The State of the Broadband Nation

Posted on Feb 02 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The State of the Broadband Nation
Categories : Broadband, BT, Fibre, G.Fast, Ofcom

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.

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Openrexit means Openrexit?

Posted on Nov 30 2016 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Openrexit means Openrexit?
Categories : BT, Ofcom, Regulation

Yesterday’s trade press was dominated by the news that Ofcom has issued a directive that BT must ‘legally separate’ from its Openreach division. On the face of it, the move is designed to level the market playing field and encourage fairer competition but of course, whether it does remains to be seen. It’s important to appreciate that BT won’t have to split Openreach off entirely – it will still own Openreach, albeit as a legally separate entity. So what will this mean for the industry, resellers and customers?

Openreach will become a distinct company with its own board, says Ofcom, with non-executives and a chairperson not affiliated with BT (the newly appointed former Ofcom board member Mike McTighe). Ofcom also wants Openreach to have control over its branding and budget allocation. Importantly, it will have a duty to treat all of its customers equally.

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Why upload isn’t on the up

Posted on Sep 21 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Why upload isn’t on the up
Categories : Broadband, Ethernet, Fibre, Ofcom

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.

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Where there’s blame there’s a claim – really?

Posted on Aug 04 2016 by Neil Watson | 1 Comment
Categories : ADR, Broadband, Ofcom, Regulation

Over the last fortnight there have been a litany of connectivity faults preventing users getting online. First up was a power outage at TeleCity on the 20th July, followed by a failure at Telehouse North the very next day. Zen then suffered an outage that affected its DSL and leased line Internet services, and this week Sky’s fibre network was hit with an unusual routing problem and Virgin Media suffered a major fibre break. No business – no matter how big or small – is immune from faults that affect service delivery.

The outages that affected central infrastructure (TeleCity, Telehouse North and Virgin’s fibre break) impacted everyone in the supply chain. Some of our partners’ customers were unable to get online, along with the retail customers of BT, Plusnet and others, for several hours. There wasn’t anything we could do to physically fix the issues as the repair work was under their control; we could only keep our customers informed and manage their dissatisfaction as best we could. But the experience got us thinking: if Ofcom’s proposals for automatic compensation had been in place, how much happier would affected customers have been, and whose pocket would be feeling the pinch?

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So, who is Matt Hancock?

Posted on Jul 21 2016 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on So, who is Matt Hancock?
Categories : Government, Ofcom, Regulation

We certainly can’t take all the credit, but Ed Vaizey was unceremoniously dumped from his role as Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy last Friday evening. His replacement is the MP for West Suffolk, Matt Hancock.

Representing West Suffolk since 2010, and serving as George Osborne’s chief of staff before that, Mr Hancock isn’t a complete neophyte when it comes to politics. But what of that subject so close to our hearts? Is he likely to be any better at promoting connectivity issues and engaging with the industry than his predecessor?

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