Tag: multi-unit developments

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.

Fiber Corp to offer competition to the NBN in Sydney


Yarra's Edge apartment blocks

A new provider starts to offer competitive Internet service to the apartment-block market

Fiber Corp looks to fill NBN gap | The Australian Business Review

​Fiber Corp rolling out NBN alternative | CIO

NBN rival Fiber Corp to offer alternative CVC model | Optical Solutions

Fibre optics firm plans to offer 10Gbps speeds | ITWire

From the horse’s mouth

Fiber Corp

Home Page

My Comments

Sydney Harbour Bridge

… this time up in Sydney

A highly-politicised National Broadband Network deployment in Australia, which has led to the slow rollout of its services across most of Australia’s urban areas has brought on the arrival of infrastructure-level competition.

This is where independent companies are rolling out fibre-optic or other infrastructure to deliver next-generation broadband Internet service to various neighbourhoods. It has been facilitated by recent liberalisation of the market where multiple retail-level ISPs can buy access to these networks. A similar situation has occurred in the United Kingdom to open up next-generation broadband in to various urban and rural areas thanks to independent operators laying down their infrastructure independent of BT Openreach – the UK’s British-Telecom-controlled equvalent of the National Broadband Network.

One of these that has started taking action is DGTek who had started to run their own fibre-optic infrastructure around Elwood and some of Melbourne’s inner-south-east bayside suburbs, while another of these is TPG who have installed their own infrastructure in a number of apartment complexes across Australia, putting the wind up NBN to cover those locations.

Fiber Corp, a Sydney-based fibre-optic infrastructure company backed by veteran food-industry business and turf identity Nicholas Moraitis who owned the 1997 Melbourne Cup winner “Might And Power”, has started to offer their own competing infrastructure to multiple-occupancy building developments in central Sydney and Mascot. Their infrastructure is based on fibre-to-the-premises implementing Gigabit PON and NG-PON technology capable of offering up to 10Gbps but is being deployed with a similar business attitude to TPG’s infrastructure efforts. Here it is about the “best bang for the buck” where you are thinking about a high-quality service at an affordable price.

It will take advantage of the recent liberalisation of the infrastructure market that allows multiple retail ISPs to compete on the same physical infrastructure, but will be architected to allow small-time and startup operators on to the infrastructure at a cheap price.

Although Fiber Corp is focusing on the larger multi-occupant developments, they have had attracted interest from some of the local councils who are frustrated with the rollout delays associated with the NBN service.

Joel Clarke, Fiber Corp’s CIO, is pushing for a better “NBN levy” scheme for financing rural broadband rollouts. Here, he wants to see that all of the compliant and participating infrastructure providers are seen as part of a larger logical NBN rather than just the infrastructure provided by NBN Co.  It will also require NBN Co to be aggregated to offset all additional costs to wholesalers, retail ISPs and consumers. Otherwise, this levy will simply be seen as a tax upon competing infrastructure providers, making it harder for them to do business.

It also includes the requirement to allow any retail ISP to connect to any infrastructure and offer their service to every customer endpoint. This would allow for customers to benefit from a wider choice of Internet service providers and permit the existence of boutique service providers on the infrastructure.

TPG poised to be Australia’s Hyperoptic


TPG to offer fibre-to-the-basement Internet to these kind of apartment blocks

TPG to offer fibre-to-the-basement Internet to these kind of apartment blocks

TPG Is Still Building Its Own Competitor To The NBN | Gizmodo Australia

My Comments

As some of you may know from a few previous posts, Hyperoptic is an Internet service provider who runs their own fibre-optic infrastructure and services apartment and office buildings and similar developments in an increasing number of UK cities with next-generation broadband. They are standing as viable competition against BT Openreach who are effectively owned by British Telecom and offering increased value by deploying FTTP installations in to these buildings whereas the Openreach setup will be based around fibre-copper setups, either FTTC (fibre to the street cabinet) or FTTB (fibre to the basement) setups with VDSL2 to the customer’s premises.

As well, they even offered customers the option to sign up for this service “by the month” rather than a 12-month or longer contract. This was pitched at people who are on short-term work placements or are living “month-by-month” and may not rent the same apartment for a year or more.

In Australia, iiNet recently started to offer a competitive fibre-to-the-building Internet service for apartment blocks and similar developments to answer the National Broadband Network efforts concerning next-generation broadband and this effort has continued since TPG took over iiNet. Like Hyperoptic’s effort in the UK market, this is based on fibre-optic infrastructure that they own rather than the National Broadband Network who are working in a similar manner to BT’s Openreach, thus allowing them to charge cheaper prices for their Internet service and offer better value.

They are different from Hyperoptic because they implement fibre-to-the-building technology where there is copper cabling between the basement and the customer’s apartment, office or shop. But TPG could be in a position to offer fibre-to-the-premises for these users if they so wished to.

A question that will be raised in conjunction with these competitive deployments is whether NBN and competing next-generation-broadband infrastructure can coexist with each other in the same neigbbourhood or building; including whether a retail operator can sell their service on one or more different infrastructures . This could open up infrastructure-level competition for Australian users who live or run businesses in these developments. Similarly, it could be about lighting up “Gigaclear-style” fibre-optic rollouts to rural, regional and peri-urban areas using infrastructure not under the control of NBN.

Questions being raised by French carriers about promoting FTTB fibre service

Article – French language / Langue Française)

Is the fibre-optic Internet service to the building or to the apartments?

Is the fibre-optic Internet service to the building or to the apartments?

“Vraie” fibre contre “fausse” fibre : le gouvernement veut clarifier les choses |ZDNet.fr

“Real” fibre versus “fake” fibre : Government wants to set things right

My Comments

An issue that will surface with deploying fibre-based next-generation Internet service to apartment and office blocks and shopping centres is how should the Internet service be properly qualified as far as the consumers are concerned.

In France, where a lot of households are based in apartments, there is a fair bit of bickering about whether a service provider had installed a fibre-to-the-premises or a fibre-to-the-building deployment.  This is especially where service providers are wanting to run that their fibre installation is “real” fibre rather than “false” fibre as part of one-upping themselves against the competition.

In a multi-occupancy development, a fibre-to-the-premises deployment has fibre-optic cabling going to each apartment, shop, office or other premises. This is compared to a fibre-to-the-basement development, also known as a fibre-to-the-building development where the fibre-optic cabling goes to the building’s telecoms closet and a copper-based cabling solution is used to bring the Internet service to each apartment or shop. The copper-based cabling solution could implement VDSL2 which uses the building’s existing telephone cabling, DOCSIS 3.1 which uses the coaxial cabling that is part of cable-TV infrastructure or Gigabit Ethernet with new Cat5 or Cat6 twisted-pair “blue” cabling.

Most consumer-driven deployments would focus on the fact that households primarily download stuff and would focus on the download speed. But there are users who place value on upload speed which is one of the advantages offered by fibre-to-the-premises. These would include people who frequently work from home or run a home-based business, along with the shops, offices and like premises used for business purposes. They would place importance on uploading so as to facilitate cloud computing, telecommunications, onilne-storage and similar business services. Similarly, the concept of a future-proof next-generation Internet deployment would be considered important as peoples’ needs evolve.

An all-fibre deployment along with a fibre-copper deployment that uses Cat5 or Cat6 Gigabit Ethernet cabling for its copper component would offer the synchronous download-upload capabilities and high speeds that business users would want.

But there needs to be a standard for qualifying whether a service provider or infrastructure provider  has wired that multi-occupancy building with a fibre-to-the-premises setup or a fibre-to-the-building setup. This would include what kind of technology the copper component was based on in the latter service type and whether it is feasible to upgrade to an all-fibre installation along with extra approximate costs.

As well, there would need to be requirements concerning the kind of marketing spiel that service providers or infrastructure providers deliver to those with executive authority over the buildings and the marketing spiel delivered to potential customers who occupy these buildings.

At least the French are fleshing out this issue so that there are proper requirements regarding the marketing of next-generation broadband to apartment dwellers and shopping-centre tenants.

What can be done for those “resort” apartment lots that provide Internet access

Sony CMT-MX750Ni Internet-enabled micro music system

Sony CMT-MX750Ni – an Internet-enabled music system that couldn’t benefit from a resort apartment’s complementary Internet access

Shortly after I reviewed the Sony CMT-MX750Ni Internet-enabled micro music system, I engaged in an online conversation with someone who bought one of these music systems for use in their apartment. This person’s apartment is part of a European “resort” development that provided Wi-Fi wireless Internet and they had to log in using a Web interface every time they wanted to gain access to the Internet.

Here, the user had to forfeit the network and Internet features that this system offered and gain access to Internet radio using their iPhone docked in the system’s dock and running TuneIn Radio. This is because, like most Internet-enabled consumer AV, the Sony music system wouldn’t support the Web-based login that the Wi-Fi service at the “resort” development needed. Similarly, a person may have to connect a regular computer’s sound output to a music system like this and run a Web app to listen to Internet radio on that system.

One of those apartment blocks that could implement shared Internet access for the residents

One of those apartment blocks that could implement shared Internet access for the residents

This conversation had shown up a reality concerning network-enabled consumer AV equipment when used in “resort” developments, apartment blocks, retirement villages and similar locations which require this kind of Web-based login. Typically these places may offer the Internet access as a complementary service for their residents, tenants, apartment owners or guests, and have this as a headline feature for that development. It is also an increasingly-common situation as people “downsize” and move towards smaller accommodation or as long-term project-based work out of town becomes more attractive.

Here, these guest-access or resident-access Internet services are architected as if the devices that would use the services are regular desktop / laptop computers or mobile smartphone / tablet computing devices. None of the consumer-AV devices would incorporate a Web browser or implement it as part of a login sequence, because they typically exist behind a router or other Internet gateway device.

This same situation also inhibits use of the local network for applications like media sharing, network printing and network gaming. This is because most protocols like DLNA, AirPlay and AirPrint work properly when the devices are all on a single subnet (logical network).

Personally I would like to see hotels, “resort” apartment developments and similar developments; and the companies who provide Internet service for resident / tenant / guest use at these locations tackle this issue. The reason I encompass hotels and serviced apartments which typically offer short-stay accommodation in this article is because a lot of them end up letting their rooms on a long-term basis for project-based workers and similar users.

HP Photosmart 7510 multifunction inkjet printer

You may have to hook this up to your computer via USB when you use it in some apartments

One way would be for each room or apartment to have its own Internet gateway device and Internet service in a similar manner to how Internet service is set up for the typical household or small business, As well, a separate Internet service feeds wireless access points that cover common areas like the swimming pool for the public Wi-Fi access. This one would have the Web-fronted access or Wi-Fi PassPoint authentication mechanism with the user supplying parameters that relate to their room or unit.

Here, the Wi-Fi segment served by these Internet gateway devices could be just enough to cover the room, suite or apartment. As well, the SSID for each room could represent the property name and room number and the Wi-Fi segment is protected with WPA2-AES security with a passphrase that is particular to each private space and each stay (in the case of a hotel or short-stay serviced apartment).

The authentication for this Wi-Fi segment that encompasses this private space would be required to support WPS-PBC push-button authentication as well as a passphrase that is written on a sticker attached to the gateway device, shown up on a TV screen in the case of hotels or given out on a plastic card for devices that don’t implement WPS-PBC setup like every Apple device.  As well, there would be Ethernet connections for wired-connection devices like desktop computers or consumer AV devices.

This kind of setup can then allow the residents to install and use network-capable equipment like consumer AV equipment or network printers in the rooms or apartments and behind the Internet gateway devices. But they would be able to use the equipment with their computer or other equipment if all the equipment is connected to the Wi-Fi segment or Ethernet connections served by the room’s / apartment’s Internet gateway device.

All of this management would be performed using software and hardware that implements the TR-069 protocol used by the broadband-Internet industry to manage customer-premises equipment from the wide-area network.

The question that is often raised about these setups is how one can create custom super-networks that encompass multiple rooms / apartments or permit users to gain access to data held within their own spaces from the public space. It also involves having people with limited computer skills creating these custom super-networks as part of booking guests in to short-term accommodation such as the archetypal business hotel.

A way to go about this would be to provide support for creating these super-networks using management software that uses a simplified user interface. In some cases, the network management functionality could work in conjunction with property-management systems so as to reduce the steps required for setting up these super-networks.

Other questions that may also be raised would include implementing VLAN, VPN or similar private-network technology between residents’ networks and public-area wireless access points. Here this may be about catering for network-enabled vehicles kept in the parking area linking to home networks in associated apartments through residents bringing in DLNA-capable AV to communal areas for functions, to smartphones used by residents in public areas linking back to network in the resident’s apartment.

At least this is a reality that needs to be tackled by the Internet-service industry when they provide “inclusive” Internet service to the multiple-tenant developments.

Action taking place to make it easier for strata-based buildings to connect to NBN


NBN Co, strata tie-up to ease fibre into unit blocks – Telco/ISP – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au

From the horse’s mouth

Strata Community Australia

Registration Page (work in progress, check back regularly)

My Comments

Apartment block

A typical strata-titled apartment block

There is action taking place to make it easier for strata-based multi-dwelling buildings to connect to the National Broadband Network. Primarily this is where each unit (flat, home unit, office suite, shop, etc) is owned by an individual who either occupies it or leases it out, but the building is ran by a “body corporate” or “owners’ committee”.

At the moment, where there is National Broadband Network constactivity in your area, someone representing the “body corporate” has to register the multi-unit development with the NBN in order to have it prepared for this technology.

There isn’t the opportunity for a “body corporate” to register their development ahead of time in order to have the arrangement in place. If this existed, it could allow the “body corporate” to plan well ahead for equipping their building with NBN fibre-optic cabling.

Why show interest in setting up that building for NBN?

Whether you are a resident of an apartment in one of these buildings or are a member of a body corporate / owners’ committee for that strata-title development, you may have doubts about the relevance of the National Broadband Network to your building.

The National Broadband Network is relevant to the online lives of those of us who live or work in these buildings. This fibre-optic next-generation network provides a data bandwidth that is higher than what we normally have for an ADSL-based or cable-modem-based broadband service.

This can underscore the ability for most of us to work from home or have a real business-grade broadband service which can do more at our office suite or shop. As well, the broadband Internet service is becoming the sole path for communications and entertainment data with such things as VoIP (including Skype), IPTV (including video-on-demand / catch-up TV) and Internet radio / music-streaming services.

What happens after you register the building?

When the NBN start working in your building’s area

The legal owner or strata manager for the building will receive contact from NBN to verify the registration for this work.

After this is done, the residents or occupants will receive a mail drop in their letterboxes regarding the NBN work.

One strata manager, the Strata Management Group recommend that a body-corporate should convene a special meeting about the NBN when they receive this initial contact. This can make the whole of the body corporate aware of what is going on and how it concerns the building. This can include issues like awareness of ducting and conduits that are already used to channel telephone and other low-voltage cabling, wiring closets or equipment rooms where the NBN equipment can exist and where the service demarcation points for the apartments should be. This is also the time to identify the body-corporate representative who will liaise with the NBN through the installation phase.

As well, I would suggest that you look through articles and videos published on the Internet from Europe and other countries where fibre-optic broadband deployments have taken place to see how apartment blocks and similar buildings have been wired up for this new technology.

Installation Phase

There will be further contact with the body-corporate representative with a letter that outlines the inspection and installation activities

These will encompass the drafting of the layout for the fibre-optic wiring with an initial survey of the building. Here, they should look for any plenums or ducts that are being used to run telephony, TV-aerial, cable-TV or similar wiring and, if possible make use of these spaces.

Then the NBN crew will pull the fibre from the street to a connection box outside each unit / apartment. Here, you may have to have the occupants aware of the technicians working through the building especially in relation to safety. This is more so with elderly people or parents with young children. As well, it is also worth identifying whether the technicians need to be in any apartments while pulling through common fibre-optic cabling. This issue may be of concern with access to the apartment as well as assuring the occupants of their privacy.

Connection phase

In this phase, the NBN service will be switched on from the street in to the common wiring infrastructure. The residents or occupants will receive in their letterboxes a mail drop about the availability of National Broadband Network service in their building, with advice to contact their preferred service provider to sign up for service.

When the resident orders the next-generation broadband service, NBN will send technicians to wire up service within the apartment / unit and install the ONT (fibre-optic modem).

At this time, I would recommend that the “body corporate” supplies further information to the residents or occupants about what the NBN next-generation broadband is about as part of the regular newsletter or magazine.

This includes awareness that the ADSL modem-router or cable-modem-router won’t be of use anymore unless it has Ethernet broadband connectivity. Here, the residents or occupants connect to Internet using a broadband router that has Ethernet WAN/Internet connection with this connection plugged in to the optical network terminal provided as part of the NBN install.


This article will make you, whether as an occupant of a flat or a member of a body-corporate, aware about having that multi-unit development set up for the next-generation broadband Internet service that is the NBN.

Competitive FTTH fibre-optic deployment in multi-unit developments

ARCEP white paper for people in multi-unit developments (French language)

ARCEP had established a regulation where if a telecommunications operator provides fibre-optic infrastructure in a multi-unit building, this infrastructure must be available to competing operators. This means that each unit owner / tenant must be able to choose whoever provides their super-fast broadband service and avoids the building owner or body corporate determining who provides that service to that building through exclusive “cosy” deals.

Two different methods


Each operator runs their fibre-optic infrastructure to a wiring closet where there is a fibre-optic switch that is programmed to run the operator’s service to the customers in that building. Each unit has one fibre-optic connection to that fibre-optic switch.

The service routing would be based on a VLAN or similar setup affecting the main fibre-optic infrastructure in the building. Operators would then have to make sure that the fibre-optic switch is programmed to pass service from their customers’ units to their street-based backbone.

The main advantage of this setup is that there is only one fibre-optic cable needed to be laid to each unit, thus allowing for reduced costs and infrastructure complexity. On the other hand, each operator will have to have access to the fibre-optic switch to make sure they can manage their services.


Each operator has their own fibre-optic infrastructure to each of the units, where there is a multi-entry socket for the customer-premises equipment. If a customer wants a particular service, the provider then visits the customer’s unit and connects the fibre for their service to the socket.

If a site can allow two or more optical-network sockets, two or more operators could be terminated in a socket for each of the operators. This may appeal to “geeks” or business customers who want to establish multi-WAN setups for reasons like bandwidth aggregation, load-balancing or fault-tolerance.

The main advantage for operators is that they have control and responsibility of their infrastructure to the customer’s unit, but each service change may require a field visit from the operator’s service staff. Similarly, there would be the issue of complicated infrastructure runs existing in the building, which may affect further infrastructure deployment.

Opportunities and Questions

A major opportunity that may exist for operators who are running optical fibre through a multi-unit building would be to use the cable as a wireline backbone for a cellular base station installed on the roof. This may be relevant to buildings with nine or more storeys and / or operators that run their own mobile telephone or wireless broadband service.

A primary question that may need to be answered is that if a group of broadband service providers share the same infrastructure run, usually as a cost-saving measure or easier entry point for new operators, would they have to create new fibre-optic runs to each unit in a multi-fibre setup or could they continue to share the same infrastructure to the unit’s door.

Another main question concerning the provision of IP-based infrastructure like the fibre-optic infrastructure in multi-unit buildings is how to cater for “all-unit” Internet services. This could range from a Web site with information for all of the units through unit-occupier access to vision from IP-based video-surveillance systems to multi-SSID Wi-Fi access points in common areas with each SSID linking to the home network in each unit. Issues that may have to be answered include VLAN establishment and / or use of anciliary DNS servers that cover only the services that are provisioned in the building and these setups may end up appearing to be complex to anybody that doesn’t have much computing experience.


What is happening with the fibre-optic next-gen broadband services in France, where there is likely to be lively competition, is worth observing, especially for all classes of multi-unit developments, whether all units exist in one building or in many buildings on one piece of land.

The white papers and other material on this topic at the ARCEP web site may then be worth reading by other communications regulators, building authorities, ISPs, building / development owners and management committees.