Swindon’s offices to gain LTE boost courtesy of UK Broadband

The borough of Swindon is to become the first area in the UK to be covered by a live commercial LTE network courtesy of the 4G network wholesaler UK Broadband. The service will be aimed predominantly at public sector and businesses via a fixed-wireless services, but local residents will be able to take advantage of the network through retail partnerships via Mifi type devices, which it said would be available from September.

Orange looks to revitalise video conferencing

Orange Business Services, the France Telecom owned brand, has announced the latest attempt to revitalise video conferencing, saying that conditions were now right for the technology to succeed. At a press event that connected London, Paris and Beijing through its cloud-based video conferencing solution Telepresence Pass, the chief executive for Orange Business Services, Vivek Badrinath, said that a crucial difference of over previous iterations of the technology was that it was cloud-based enabling it to be fully managed by Orange.

Vodafone lends support to Australia NBN, defends Huawei

Vodafone Hutchinson Australia has said that the NBN fibre to the premises project is vital to support mobile connectivity, the Register has reported. At an open public hearing of the Joint Committee on the National Broadband Network Matthew Lobb, Vodafone’s general manager of public policy, told the committee that the argument that “because consumers love mobile tech they don’t like wires the NBN is not important” was misleading and that “getting fixed line right is absolutely crucial for mobile networks.”

Ofcom puts 700MHz on the table for mobile broadband

Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, has proposed that 700MHz spectrum could be refarmed from digital TV and used for mobile broadband instead, in order to cope with the expected demand for data. However, in its view, this is unlikely to happen until 2018, due to the need to establish European wide agreement.

Sky Anytime+ service now available across UK networks

UK broadband networks have another large scale streaming service to contend with after Sky flicked the switch on making its Anytime+ service available to all of its customers who subscribe to an HD package, regardless of their ISP. Sky estimates that this will bring the Anytime+ service into an additional five million homes.

Indian broadband connections hit 13 million

India now has over 13 million broadband connections, according to a report in the Times of India. The Indian minister of communication and IT, Sachin Pilot said that the country now has 13.35 million connections, with the largest number of these in the state of Maharashtra.

Australian regulator tells Telstra to cap wholesale prices

The Australian regulator, the ACCC, has set the prices that Australian incumbent Telstra can charge rivals for wholesale access to its ADSL network. The watchdog said that it has commenced an inquiry into access to the network, and in the interim declared prices that will apply for the next 12 months. The ACCC has told Telstra that it must allow rivals to use its network in order to improve broadband competitiveness in the county. In a statement the ACCC said that, “Telstra currently retains dominant positions in the markets for both retail and wholesale fixed-line broadband services. Despite the deployment of competitive broadband infrastructure in some areas over the past decade, competition in the supply of ADSL services is not effective.”

Ofcom to force down wholesale broadband costs, but BT disputes decision

The UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has said it will be forcing down the prices that Openreach, the wholesale division of incumbent BT, can charge for broadband and telephone rental. The proposed charge controls would reduce the cost of a “fully unbundled line” from £91.50 to £87.41, and shared unbundled line, where an ISP used the line just to provide broadband, would drop from £14.70 to £11.92, while the cost for phone rental services would drop from £103.68 to £98.81.

Sky looks to retain position with fibre and IPTV offerings

Sky, the UK TV broadcaster and ISP has announced that it is adding a fibre broadband product to its internet packages, while also for the first time offering an á la carte internet TV service to compete with UK newcomer Netflix.

Sky’s fibre service, based on the UK incumbent BT’s wholesale network, will offer download speed of 40Mb at a cost of £20 a month, undercutting BT. Sky said that the fibre package would be available to 30 per cent of UK homes, and that this would increase in line with BT’s fibre rollout.

Virgin Media to boost speeds for UK cable customers

UK broadband provider Virgin Media has announced that it is to double the broadband speeds of most of its customers at no extra cost. The ISP, which provides hybrid cable connectivity to four million households across the UK, said that it will double the top-line speeds of all those on its 10Mb, 20Mb, 30Mb and 50Mb packages, while increasing those already on its 100Mb package to 120Mb.

UN sets “ambitious but achievable” broadband targets

The UN’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development has set four new targets for governments across the world to ensure citizens have sufficient broadband access. The targets, which the UN described as “ambitious but achievable” address broadband policy, affordability and uptake.

Emerson wins AUS$100m deal for Australian NBN

The Australian government has awarded Emerson Network Power a AUS$100 million contract to supply key infrastructure to the National Broadband Network (NBN) project in Australia. Emerson, said that it will be designing, supplying and installing cooling and infrastructure management systems at ten network centres to support the NBN roll-out across Australia.

Rollover broadband contracts banned in the UK

Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, has announced that it has banned contracts that automatically tie customers into new contracts if they fail to opt out. The new rules, which come into force from 31st December, will ban Automatically Renewable Contracts (ARC), which commit customers to a new minimum term for their broadband, and impose penalties for leaving.

Emerging market broadband prices stifling growth

Fixed broadband services in emerging markets are more expensive than in mature markets, keeping them beyond the reach of the majority of consumers, according to research house Ovum. The firm studied broadband prices across 19 emerging markets, including South Africa, Nigeria and Colombia, concluding that growth in fixed broadband is being seriously impeded by the high service cost.

euNetworks announces fibre-optic deal with Vodafone

euNetworks, a fibre-optic infrastructure provider has announced a network supply deal with Vodafone Germany. As part of the agreement, euNetworks will deliver fibre services to the operator in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. The deal will enable Vodafone Germany to enhance its backhaul for its LTE network, which it is continuing to roll-out since in launch in December 2010 and now reaches more than four million homes. euNetworks owns 13 fibre-based metropolitan networks across Europe and according to a statement the deal will, “enable Vodafone to benefit from euNetworks extended footprint”.

Virgin Media UK completes 1.5Gbps broadband trial

Virgin Media, the UK cable broadband operator, announced that it has completed a successful trial delivering speeds of 1.5Gpbs over its existing cable infrastructure. The trial was conducted on a single road in London called Old Street, part of an area that has been dubbed the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ by members of the local tech community known as the ‘TechHub’.

Boost for UK rural broadband after regulator forces price drop

UK regular Ofcom has told incumbent BT that it must reduce the wholesale prices it charges ISPs for delivering broadband services to primarily rural areas. The regulator said that the price reduction of 12 per cent below inflation will make it more affordable for ISPs to offer service to remote areas. It also said that it expects the move to promote competition between ISPs, leading to cheaper prices to consumers. It could also lead to faster speeds, as ISP’s will be able to purchase more capacity from BT Wholesale without increasing costs.

Telecom bosses call for less regulation to boost broadband

The heads of major European telcos and vendors have said that they need greater leeway from regulators to make the roll-out of high speed broadband networks economically viable. Ben Verwaayen, chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom boss Rene Obermann and head of Vivendi Jean-Bernard Levy, told the European Commission that regulators should reduce rules that block industry mergers and network sharing initiatives that would help the operators build scale and lower costs.

Europeans dissatisfied with broadband speeds

Many Europeans are unhappy with the speed of their broadband connection, a Eurobarometer study has found. The research, commissioned by the European Union, revealed that a third of all subscribers have suffered from loss of service at some point, while a quarter of them feel that the speeds they receive do not match their expectations based on the deal they signed up for.


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