Business ofcom Regs

Ofcom hits BT Wholesale in the rurals #DEAPPG #FinalThirdFirst

Ofcom yesterday proposed significant reductions in the prices that BT Wholesale can charge internet service providers (ISPs) in parts of the country where it is the sole provider of wholesale broadband services – mainly in rural areas.

The proposed price reductions are between 10.75% and 14.75% below inflation.

As an ISP and BT Wholesale customer I say good oh! I’m not quite sure that it will achieve the effect Ofcom think it will achieve though. Yes we might find retail ISPs lowering their prices marginally for customers in these areas. Consumer ISPs already charge rock bottom prices so a cut of 15% off a low number won’t make much difference.

Also ISPs buy bulk backhaul bandwidth from BTW. This is not specific to particular exchanges or locales. For example Timico’s bandwidth comes into two docklands locations from all our customers all over the country. We would not be able to say “this customer gets more bandwidth because he is one of the lucky ones living in an area with reduced costs.

A big chunk of the cost is in the bandwidth used so whilst a reduction in line rental is good a reduction in bandwidth costs would be better. We may find that competition does drive down the cost to the end user a little in these cost reduced areas but there is also a fair chance that ISPs will just pocket the additional margin thanks very much and maintain homogenous pricing policy across the whole country. More packages means more complexity and ultimately more cost.

This many not necessarily be a company line here but it’s what I think will be the overall outcome. I might be completely wrong.

Business events surveillance & privacy

Sponsorship from BT Genband Timico and Thinkbroadband for Christmas bash

I am happy to announce that BT, Genband, Timico and Thinkbroadband have stepped forward with sponsorship for first annual Christmas tweetup.

The party starts at 1pm on Friday 17th December in the platform bar of the Betjeman Arms in St Pancras Station. Get there early to avoid the crush – thanks to our sponsors the bar will now be free until the money runs out.

The guests already signed up come from a wide range of communities of interest including internet engineering, VoIP equipment, Parliament, DEAct, rural broadband, ISPs ITSPs, regulatory specialists, embedded software developers, oil and IT industry executives,consultants and the media.

If you haven’t already done so please sign up here

Some people who have expressed an interest in coming but unable to make this one have asked when the next one is going to be?  The end of the IPv4 address pool or  “Apocalypse IPv4”  party is already in planning for the Feb/March timeframe. The date for this one is TBC pending the exhaustion of the IANA address pool and will be the subject of a further announcement.

Expressions of interest from potential sponsors for the Apocalypse IPv4 event are now being taken. This should be of interest to carriers, equipment vendors and anyone else in the IPv6 space.

Engineer internet

Bandwidth explosions

We are currently seeing an explosive growth in the distribution and delivery of digital video content across both fixed and mobile networks. Four years ago 100 million videos were watched on YouTube every day. It is two billion today. The BBC’s iPlayer launched in December 2007. It now delivers over 120 million requests every day which adds up to 7 petabytes of data a month.

As a result of this, the volume of data carried by mobile operators has risen twentyfold over the last two years (thanks iPhone), and is forecast to grow almost as much again in the next two years. The figures for fixed operators are less dramatic but still very significant.

broadband End User internet

FTTC Broadband – What Exactly Is It?

Readers who are somewhat unclear on FTTC broadband soon won’t be. Read on.

FTTC broadband exchange rollout posts have attracted a huge amount of interest on this blog. More so in fact than any other subject I have posted on. There is clearly a demand out there for the faster speeds.

There isn’t that much info out there on what the proposition actually is so I am happy to remedy this. The following spiel has been pinched from the BT Wholesale FTTC Handbook (thanks to BT for letting me do this) .  This is normally only provided to ISPs who are reselling the technology/solution.

As is the nature of these things I have had to simplify the wording but if you see some complex technospeak it is probable left over from the original text. I’m afraid there is no getting away from the acronyms. The diags are BT (Wholesale & Openreach) originals.

FTTC Intro

Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) utilises BT’s 21st Century Network.  If an ISP already offers ADSL2+ services based on

broadband Business

Post Office Tower

I have to extend my thanks to BT who were my hosts atop the BT Tower in London yesterday.  It was a beautiful afternoon with great visibility of all of London’s well known landmarks.

It is also a stunning place for corporate hospitality and the food was as good as you would find in any top restaurant. We took some important PWAN customers along and had a very useful working lunch. What’s more we had it for our own exclusive use!

Members of the public are not allowed up these days so one of the few ways you can get there is by becoming a Timico customer ! 🙂 . 

Special thanks go to Victoria Bradley at BT Wholesale who is a class apart as an account manager.

Business internet

Ethernet in the First Mile – EFM

I’m happy to say that Ethernet in the First Mile is starting to get customers excited. EFM?  Yet another !”£#@ acronym do I hear you say?

Yes and actually EFM is quite an exciting proposition in 21CN enabled exchanges around the country. That’s around 600 now with notionally 1,100 by the time BT has finished the rollout.

EFM is a copper based Ethernet service to the customer, capable of carrying high bandwidth connections without the need for fibre into the customer premises. It provides “up to” 10Mbps (<3km from the exchange).

The beauty of the technology is that it bundles up to 5 copper pairs from the exchange to the premises to attain the bandwidth throughput. If any of these pairs “go down” then the service will rate adjust to a lower speed based on the remaining circuits rather than failing completely.

Whilst customers don’t necessarily get the reliability and uptime of a fibre leased the EFM circuits are considerably cheaper with much faster installation lead times (and don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying EFM is unreliable – it’s basically the same as ADSL).

What’s more we can incorporate EFM connections into an MPLS VPN/PWAN.  EFM gives businesses far more flexibility in the type of circuits they can build into a network design.

It does strike me that anyone thinking of getting into the ISP business these days is onto a loser.  Timico has its own direct connection to BT for EFM.  This is in addition to circuits for SDH, framestream, Ethernet, SDSL/ADSL, ADSL2+ and 3G (wireless). 

We also have direct connectivity with BT Wholesale, BT Openreach, Telewest/NTL/Virgin (whatever you are used to calling them), Global Crossing, Claranet, Tiscali (ahem) and Cable and Wireless, notwithstanding our links to transit providers and peering exchanges such as LINX.

I’m not saying that the situation is different to what it was like 5 years ago when Timico started. At that time our decision was to buy Atlas Internet to get into the game and since then we have added two further acquisitions.  The complexities and the scale required to be competitive have however changed.

Our first BT central pipe (ie wholesale ADSL connection) was a single 34Mbps link.  Now we are into multiple 622Mbps and multiple Gigabit fibre.  These represent large cost commitments that new entrants should balk at or at least recognise that they would have to have very deep pockets.

Note 1  !”£#@  = “bloomin”

Note 2 apologies to friend and blog reader Dan Ellin who has made some comments on Facebook regarding the number and incomprehensibility of acronyms in this industry 🙂