Tag: affordable Internt access

Legal right to 1Mbps broadband Internet in Finland

Finnish government promises fast broadband by 2015 | Helsinki Times (Finland)

Finland says that 1Mb broadband is a right, not a privilege | Engadget

Broadband a legal right from 2010 in Finland | ThinkBroadband

Applause For Finland: First Country To Make Broadband Access A Legal Right | TechCrunch

Le haut débit devient un droit fondamental en Finlande | DegroupNews (France – French language)

My comments on this step towards universal Internet access

Most countries who implement universal Internet access take it to a similar level to how electricity or telephone are provided to everyone. But Finland have done what would be typical of a progressive Scandinavian country with a tech economy. They have made this a legal right for Finnish inhabitants to have 1 Mbps broadband-grade “hot and cold running” Internet by July 2010 and the minimum to be raised 10Mbps to 2015.

This has put an impetus on the government to set up the necessary programs in an orderly manner rather than adopting a “Monte Carlo” approach to providing universal broadband Internet service. As well, Finland is setting themselves as an example to other states when it comes to providing universal broadband Internet and assuring its access by all citizens.

A lot of the blogosphere have made comments on this achievement by describing it as a right to download BitTorrents of movie and TV material but they don’t think of such concepts as triple-play or “over-the-top” video, improved telephony or the ability to run competitive business.

At least this is an example of a country being a “proving ground” for broadband Internet access being as much a protected right as running water.

Quatre ans de DegroupNews : et les FAI dans tout cela ? / Four Years of DegroupNews : and all the ISPs there – DegroupNews.com

 Quatre ans de DegroupNews : et les FAI dans tout cela ? – DegroupNews.com (French language article)

My Comments

Congratulations DegroupNews on 4 years of service as one of the better IT newsblogs that service France.

I have been a fan of this site and its companion DegroupTest site because of the good quality information that these sites give about the Internet-access scene in France. This includes information on the arrival of Fibre To The Home broadband service in various French cities as well as the service being used for a “people’s triple-play service” which provides receive-only VoIP telephony, basic-ADSL-tier Internet and IPTV service encompassing free-to-air digital TV for one euro a month.

For people who are considering moving to France or setting up or maintaining that dreamy farmhouse or apartment there as a holiday house, rental property or “bolt-hole"; this site offers good quality information on the triple-play “n-box” deals offered by the main operators as well as information about whether you can get a full triple-play Internet service at the location where your property is or will be. It has also made good-quality reviews of the hardware provided by the various Internet service providers as part of their deals so one can know what to expect when signing up.

Other issues that have been touched on in this site include the way the French have handled the perceived cancer demon associated with wireless services like mobile telephony and WiFi networks; as well as their handling of the file-sharing of copyrighted works. It is worth a read whether you have a good grip of the French language or can trust a machine-translation service like translate.google.com to translate the site in to your own.

thinkbroadband :: 2Meg broadband to become universal

thinkbroadband :: 2Meg broadband to become universal

My Comments about Britain’s universal broadband Internet step

Britain is taking a positive step in placing broadband Internet on the same standard as the telephone service – accessible for all no matter where they live.

I have always raised a particular issue regarding rural ADSL and wireless broadband in that the bandwidth needs to be measured from the customer’s doorstep rather than the base or a location closer to the base. This is because ADSL throughput is dependent on the length and condition of the telephone line to the customer’s door and wireless throughput is dependent on the quality of the signal received at the customer’s door.

Then any universal-service funding should be used to renovate telephone infrastructure that will impede ADSL throughput. This could include implementing DSLAMs installed in exchanges located in villages and hamlets, use of range-improvement ADSL codecs and identifying and working on any old and decaying telephone infrastructure.

Any inconsistencies in the way ADSL service is provisioned should be addressed. They typically can manifest in situations where some households, particularly those who have had their telephone lines renewed, may be able to receive ADSL whereas their neighbours may not be able to receive ADSL. This usually is caused by a street or block being serviced primarily by decaying telephone infrastructure.

Once these issues are looked at, then we can be trusting about broadband Internet as a universal service.

Watchdog exposes broadband speed rip-off – Times Online

Watchdog exposes broadband speed rip-off – Times Online

My comments

There hasn’t been a standard for defining the quality of service that one should expect from their residential or small-business broadband Internet service but this is one key issue I have talked about in the blog at its current location and its previous location. Typically this may concern those of us who want a service not of minimum bandwidth but of bandwidth that is considered reasonable by today’s standards.

Factors that may affect the broadband service quality typically will include the quality (and age) of the telephone infrastructure in an ADSL setup and the number of households sharing the same bandwidth in a cable-modem setup. Wireless installations like 3G tend to vary in quality because they are simply radio-based and can be subject to “distance from base” issues, material being between the base aerial and the customer’s modem; and simply interference.

What needs to happen is a defined minimum service standard for broadband Internet and operators being encouraged to achieve the standard at all service points. Often this is because there isn’t a universal service obligation for the Internet in that country as I have mentioned in a previous article. This issue may be more of concern with country areas or poorer communities where there is little desire to invest.

Universal Service Obligation and Broadband Internet – Further comments

ThinkBroadband article on European Commission plan to establish a broadband-Internet universal service obligation in the European Union.

My Comments

What should be the minimum qualifications for universal provision of a broadband Internet service?

There may have to be a minimum bandwidth for the “standard service”. This would then require the universal service provider to be able to provide that level of bandwidth to the customer’s door in all areas.
In the case of technologies like ADSL or wireless where the distance from the exchange or base station and the quality of the infrastructure or the terrain between the customer and the exchange / base station determines the bandwidth, the provider would have to take steps to achieve the minimum bandwidth at the customer’s door. This would require the ISP to undertake such works as renewal of telephone wiring or installation of repeater stations.
As far as the minimum standard of service is called, there would have to be a minimu bandwidth. Some people may reckon that 512kbps would be the standard bandwidth for basic use such as browsing “Web 2.0” sites and / or sending and receiving e-mail using POP3. Others may consider 1Mbps more realistic considering the current generation of Internet transport protocols. This would allow more bandwidth for the increasingly-common Internet practices like on-line multimedia, V2oIP (voice and video telephony over the Internet) and increased file transfer such as through use of “cloud-based” computing services.
Another factor that may need to be defined would be what kind of technology should be used to provide the service. This would determine whether the service should use ADSL2, FTTx and similar wireline connections to each door as a minimum standard or whether they can use wireless in sparse areas.
Similarly, there may be the issue of bandwidth-use allowances for the universal service and what happens if the user oversteps that allowance.
Another issue that will need to be worked out is content control mechanisms so that children don’t see unsuitable content on this service. Could this be provided with a “clean-feed” service or through a standard Internet-filter program installed in the Internet-gateway device or “end-user” computer. It also includes updating of content filter lists on a regular basis. 

Who should be the ISP who provides the “standard service” and is responsible for covering all areas?

It may be provided by the “universal service” telecommunications provider’s retail broadband-Internet arm, similar to Telstra’s BigPond service, British Telecom’s BT Broadband service or France Télécom’s Orange Internet service. On the other hand, it could be provided by an existing retail ISP who is awarded a “universal service provisioning” contract by the national government or a local ISP who works as part of a local “switched-on access” program. If true competitive access is required, then all retail ISPs would be required to provide the universal service.

What could be the public-access requirements?

The standard for universal-access Internet service will have to encompass “public-access” requirements which would be the equivalent of the “public payphone” in the universal-access telephony service definition. This could cover the requirement to provide Internet-access terminals in public libraries, hospitals, and similar public places; or providing “wireless hotspot” service in public areas like parks or town squares.

How should it be funded?

Because it will be more costly to provide the set minimum standard of Internet access at a specified price in some areas such as the country, there would be the issue of covering the losses associated with providing this kind of service.
Typically, this could be through the ISP charging more for its discretionary services such as high-bandwidth plans, mailbox services or Web hosting. This may be the model practised by retail broadband arms of universal-service telecommunications companies. It may also encompass the ISP selling content services such as music and movie download services to its customers and to the general public.
On the other hand, there may be a “universal service fund” that may be established by the government. The money could be raised through dedicated taxes such as a “universal service levy” on discretionary services; redirection of a portion of any sales tax or consumption tax associated with Internet-access costs or simply through line spending by the government.
Sometimes, the universal Internet service could be integrated in to the mechanisms that exist for providing the universal telephone service, such as using existing universal-service funds or taxes.
Whatever way, such universal-service obligations shouldn’t hamper the competitive Internet-access market and the advantages that it brings like low access prices or good-quality service.

Concerns

One main concern would be how universal-service operators could marginalise areas of less economic importance. This could manifest in deploying infrastructure capable of providing just the basic Internet service into those areas or being slow about provisioning or maintaining Internet service in those areas. This situation can lead to long-term customer dissatisfaction with the service and therefore lead to customers deserting the universal-service ISP when competition appears in their area.
This situation has repeated itself many times with incumbent telecommunications providers who provided the universal telephone service, whether they are private companies or government-run operations.
There needs to be a minimum service-level standard established as part of the universal-service obligation for the Internet. It would have to cover such issues as response to customer issues like service faults and difficulties; and the time taken to provision new services to the customer.

To sum up

If the concept of universal Internet access is to work successfully, a lot of questions will need to be asked so as to avoid problems with provisioning this level of service.

"Triple Play Social" now in full deployment in Paris

News Links (French-language sites)

http://www.degroupnews.com/actualite/n3071-hlm-paris-sfr-fibre_optique-haut_debit.html DegroupNews (France)

My commets

Since my earlier article wbich I had moved from my older blog, SFR had taken over Neuf Cegetel. But this universal-acces “single-pipe triple-play” service has continued on and the trucks are now rolling a the HLM estates as this is being written.

Because of the high-throughput technology, companies like SFR are able to provide this kind of acess to the people.  As I mentioned earlier, it is underpinned by the European business culture which is primarily “for the people” rather than for the executives of the big companes which is the primary business culture in the USA.

"Triple Play Social" in Paris – an example for providing a universal bare-bones "triple-play" service

News Links (French-language news sites)

http://www.pcinpact.com/actu/news/41764-neuf-cegetel-opac-triple-play-social.htm PC Impact

http://www.vnunet.fr/news/neuf_cegetel_introduit_sa_fibre_optique_dans_les_hlm_de_paris-2026564 VNUNet 

My comments

)In February 2008, Neuf Cegetel (a French telecommunications provider) along with Office HLM de Paris (the public housing authority in Paris, similar to the Ministry of Housing in Victoria, Australia) have established a universal-access “single-pipe triple-play” service for deployment in areas of Paris that have fibre-optic telecommunications.

This service, which is offered for EUR1 / month tax-exclusive has the provision of:

  • 18 channels of regular “free-to-air” digital television programming including high-definition broadcasts provided by the “free-to-air” broadcasters
  • 512kbps broadband which is effectively the same standard as most mid-tier ADSL plans currently available in Australia and;
  •  a landline telephony service of similar standard to Telstra’s InContact service — can receive incoming calls but cannot make outgoing calls except to emergency and special numbers

delivered over the fibre-optic pipe.

Comments on this service in relevance to the Australian market

From what I see, the 512kbps ADSL service is being considered the bare minimum standard of Internet access in Europe where people in Australia have to call this standard of service a luxury and have to consider 256kbps “fraud-band” Internet service as the “way in” when thinking of broadband. Often this has meant that sole parents and others on very limited income are having to stick to this speed if they want to think of broadband at all; or just simply work with a dial-up Internet connection.

As well, Australian pay-TV providers don’t offer a “FTA-only” deal where you only receive the free-to-air digital TV channels. This may be because of the prevalence of cheap standard-definition DVB-T boxes flooding the market and the DTV service comprising primarily of the FTA channels receivable on regular TV and a handful of supplementary channels that are “spin-offs” of the regular broadcast output. The only areas where such a service may take hold would be customers who live in areas with marginal TV reception and / or customers who rent premises where there is an underperforming TV aerial or simply no TV aerial and may find it hard to get proper digital TV reception.

The kind of landline telephony service that is offered may appeal not just to people on a low income but to share houses where a common telephone may be required just for receiving calls and “emergency fallback”. Typically, the tenants would then maintain prepaid mobile phones for their outgoing calls and for receiving personal calls.

This kind of service provisioning may catch on in Continental Europe where most of the culture is centred around being “for the people” but won’t easily be accepted in cultures like the USA where corporate profits are more important than the needs of the people.