30 Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) – Achievable or over ambitious?

Posted on Mar 21 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on 30 Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) – Achievable or over ambitious?

Last month we learned that the seemingly ever-changing Digital Economy Bill has been subjected to yet another last minute amendment. This time, following its debate in the House of Lords, Lord Mendelsohn successfully proposed increasing the existing 10Mbps USO to 30Mbps – with 6Mbps upload – by 2020. But is delivering 30Mbps by that date realistically possible and is it a necessary requirement, or over-ambitious overkill?

The initial plan was for the current BDUK programme to hit its expected 97% coverage by 2020 and then the 10Mbps USO would ensure the same minimum level of connectivity for the remaining 3%. Whilst specific methods and technologies have not yet been confirmed by Ofcom, achieving the existing 10Mbps USO is widely accepted as realistically possible via a variety of technologies that are expected to be delivered predominantly by BT, albeit with other providers in the mix. However, delivering a minimum service of 30 Mbps to 100% of the UK is a whole new ball game!

Whilst we welcome the desire to increase speeds for consumers and encourage network investment across the industry, we believe this should be achieved through technological developments, not Government-imposed demands.

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Will rural customers be left out in the cold again?

Posted on Jan 31 2017 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Will rural customers be left out in the cold again?

Just when we thought things were looking up for rural customers suffering from low speeds and poor service with the Government’s 10Mbps USO plans, it looks like a spanner has been thrown into the works by Sky Broadband’s new advertising approach.

It was recently reported by ISPReview.co.uk that Sky Broadband has changed their Internet access packages and will no longer sell broadband (of any type) to customers unable to support a Minimum Access Line Speed (MALS) of 2Mbps.

Why? Well, this news follows recent changes to the providers’ advertising approach where they now promote average speeds as opposed to the more prevalent ‘up to’ speed approach used by the majority of the industry (including Sky previously).

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5 truths about the broadband rollout

Posted on Apr 05 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | 2 Comments

An attempt to get the hashtag ‘they don’t get that in the Rhondda’ to trend on Twitter helped to raise the profile of how rural communities are fast becoming the ‘have nots’ in many aspects of modern society. Contributions to the tag varied from takeaway pizza to taxi availability after dark to the lack of fibre optic broadband. While entertaining, the underlying message is serious and one that the communications industry has been debating for years – how to ensure connectivity parity between urban and rural communities.

The Superfast Broadband Programme – announced by Prime Minister David Cameron back in 2010 – aims to level the playing field by bringing fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connectivity to at least 95% of the UK by the end of the 2017. This spring has seen a flurry of press activity around Phase One completions (i.e. counties achieving their 90% coverage target) demonstrating that BT and BDUK are on target with the rollout, but consumers continue to feel duped and disappointed that the reality doesn’t match up to their expectations. And for this the Government needs to accept some responsibility.

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2015 – The year in review

Posted on Dec 15 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on 2015 – The year in review

It’s certainly been an eventful year within the industry, with plenty of innovations and new technologies and trends emerging, an abundance of regulatory changes both UK and EU based, industry process changes with things like the new switching process and channel unrest with a clear backlash against BT’s relationship with Openreach. We’ve tried to keep you up to date and informed about the key issues that affect you and your customers as part of this fascinating channel, as well as providing useful eBooks and sales advice along the way too.

If you missed any of the blog this year and would like a quick recap, why not download our ‘2015- A year of Opinion in review’ eBook and have a catch up over the holidays. Simply enter your email address into the form field below to receive your free copy. 

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Will the new 10Mbps USO solve the final 5% issue?

Posted on Nov 17 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Will the new 10Mbps USO solve the final 5% issue?

Following promises in the 2015 Budget back in March, the Government has finally confirmed plans to introduce a 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) for all broadband services across the UK by 2020. With the Government already under pressure to complete the superfast broadband rollout to the final 5% of the UK’s most hard to reach communities, we ask will this latest USO help to achieve that goal or cause further issues?

Commenting on the plans Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That’s right: we’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.”

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What’s better than superfast broadband? Why, ultrafast broadband of course!

Posted on Sep 24 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on What’s better than superfast broadband? Why, ultrafast broadband of course!
Categories : Broadband, BT, Digital Divide

BT’s Chief Executive Gavin Patterson has announced in laudable if vague terms “”We want to forge an ultrafast future for Britain and stand ready to help government deliver the broadband speeds necessary for every property to enjoy modern day internet services, such as high definition TV streaming and cloud computing,”

“Ultrafast” broadband means using the company’s new G.Fast technology which they have been trialling in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

What is G.Fast?

G.Fast is similar to FTTC but requires more spectrum and therefore only works over shorter copper cables, ideally less than 350m. The service is mainly installed within the existing fibre cabinets although where the premises are too far away it can utilise remote nodes or distribution points which are often located on top of existing telegraph poles or potentially put underground. This service reportedly delivers speeds of 300Mbps+ download and 50Mbps upload with plans to increase this through further trials.

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Poll: Should the final 5% broadband coverage be funded by an ISP tax?

Posted on Aug 04 2015 by Gemma Dickinson | 1 Comment

As discussed in our recent article ‘Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?’ we discuss the reported suggestion of an ISP tax to cover the estimated £500 million that will be needed to bring superfast broadband services to the final, hard to reach, 5% of the UK.

What do you think about a potential ISP tax? Do you think it’s necessary and fair in order to reach the final 5%? Or do you think alternative funding methods should be used? Do you think the cost will simply be passed on to consumers through increased prices? Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment below and taking part in our new poll (on the right of the page).

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Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?

Posted on Jul 29 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?

The superfast broadband rollout so far has been funded in a number of ways: BDUK funding (partly from the BBC License fee pot), match-funding from local authorities and a number of Government-led schemes encouraging industry to tender for contracts to reach the 95% target. The “homes passed” numbers are increasing, but reaching the final 5% was always going to be tricky and expensive.

The Government has estimated that it will cost a further £500million to deliver superfast broadband to the last 5% and, due to the predominantly remote locations and diverse geography, standard fibre broadband is unlikely to be suitable. A number of trials are already under way to evaluate the most suitable technology to do the job (e.g. satellite, wireless). But £500 million is a lot of money to find, so where is it likely to come from?

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Election 2015: How will it affect our industry?

Posted on Apr 21 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Election 2015: How will it affect our industry?

It’s election time again and the party manifestos are already starting to emerge. This led us to wonder what impact each of the main parties’ pre-election promises could have on our industry if they’re elected, specifically in terms of broadband coverage, eradicating the not-spots and the ongoing surveillance vs privacy debate. We are politically neutral and are simply describing the information provided by each of the major parties so far. It is for you to judge which you think is the best.

In alphabetical order, here’s the full detail:

Conservatives

The Conservative manifesto is probably the most obvious as they clearly plan to continue with the objectives they have already started. They will continue with their existing plans to deliver superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017 using the BDUK system and support providers’ deployment of ‘ultrafast’ broadband as they stated in the recent Budget.

David Cameron stated: “We will deliver the next generation of UK infrastructure: more roads and broadband, High Speed 2 and rail improvements across the nation.

You asked that while we got Britain back living within her means, we should invest in the things that really matter… science, superfast broadband, our railways and roads. 40,000 homes and business connected to superfast broadband every week.”

They will also explore the options of near universal superfast broadband coverage across the UK by 2018, offer Connection Vouchers (worth up to £3,000) to 50 cities and surrounding areas in order to help businesses install superfast broadband and review the potential for adjusting the current Universal Service Obligation to include a 5Mbps broadband speed requirement.

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Meet the author – Darren Farnden

Posted on Apr 17 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Meet the author – Darren Farnden
Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

It’s time to introduce Entanet’s Head of Marketing and keen Opinion author, Darren Farnden…

How long have you worked at Entanet?

I started at Entanet in April 2006 so 9 years now.

 What are your key responsibilities within the business and what are your areas of expertise?

I run Entanet’s small but truly dynamic marketing team. A member of the management team, I’m responsible for ensuring we translate the company’s strategic direction into a plan that supports the business internally and our channel partners externally. This means we take ownership of everything from maintaining a high profile in the market, providing our own sales team and also partners with support and intelligence to help them sell, right through to communication with existing partners and attracting new ones and nurturing their interest. We’re sometimes fondly known as the colouring in department but we know we’d be missed.

With regards to opinion, which topics do you usually cover and why?

I cover quite a range of subjects – obviously anything directly linked to marketing such as the growing opportunities for resellers in social media, adhering to connectivity advertising rules and several of our selling related guides and eBooks. I’ve also previously discussed the Government’s plans to tackle copyright infringement through the controversial DEA and most recently discussed the pros and cons of classifying broadband as a utility.

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