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?
Tags : , ,
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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