BE Broadband and O2 Broadband are looking to launch their own fibre broadband service which they hope will see commercial trials starting later this year.
BE & O2 are sister companies with BE launching the first UK ADSL2+ network which helped make their name as a company aiming to deliver faster broadband speeds.
In a Blog post on the BE website, Chris Stenning, the MD, said:
“So our plans for fibre have to be something unlimited and unshaped too, otherwise it simply defeats the object of having greater speed. It’s great to be told you could get speeds up to some high level, but with traffic management it is unlikely you’ll get it for long. We are unlikely to be the cheapest in the market but we are determined to be the best.
Practically, we’d really like to launch our service later this year. We’re crunching the numbers on a variety of different routes that would allow us to deliver our vision of fibre. We think a pre-registration programme will help us work out where there is demand from our existing members.”
The O2 statement also mentions about pre-registration for existing O2 broadband customers. What neither statement says is if it is FTTH (Fibre To The Home) or FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) that they are looking to install, we would hazard a guess that it would be FTTC. We will just have to wait later in the year to hear any more about the possible BE Fibre broadband plans.
Virgin Media have had to pull their “Stop the Broadband Con” advertising after complaints made to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) were upheld against Virgin.
Both BT and Sky raised complaints about the advertising with 8 key issues, the ASA have upheld all 8 issues raised against Virgin as misleading or denigratory.
There were quote a few references to not getting “conned” which the ASA agreed made other broadband provider appear to behave dishonestly to their customers.
Some of the various quote that Virgin used were:
- Support the Campaign for Broadband Honesty
- You deserve the truth from all ISPs and we’re urging the Advertising Standards Authority to put a stop to misleading broadband advertising once and for all
- Learn from Aladdin … Don’t get conned this Christmas!
- Faster broadband means better broadband, whether you’re surfing the web, watching TV online, downloading music or sharing photos.
- Ofcom found Virgin Media broadband is twice as fast as other providers.
Ironically the quote “You deserve the truth from all ISPs and we’re urging the Advertising Standards Authority to put a stop to misleading broadband advertising once and for all” seems to have come back to bit Virgin on the bum with the ASA actually stopping Virgins own misleading broadband advertising it would seem.
Another of BT’s complaints was to the quote of “Ofcom found Virgin Media broadband is twice as fast as other providers.”, BT say that the advertising did not make it clear that this comparison did not include BT’s Infinity service which offers faster fibre broadband than BT’s standard ADSL.
Everything Everywhere are being called on by MPs to use the profits it makes from selling part of the mobile spectrum to fund rural broadband.
Everything Everywhere was formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, as part of the merger they were required by the Office of Fair Trading to dispose of a quarter of the frequencies on the 1800MHz band that they ran their mobile network on.
On Monday Ofcom announced that part sof the spectrum can be traded which opens up the way for Everything Everywhere to potentially cash in on around £450m by selling these extra frequencies.
The reason that MPs are calling for Everything Everywhere to re-invest this money back into rural broadband is because back in the 1980′s both Orange and T-Mobile were gifted part of the spectrum from the UK government to allow them to compete with O2 and Vodafone. If this profit is just taken out then both the French and German governments are likely to profit from it as both of these governments are shareholders in Everything Everywhere and will potentially profit more so than we will in the UK.
In effect some may view this as money for nothing for Everything Everywhere as they were given this share of the spectrum for free by the UK government before both companies merged.
The Labour MP, Tom Watson said:
“Do you think it is right that the government should give away a public asset to a private company that it then makes a surplus on? The British taxpayer is not getting any of the money but the French and German governments will.”
On the other side you have Everything Everywhere saying that they could even make a net loss on the sale because having to extra Everything Everywhere from parts of the spectrum will be very expensive.
On Tuesday we reported how the government have admitted that the £530 million that they have allocated to fund the universal broadband is only half of what is going to be required and that private investment and councils own budgets are going to be required to fund the other half. Some MP’s want this money that Everything Everywhere make from the sale of the spectrum to be invested back into helping fund this.
Everything Everywhere should use profits from spectrum sale to fund rural broadband
The government have announced that the £530 million that was set aside to fund the 2Mb universal broadband is only half the required money to complete the job!
Last week a letter was sent to MPs from the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt that said that the £530 million rural broadband fund will not be enough and that a further £530 million would be needed to achieve the universal 2Mb broadband. This would need to be found either through private investment, local council funding or European funding.
Financial support for any new broadband plans will be done based on need with those bidding for the money required to show how they will offer universal 2Mb speeds and also offer 90% super fast broadband access.
Mr Lucas, the Shadow Business minister had the following things to say:
“Jeremy Hunt is managing down expectations and failing to provide the investment needed to foster growth. Universal access to broadband will not happen for many communities across the country until 2015 – three years later than Labour promised. The provision of quicker super fast broadband links by then will still miss one in 10.
Crucially, the Government is only putting in half of the public money required – meaning local authorities struggling to cope with government cuts in other areas have to find the rest or face being left behind.
The proposals will do nothing to halt the broadband divide across the UK and will act as a brake on business growth across the country just when it is needed most.”
BT are currently investing £2.5 billion in their own fibre broadband network, but this is largely just targeting urban areas where they will receive a better return on their investment, it is the rural areas where the governments money is going to be needed to help get broadband connections made available.
BT’s (www.bt.com) fibre broadband network is to pass 5 million homes by the end of this month and BT have announced a further 66 exchanges that are set to be enabled with FTTC that will cover a further 1 million homes.
BT are undergoing a huge £2.5bn fibre broadband roll-out across the country and have already got it installed in around 5 million UK homes with the roll out not set to slow down. There are already plenty of other exchanges that are earmarked ready for upgrading to fibre and BT have released the names of 66 new exchanges that will also be included. Some of these new exchanges will be upgraded by the end of this year but most will be being done during 2012.
By the end of the roll out BT are aiming to have covered two thirds of UK homes with fibre by 2015, the majority are to be connected via FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) which currently offers broadband speeds up to 40Mb although speeds in future should be able to be increased.
Some other interesting facts about BT’s £2.5bn fibre investment are that they are currently passing around 80,000 new premises per week. By the end of the programme they will have installed 30,000 cabinets, connecting 200,000 distribution points and enabled over 1,000 exchanges which will also mean they will need to lay over 50,000km of fibre!
Those wanting to sign up for fibre broadband can do so with BT at BT Infinity (www.bt.com).
The list of the new exchanges are:
BURTON UPON TRENT
BROUGHTON, GREATER MANCHESTER
WOODLEY, GREATER MANCHESTER
ADWICK LE STREET
Passengers on National Express coaches between Stansted Airport and London are now able to use free Wi-Fi internet access on their journey.
The Wi-Fi technology that has been installed was from Icomera and has been installed into all the coaches that run on the Stansted Airport to London route. This route has around 4 coaches per hour running and runs 24/7 and is one of National Expresses busiest routes.
Icomera’s award winning Moovbox M200 is what has been installed and it connects to a T-Mobile HSPA cellular broadband connection that it is then able to offer to passengers as a Wi-Fi connection on board at speeds up to a few Mb per second.
The Stansted to London route is not the first route that National Express have installed the Moovbox on to, with other services in Bournemouth, Southampton and Gloucester having it installed already.
Dave Palmer, from Icomera said:
“With this Wi-Fi deployment, National Express has once again demonstrated their commitment to meeting the expectations of today’s business and leisure travellers. With millions of new Wi-Fi enabled smartphones and tablet PCs being purchased every month the demand for reliable internet connectivity on the move is growing exponentially. We are delighted to be supporting innovative customers like National Express in getting customers onboard and online.”
This is great to see from companies such as National Express, embracing technology and how important it is to allow customers even greater access to the internet on more parts of their journey. With more and more smartphones and internet ready devices being sold we will hopefully see more and more companies embrace free wireless internet for customers.
Virgin Media’s 100Mb fibre broadband is now available to over 4 million UK homes with the rollout of this ultrafast broadband set to continue.
Virgin’s fibre optic broadband network covers 13 million UK homes that by mid-2012 should hopefully all be covered by this 100Mb broadband that Virgin are rolling out. Currently over 100 towns across the UK have access to this super fast network from Virgin Media. Their fibre network consists of fibre optic cable to the street-side cabinet and then a coaxial cable form there to the users home to help offer these super fast speeds.
Virgin are able to boast that this 100Mb fibre broadband service can offer broadband speeds up to 16 times faster than the UK average broadband speed (reported by Ofcom in March to be 6.2Mb) and will mean that it could take just 5 seconds to download a full music album, a TV show in 30 seconds or a HD movie in 7 minutes.
Despite the big headline speeds the costs are still extremely competitive form Virgin, with the 100Mb broadband available from Virgin for just £35 per month when taken with a phone line, or for £45 when taken as a stand alone product.
Virgin are not looking to rest on their laurels with this headline package, they are already trialling a 200Mb broadband service and also believe that their network will have the potential to deliver broadband speeds up to a staggering 400Mb in the future.
Virgin Media executive director of broadband, Jon James, said:
“As data consumption rises and consumers grow increasingly reliant on their broadband service, only Virgin Media’s unique network is primed to cater for the UK’s impending data explosion. With four million homes now able to ‘get in the fast lane’ with our 100Mb service, the UK is racing up the broadband league tables and we’re delighted to be playing the leading role in boosting the UK’s digital infrastructure.“
Globally the cost of broadband per Mb is continuing to drop according to a report from Point Topic.
The cost per Mb has fallen across all regions of the world in the 15 months that the study looked at, between Q4 2009 to the Q1 2011. The study took into account the three main fixed line technologies consumers receive broadband through, these are DSL, Cable and Fibre.
In Latin America there was the most significant drop to be found, with a huge 40% price drop, with North America and Canada having a 35% drop across all the technologies.
A Senior Analysts at Point Topic, Fiona Vainer, said:
“The price per megabit of bandwidth in Latin America has dropped by an average of over 40% and in North America and Canada by over 35% across all the fixed line technologies. This isn’t about significant reductions in the monthly subscription but about increases in the headline speed on offer.
Consumers still perceive speed, or downstream bandwidth to be more precise, as a significant factor in their decision making. This works up to a point. There is evidence that residential consumers in particular are having difficulty imagining what they can do with more than 50Mbps today and their purchasing decisions are not driven by bandwidth as much as they used to be.
It will prove increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself as a broadband supplier based just on higher and higher headline bandwidths. The mature broadband markets in particular are entering a phase where value added services and customer relationships will be more and more important. The downside is that consumers could be seeing the end of significant increases in bandwidth or reductions in tariffs.”
In Western Europe there was a 32.5% price drop on fibre broadband, with Cable dropping 28.4% and standard SDL dropping by just 16.7%. These figures would run in line with expectations, since fibre broadband in the UK and other parts of Western Europe is more of an emerging technology there will be more users who take it up broadband providers will be fighting hard to attract these new customers, with DSL services that are now very well established there will be less “room for manoeuvre” as the price battles have already been fought hard over the past few years on this technology.
With fibre broadband now being deployed quite widely across the UK and Virgin offering headline broadband speeds of 100Mb and BT widely offering 40Mb fibre broadband speeds where their new BT Infinity network have been deployed we will potentially soon be at a stage in the UK where the headline speed offered by broadband providers will level out and it will be the extra services and customers satisfaction as to what could start to be the deciding factors for broadband providers to get new customers and not so much based on how much cheaper they are than their rivals as they will probably all reach a similar price point with their respective broadband deals.
The village of Shap in Cumbria is to benefit from a new broadband pilot that will bring broadband to the village via existing power lines and also bring Smart Meter services.
Gridline, an American company are behind the trial will be working with Electricity Northwest, Cable and Wireless and T-Systems UK and hopes that by the end of the month that the pilot will be fully up and running.
Although the technology of Broadband Over Power Lines (BPL) isn’t new it hasn’t so far been widely used as an alternative to other forms of broadband. How it works is by sending broadband data through power lines and into the home that can then be retrieved simply by using the plug socket in the house.
“Once completed and validated, the partnership expects to move to a full deployment model addressing approximately 2.5 million meters/structures throughout the Electricity Northwest power grid”
Shap was chosen as the place to pilot the Broadband Over Power-lines scheme as it is in one of the regions of the governments rural broadband drive.
Eutelsat Communications have “launched” commercial broadband services from their KA-SAT High Throughput Satellite that will offer up to 10Mb Satellite broadband to people in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.
The new Tooway Satellite broadband services that run through KA-SAT are ideally targeted to those people who live in “not-spot” areas which in Europe alone stands at around 13 million households and a further 17 million are only able to access the internet at speed below 2Mb. This new broadband service will offer broadband speeds up to 10Mb download with up to 4Mb upload.
Anyone wanting to sign up to the new service will need to have a small satellite dish installed, this can either be done professionally or by the customer themselves.
In future the service will be able to deliver even faster broadband speeds with 50Mb download and 20Mb upload speeds being made available shortly with an advanced system.
Professional installation is £99.99 or a Home Installation Kit is £49.99. Customers can also decide if they want to rent or buy their dish and modem, the cost to buy is £199.99 or for monthly rental at a cost of £9.99 per month. As standard contracts come as 24 months or a 12 month contract can be taken for an £650 upfront charge.
The Satellite Broadband packages are listed below.