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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Navigating your way to a connectivity solution

Posted on Mar 30 2016 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Navigating your way to a connectivity solution
Categories : Broadband, Ethernet, Fibre, Network, PWAN

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.

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Ofcom gets bullish with Openreach

Posted on Mar 22 2016 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Ofcom gets bullish with Openreach

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.

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The impact of Openreach’s FTTC install changes

Posted on Feb 23 2016 by Neil Watson | 1 Comment
Categories : Broadband, BT, Fibre, Reselling

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.

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Should BT be forced to open up access to its dark fibre?

Posted on Jun 09 2015 by Steve Lalonde | Comments Off on Should BT be forced to open up access to its dark fibre?
Categories : BT, Ethernet, Fibre, Ofcom
Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

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“.

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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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Fibre broadband: Is it really an ADSL cannibal?

Posted on Apr 08 2015 by Stephen Barclay | 3 Comments
Categories : Broadband, Fibre, Reselling
Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Superfast broadband, fibre broadband, FTTC – whatever you want to call it, it’s being promoted and discussed everywhere you look at the minute. Availability of FTTC is expanding rapidly, with over 66% of the UK now able to access the technology. That’s why pretty much every ISP out there is heavily promoting their own superfast broadband services to take advantage of this booming market. But, is fibre broadband simply an ADSL cannibal?

What’s an ADSL Cannibal?

By that I mean, customers with existing ADSL/2+ services simply upgrading to a fibre based service with their existing provider as opposed to new customers being attracted to the ISP. In other words is fibre broadband just a customer retention tool or is it also a useful customer attraction tool?

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The UK Budget 2015: What’s in the bag for the channel?

Posted on Mar 19 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The UK Budget 2015: What’s in the bag for the channel?

It’s that time of year again – Budget time and as this one comes before a General Election it’s unsurprisingly packed full of promises and big ideas.

Here’s a quick summary on what it has in store for our channel:

1. Ultra-fast broadband

First they promised (and delivered) superfast broadband (mainly achieved using Openreach’s fibre broadband roll-out) and now it’s all about a new ‘ambition’ to provide ‘nearly all UK premises’ with at least 100Mbps ‘ultrafast’ broadband.

From what we can tell they haven’t quantified that statement as yet but to be fair, most of the hard work to achieve this has already been done or has been committed to by the industry. For example, Virgin Media recently announced expanding their network to reach 17 million premises by 2020 (60% coverage) and BT have recently been discussing G.fast which would also help to achieve this target.

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Is there really still a market for FTTP?

Posted on Feb 25 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | 2 Comments
Categories : Broadband, Fibre, Reselling

If you couple the increasing availability of ‘up to’ 80Mbps FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) broadband with the growing popularity of competitively priced Ethernet based services such as leased lines, GEA and EFM, we ask “Is there really still a market for FTTP?”

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

While the answer is fundamentally ‘yes’ in our view, it’s important to understand that the potential market for FTTP customers is being squeezed. We are still receiving regular enquiries about FTTP from our resellers, who tell us they often struggled to find a wholesale provider for FTTP. It continues to be a viable option for business customers looking for high speed connectivity but who don’t need the service guarantees provided by Ethernet based solutions. It’s only real current Achilles heel is its limited availability, especially when compared to its more accessible cousin, FTTC.

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Is broadband still suitable for business use?

Posted on Oct 07 2014 by Stephen Barclay | Comments Off on Is broadband still suitable for business use?
Categories : Broadband, Business, Fibre, Reselling

A recent survey by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau found that over the past 12 months 30% of small businesses have experienced problems with their phone and broadband services leaving them unsatisfied. So we ask, is broadband still suitable for business use?

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Stephen Barclay, Head of Sales

Gillian Guy, CEO of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau said “Poor broadband services are costing small firms business…A reliable broadband service is essential for firms to be able to operate.” The research found that almost 25% of small businesses have complained about service problems with 92% of complaints focusing on stability problems or total loss of service.

However, at the end of the day there is only so much that can be done to improve the broadband service for SMEs, after all by its nature broadband is a contended service with no service guarantees or SLAs and its performance is dependent on many factors such as internal wiring, distance from the exchange etc.

That being said, Ofcom have launched their own plans to improve the provision of broadband services for SMEs. Their own data showed more positive results, stating that 85% of SMEs believe they are well served by the UK market but there are still issues and Ofcom hopes its new plan will make high quality digital communications more accessible to SMEs.

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