It’ll come as no surprise to many, but a ruling yesterday by the Office of the Telecoms Adjudicator means you won’t be able to buy access to Openreach’s Dark Fibre for the foreseeable future. This is the latest twist in a long running saga that started with Ofcom’s Business Connectivity Market Review last year and which hit a major stumbling block last month when the Competition Appeals Tribunal ruled in favour of BT, stating that “Ofcom made a string of errors when it drew up the rules for a new market in dark fibre”. Under Ofcom’s directive, Openreach were due to launch their Dark Fibre Access (DFA) product this October, with pricing and terms published by the end of September, but this of course won’t happen now.Read More »
CAP (Committees of Advertising Practice) has opened a public consultation seeking views on 4 new proposals to strengthen the current broadband speed advertising guidelines. We’re pleased to see CAP take this approach but we still have some concerns over their practicality and potential impact.
The consultation will last for 10 weeks, closing on 13th July 2017 and the options they propose (whilst also stating they are open to suggestions) are to base all broadband speed claims on:
- Peak-time median download speed
- 24-hour national median download speed
- Range of peak-time download speeds available to the 20th to 80th percentile of users
- Range of 24-hour national download speeds available to the 20th to 80th percentile of users
They also encourage the provider to direct consumers towards more specific broadband speed estimators to receive a more accurate idea of the speed actually achievable on their line.Read More »
Progress. It’s what we all work for and it seems there was quite a lot of it last year in terms of broadband availability. ADSL coverage increased by 1% nationally, while FTTC saw a 6% increase and FTTP coverage grew by 1.7%. It’s no surprise that FTTC – or superfast broadband in layman’s terms – saw the biggest increase given that the Government is quickly coming up on its self-imposed deadline of 95% coverage by the end of this year.
The question now is of course where BDUK and BT will look to upgrade cabinets in order to achieve their 95% coverage target. The logical answer is that they’ll focus on the low-hanging fruit – that is cabinets that are easy and therefore more cost effective to upgrade than those requiring lots of engineering works. This will likely mean that the focus remains on urban and semi-rural locations, leaving those in the countryside to wither on a sub-par service until the Universal Service Obligation (USO) gives them something a little better – if they request it and it won’t cost too much to provision… As you can see from our infographic ‘Connectivity in the UK’, Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report 2016 says that there are 1.4m premises in the UK that can’t currently access a minimum speed of 10Mbps, the proposed minimum threshold speed of the USO.14% of these – or 200,000 premises – are small to medium-sized businesses and 69% (that’s 960,000 buildings) are in rural locations.Read More »
In yesterday’s Autumn Statement the government announced measures that will, in their words, “bring faster and more reliable broadband for homes and businesses across the UK, boost the next generation of mobile connectivity and keep the UK in the forefront of the development of the Internet of Things.” A sweeping glance at the headline text suggests that the investment of £400m into a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) and tax-relief on full fibre infrastructure are a great step forward for the development of Gigabit Britain, but as usual, the devil is in the detail. And it’s the consideration of the detail that has brought us to the opinion that Chancellor Philip Hammond has achieved nothing more than political manoeuvring aimed at satisfying the calls for more investment in the UK’s fibre communications infrastructure.Read More »
At the risk of getting the prize for stating the obvious, we’re all using more data. Consumers are increasingly opting for unlimited packages for their fixed line broadband and competition in the mobile data marketplace continues to develop at a pace. Ofcom, in its annual report, consistently issues data proving that the domain of Homo Informaticus continues to grow year-on-year. To feed this unquenchable thirst the regulator has been working on behalf of the Government to figure out how best to implement the proposed Universal Service Obligation (USO), which will give everyone in Britain the ‘legal right’ to request a broadband connection providing download speeds of around 10Mbps. But for many the issue is that all of the improvements to national broadband coverage – be it the USO or the BDUK rollout of superfast broadband – are focused on download speeds and aren’t looking to improve upload speeds to the same degree.Read More »
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.Read More »
Sometimes it’s difficult for customers to know where to start when choosing a connectivity solution. Are they clear about why they need it? Are they a business or domestic customer? How much are they focusing on download speed? What about uploads? Are they worried about sharing bandwidth? Do they expect service to be guaranteed? How much budget is available? Where is their physical geographic location? All of these will have an impact on the solution that you propose, but it’d be great to have an ‘at a glance’ guide to help you navigate your way through this minefield. The good news is that our latest eBook, an update to our popular Guide to Connectivity, provides all of the information that you need about the technologies currently available from Entanet.Read More »
Building on last month’s Strategic Review of Digital Communications wherein BT was reprieved of a full split from Openreach, Ofcom has today published its draft Business Connectivity Market Review of the £2bn Leased Lines market. The findings mean that BT will be forced to open its Dark Fibre to competitors by October 2017 as well as fixing faults within 5 hours, reducing the average install time to 40 days (which hasn’t been achieved since 2011) and lowering wholesale prices, with the aim of making this premier connectivity solution more affordable to businesses across the country.Read More »
Industry has argued against it since it was first mooted in 2014, but from 16th March BT Openreach will no longer be supplying a modem on fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) installations (including upgrades from ADSL/2+). While Openreach say that this industry-wide change will simplify provision by dispensing with the need to book an engineer appointment, in reality we think the advantages and disadvantages will be more widely felt. As a wholesale supplier, we are wary of the impact on both resellers and consumers – especially in terms of the potential for confusion and misunderstandings.
Two new installation options will be available in place of the withdrawn product, both of which require the consumer to supply and connect their own Openreach-approved modem/routing device.
Option 1 is a standard installation and will see an engineer complete a ‘wires only’ connection at the PCP (primary connection point, aka the cabinet) and will not visit the consumer’s premises. This means that the NTE5 faceplate will not be changed and the consumer will need to fit VDSL filters to all extensions in order to complete the installation.
Option 2 – a ‘managed’ installation – is available at an additional cost. With this service an engineer will visit the consumer premises to uplift any wiring and fit a service specific faceplate – they may also connect the modem/routing device if it’s available at the point of connection.Read More »
In a recent u-turn following their latest Business Connectivity Market Review, Ofcom is proposing that ISPs offering leased lines be granted physical access to BTs ‘dark fibre’, something it disregarded during its previous review in 2012. So, should BT be forced to open up its dark fibre to competitors and how could it affect the industry?
What is dark fibre?
In simple terms, dark fibre is the ‘un-lit’ (unused) fibre optic lines that have already been implemented by a carrier to provide spare capacity for coping with future demand. By allowing access to this fibre, the competing Communications Provider can install its own equipment at either end, taking full charge of the solution on a wholesale basis.
The carriers that have invested in the implementation of this fibre to enhance their own networks and ensure future scalability are obviously upset by the recent proposals and argue that they should not be forced to provide competitor access to this ‘dark fibre’- after all, they are clearly trying to protect their investments.
A recent open letter sent by BT, Virgin Media and Kingston Communications warned Ofcom that such actions could lead to higher prices and “significant regulatory uncertainty, undermining the return on sunk investments and therefore dis-incentivising future infrastructure investments“. It also states that “allowing multiple operators to tamper with the physical network will cause service faults for customers“.Read More »