Is broadband’s bargain basement pricing to blame?

Posted on Oct 01 2014 by Steve Lalonde | Comments Off on Is broadband’s bargain basement pricing to blame?
Categories : 21CN, Digital Divide, Fibre, Network

The ‘superfast broadband’ rollout has regularly come under fire for its focus on utilising FTTC rather than FTTP/H to deliver superfast services to 100% of the UK population by 2017, but is the lack of FTTP coverage simply due to the ongoing rock bottom price war we are seeing across the broadband market?

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

While FTTC delivers superfast broadband speeds to its customers of up to 80Mbps, critics argue that this is not future-proof enough to accommodate our ever increasing demands and we should be aiming to implement FTTP which delivers speeds of up to 330Mbps. However, FTTP coverage is currently very limited and the initial target of delivering the service to 2.5 million premises was cut back in 2013, due to its expensive and more difficult installation.

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How important is a network anyway?

Posted on Sep 05 2013 by Steve Lalonde | Comments Off on How important is a network anyway?

A customer once said to me (in quite colourful terms actually) that he couldn’t care less who owns the network, what technology it uses, where it is or how much it had cost to build-out, as long as it works. To most customers – and thus by default most resellers – that is fundamentally all that matters.

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

I’ve heard similar views expressed plenty of times and it’s easy to sympathise with this standpoint. From the end customer’s perspective, all that matters is that the service ‘does what it says on the tin’, as it were; that it delivers what it’s supposed to deliver. But to the partner, the network can make a distinct and vitally important difference.

The first and perhaps the biggest differentiator the network can give resellers is flexibility. Most service providers offer their partners a range of services, but they’re almost always quite tightly defined in terms of the bandwidth, usage allowances, thresholds, SLAs and other features. This is because the actual network belongs to someone else. If you wanted to tailor connectivity to suit a particular set of requirements, it might be possible, but there would almost certainly be limitations and restrictions on what you could do.

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Will the threat of Fujitsu’s new network finally force BT into fairer duct access?

Posted on Apr 21 2011 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Will the threat of Fujitsu’s new network finally force BT into fairer duct access?
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Categories : 21CN, BT, Digital Divide

Last week news broke that Fujitsu has plans with TalkTalk and Virgin Media to implement its own fibre network in order to reach 5 million homes in rural areas and provide a competitive alternative to BT Openreach’s infrastructure.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

In a rather woolly press release, Fujitsu says its network will run fibre optic cables direct to the home, using Cisco hardware to deliver up to 1Gbps symmetrical speeds with an option to increase to 10Gbps and beyond at a later stage. It will also bypass the existing BT cabinets by using underground and overhead infrastructure, enabling the ISPs involved to reach areas where broadband provision is at its poorest.

As well as involving TalkTalk and Virgin Media, Fujitsu plans to offer the network to other interested ISPs on a wholesale basis, providing “truly open access to all ISPs offering the end customer unrivalled choice of services over a single physical connection.” Whether or not TalkTalk and Virgin Media will be granted a preferential deal is still to be determined, but it would seem likely considering their early involvement.

However, this entire plan is reliant on Ofcom successfully forcing BT Openreach to provide access to its ducts and telegraph poles on a “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” basis. This has been a controversial topic in its own right over recent years and has been the subject of ongoing industry debate.

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Is it the end of the line for leased lines?

Posted on Mar 08 2011 by Stephen Barclay | Comments Off on Is it the end of the line for leased lines?
Tags : , ,
Categories : 21CN, Business, Reselling

As the availability of ever faster broadband continues to increase thanks to technology advancement, we ask whether it signals the end of the line for leased line connectivity.

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

First it was ADSL2+ that brought us speeds of up to 24Mbps; then FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) was introduced to deliver up to 40Mbps; and now there are trials of FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) offering speeds of up to 100Mbps. Add extra service features such as Annex M on ADSL2+ for increased upload speed and Elevated Best Efforts (EBE) guaranteeing throughput over the BT network at the busiest times and you can see why it’s a relevant question.

For a business customer the latest broadband technologies available appear to have a lot to offer. For example, higher speed connections with an appropriate bandwidth allowance delivered over a provider’s network that has ample capacity can be good for businesses wanting to use them for VoIP, linking remote workers or accessing centrally hosted applications. As long as the service provider’s network is properly managed to minimise factors like latency, these customers can indeed use business focused broadband connections. We readily promote broadband for day-to-day business communication and have a lot of reseller partners with happy customers.

However, there are commercial and operational factors that can mean broadband doesn’t meet the mark. These generally depend on what business customers are trying to achieve, how critical the connections they’re using are to them and how important it is to ensure service continuity is guaranteed.

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Is the devil in the detail?

Posted on Dec 14 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Is the devil in the detail?

Last week the Department for Business Innovation and Skills published a 61 page plan titled “Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future” as part of its aim for the UK to have “the best broadband network in Europe by 2015”.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

For quite some time now we and others in the industry have discussed the Government’s plans for rolling out superfast broadband, often focusing on key aspects like the 2Mbps USC and using the BBC license fee to fund this, opening up the fibre ducts and reaching the most rural communities via the use of satellite and mobile services. When discussing these highly topical issues the industry has continuously called for more detail explaining exactly how these plans would be achieved and funded. And so we had high expectations of the new publication.

So what does the report reveal?

Having read the report our conclusion is ‘don’t hold your breath’. Don’t get me wrong, we think it’s laudable that the Government recognises the need to deliver a good level of access to communities that fall outside of the more densely populated areas that ‘the market’ first generally serves. It’s just that, well, we can’t help but feel its grand plan will become logistically constrained by complexity, regulatory debate and excessive demand. 

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What exactly is superfast broadband?

Posted on Nov 09 2010 by Guest | Comments Off on What exactly is superfast broadband?

The definition of ‘superfast broadband’ continues to cause confusion amongst the industry and more importantly customers  as ISPs lay claim to providing ‘superfast’ services and various government bodies appear to be muddying the waters rather than providing clarification. We asked Editor in Chief of ISPreview.co.uk, Mark Jackson, for his opinion on what exactly constitutes superfast broadband.

So what is superfast broadband?

To most people “broadband” simply means “Internet access”, or perhaps even “faster Internet access”, yet as a descriptive term it’s relatively useless. You can’t define a new technology simply by saying it and its presence in ISP package titles certainly won’t help to describe how fast your expected Internet connection should be.

There was a time when the term broadband became synonymous with “fast Internet access”, albeit spoken in comparison to ancient dialup (narrowband) connections. Similarly most attempts to define the term ultimately remain highly subjective to the time period in which they were first penned, yet crucially what was fast then is slow today.

However an inability to define something so common place as broadband could have serious repercussions for future generations of “super-fast” (Next Generation Access) services, which the government is currently trying to plug as a solution for the country’s aging telecoms infrastructure. After all, just what is “superfast”?

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USC survives spending review but who are we kidding?

Posted on Oct 22 2010 by Darren Farnden | 1 Comment

Earlier this week the much anticipated ‘spending review’ was unveiled and, as previously promised by Chancellor George Osbourne, the highly debated 2Mbps USC (Universal Service Commitment) remains unaffected. The 2Mbps USC was proposed by the previous Labour government initially to provide all UK households with a minimum 2Mbps Internet service by 2012. When the coalition government took power this deadline was extended to 2015 but there were fears that it may be compromised or even scrapped as part of the stringent spending cuts.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Whilst controversially only providing a minimum of 2Mbps, which many within the industry (including Entanet) have argued is far from fast enough to keep up with increasing demands and technological developments, at least it is a start for the ‘not spots’ of the UK. Therefore the industry was keen to see it protected. True to his word, Mr Osbourne appears to have done this. The USC will, as previously suspected, be funded by the remnants of the digital switchover fund and by the BBC license fee, and is forecasted to cost £530million over the next four years. It has also been confirmed that there will be no controversial broadband tax.

Whilst £530million may seem a lot there is ongoing concern that this forecast is wrong, with the previous Labour government expecting costs to reach £2-3billion.

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Poll: What would you use the new annex M service for?

Posted on Aug 10 2010 by Gemma Dickinson | Comments Off on Poll: What would you use the new annex M service for?
Tags : , , ,
Categories : 21CN, BT, Polls, Reselling

We recently launched our new Annex M service which provides users with an increased upload speed by trading some of their download speed. So far we have seen a high level of interest and we would like to know what you plan to use the new service for. Therefore we have added a new poll asking for your feedback.

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DEA: The debate continues…

Posted on Aug 05 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on DEA: The debate continues…

In April 2010 the controversial Digital Economy Bill (DEB) was passed through the parliamentary wash-up and hastily implemented into law, much to the annoyance of many ISPs, Internet users and industry bodies. Then in May we saw history made with a new coalition government taking power. We were initially hopeful that the new government would put right the wrongs of the rushed DEA (Digital Economy Act) but have since seen little in the way of progress. Yet despite this lack of government action, over the last three months the industry news has continued to provide a steady stream of DEA related updates. We take a look at what’s been going on and provide you with an update.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

To repeal or not to repeal?

It appears the proposed tackling of copyright infringement is still the main focus of unease within the DEA. At the end of June, Liberal Democrat MP, Julian Huppert, tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) to repeal sections 9 – 18, the sections that cover the issue of illegal copyright infringement. Unfortunately the EDM gained little support and appears to have dropped off the radar.

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Annex M –What’s it all about?

Posted on Jul 22 2010 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Annex M –What’s it all about?
Tags : , ,
Categories : 21CN, BT, Reselling

Early next month BT Wholesale is rolling out the latest of its next generation services – Annex M. It will be available on all ADSL2+ broadband connections and Entanet partners will be able to order the new feature from mid August. Therefore we thought it was about time we discussed the three important questions:  What is Annex M, what benefits does it provide to end users and how can our reseller partners make money from it?

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

So, what is it and what does it do?

Annex M is a new feature that is only available on ADSL2+ connections. It enables the broadband user to increase the upload speed of their connection by trading some of their download speed. It also guarantees an upstream throughput of 85% of the upstream sync rate between the hours of 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday, excluding UK public and bank holidays.

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