broadband (

Low-Earth-Orbit satellite operators



My Comments

A consistent problem associated with bringing broadband Internet to rural and remote places is the cost and time involved in bringing these services there. But there have been various efforts by public and private sector entities to implement satellite broadband to serve this need.

Most of these have distinct disadvantages such as the equipment and service being very costly and a lot of these services not offering great bandwidth and latency. Let’s not forget that the deployment of this technology isn’t all that scaleable.

The COVID-19 coronavirus plague has underscored how dependent we are on Internet connectivity for our business and social lives. The role of rural areas has even been underscored with these areas gaining increased appeal to live or do business within because of the pandemic. A recent Euroconsult report has stated that satellite broadband will gain its value over the next decade as a way to enable access to the Internet from remote areas.

The new low-earth-orbit satellites

Yorkshire Dales By Kreuzschnabel (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, GFDL ( or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

… allowing more rural and remote areas to gain real broadband

But a new form of satellite broadband is being pushed out at the moment. This is based on low-earth-orbit satellite technology which uses a very large constellation of satellites that are closer to Earth than traditional satellite technology. This improves on latency and on bandwidth available to the end users.

Silicon Valley visionaries like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have been behind this technology in order to have Internet all over the world, even in the remotest areas thereof.

But Elon Musk has got this idea off the ground with Starlink which is a subsidiary of his SpaceX venture. Most of his constellation of Starlink satellites are in orbit now while he has more being manufactured and set up for launch. The service is in beta testing for the USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Germany  at the time of writing but more areas are expected to be covered soon. They have also started establishing their presence in Australia.

Elon Musk’s service isn’t just for rural and remote areas at the moment. He is seeking FCC type approval for equipment that is to be installed on vehicles, ships and aircraft and to be operated while the vehicle, vessel or aircraft is moving. This is to court the provision of Internet service aboard the likes of commercial jets, the merchant navy and long-distance land transport. Who knows when Musk will then have consumer equipment designed to facilitate ad-hoc use of Starlink from caravans, motorhomes or remote camping locations.

Another service being pushed out at the moment is the OneWeb service that is pushed out by a UK and Indian consortium. Let’s not forget that Amazon is working on their Project Kuiper low-earth-orbit satellite service but they want to make sure everything is perfect before a single satellite is launched.

The idea of having many satellites is being made feasible with reuseable rockets like the Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket, which effectively reduces the cost of launching many spacecraft.

What I see of the low-earth-orbit satellite constellations is that they are intended to be viable competition in the satellite-broadband Internet service space. This could allow the idea of cost-effective high-throughput low-latency broadband to be made available to rural and remote areas or long-distance transport applications.

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UK passes law to allow gigabit broadband in large buildings


The UK is mandating that apartment-block landlords facilitate infrastructure wiring for next-gen broadband networks

New UK Law Passed to Spread Gigabit Broadband into Big Buildings – ISPreview UK

My Comments

A very common issue affecting multiple-premises buildings like apartment blocks, office blocks and shopping centres is the provision of wireline telecommunications infrastructure through these buildings to serve tenants or lot owners who want to benefit from services offered through the infrastructure. Here, there can be problems regarding the landlord or other powers-that-be who have oversight of the building accepting the installation of such infrastructure.

The United Kingdom are facing this problem with their large multi-premises buildings but in a particular way. There, most of these buildings are owned by a single landlord who leases out each premises i.e. an apartment or retail / office space to a tenant in exchange for monthly rent. But the landlords tend to gain a lot of “clout” when it comes to permitting infrastructure to be deployed through a building.

What has been happening with deployment of next-generation broadband infrastructure in these buildings is that some landlords are not responding to requests regarding this infrastructure existing in their buildings. This is compared to most landlords taking up the offer on next-generation broadband through their building due to this giving the building or the lettable space more marketable value.

It is seen as an aggravating issue as multiple regional broadband infrastructure providers are setting up shop in different villages, towns and cities across the country in order to provide cost-effective Gigabit internet service to its citizens.

A new law, the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021, has been enacted through the whole of the UK to answer this matter. This allows a telecommunications infrastructure network provider to deploy broadband infrastructure through a multiple-premises building or similar leasehold building.

It facilitates an improved tribunal-based dispute-resolution mechanism as well as an obligation on landlords to facilitate the deployment of digital infrastructure through their buildings. These actions come in to play when the landlord has repeatedly failed to respond to requests from an ISP to install a broadband connection that the tenant has requested.

A lot of the talk of this law was focusing on pure-play residential developments i.e. apartment blocks and towers. But there is effectively the idea to extend the scope of this law to cover commercial-focused developments like office blocks and shopping centres. I also see this encompassing mixed-use developments that have commercial and residential premises, as is increasingly the trend especially with apartment blocks having the ground floor or the first few floors having commercial or retail premises.

Of course, the questions that come up include who assumes responsibility for the installation and maintenance of any infrastructure between the communications room and the individual premises. It also includes whether that infrastructure belongs to the landlord or the network provider.

It will undergo periodic review and refinement processes as what a well-oiled legislative instrument should be doing. But I also see this benefiting network infrastructure operators who serve dense urban areas where many large apartment blocks and high-rise developments exist.

An issue that has to be looked at during this review cycle is situations where multiple network infrastructure providers approach a building’s landlord and seek to arrange connection. Here, it will be about whether unnecessary duplication of “communications-closet to premises” infrastructure should take place especially if such infrastructure is of the same medium like optical fibre, RF coaxial cable or Cat5 Ethernet. It is a situation that will come about as the Internet service becomes more competitive in the UK’s urban areas and multiple service providers will knock on a landlord’s door or tout tenants for their services.

Then there will be the question of whether a landlord must rent out roof space on their multiple-premises building for RF-based communications services like 5G small-cell base stations, digital-broadcasting infill repeaters or business-radio transmitters. This question will be distinct due to the building’s premises tenants not directly benefiting from the infrastructure and will encompass the installation of associated power and wireline backhaul infrastructure.

At least there are processes in place to make sure that large multiple-premises buildings in the UK will benefit from ultrafast broadband Internet services.

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