Openreach Add 65 More UK Exchanges to Copper Phone to Fibre Switch


Openreach
 (BT) has published the Tranche 9 batch of 65 new UK exchange areas where they plan to move away from copper-based analogue phone (PSTN / WLR etc.) services and on to a new all-IP network, which will also occur once over 75% of premises in an area can get their “ultrafast broadband” (FTTP and G.fast at 300Mbps+).

At present there are two different, albeit closely related, stages to moving away from the old copper line infrastructure. The first starts with the gradual migration of traditional voice (PSTN) services to all-IP technologies (e.g. SOGEA), which is due to complete by December 2025 and is occurring on copper line products (i.e. copper and full fibre ISPs are both introducing digital VoIP style voice solutions for customers).

The second stage involves the ongoing rollout of faster Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband infrastructure – using light signals via optical fibre, instead of slower electrical signals via copper. Only after this second stage has largely completed in an exchange area can you really start to switch-off copper in favour of fibre, which is a longer process as you have to allow a few years for user migration.

Read the full story here.

Openreach Add 12 New UK FTTP Broadband Rollout Areas


Network access provider Openreach (BT) has today added 12 new places (towns and villages) to their £15bn rollout of a new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network, which also includes a few corrections due to past errors and a larger build on the Isle of Wight. Some 8 million premises are now covered.

The rollout, which has just reached 8 million UK premises (inc. 2.5m in the hardest to reach “final third” of the country), is currently running at a build rate of c.58,000 premises per week and this is predicted to peak at c.75,000 premises at some point in the near future (i.e. up to 4 million premises per year, which compares with the 1.9 million added in 2020/21).

NOTE: Openreach’s goal is to reach 25 million premises (80%+ of the UK) by December 2026 and 6.2 million of those being targeted are in rural and semi-rural areas (here).

A big chunk of the new list – reflecting a total of around 140,000 premises – is taken up with the addition of locations across the Isle of Wight, which resides just off the south coast of Hampshire in England. Openreach were initially only deploying across the East Cowes area, but they’re now expecting to invest £13.5m in order to cover 45,000 premises across the island.

Read the full story here.

CityFibre UK Pilot uCPE Universal Customer Premises Equipment

Network builder CityFibre has today announced that they’re piloting enhanced “virtualisation capabilities” for business ISPs across their UK full fibre broadband and Ethernet network, which among other things includes the interesting addition of Universal Customer Premises Equipment (uCPE).

At present the operator is investing £4.9bn to cover up to 8 million premises – across around 285 cities, towns and villages (c.30% of the UK) – with their new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network by the end of 2025 (here). So far the operator also already covered 1.7 million UK premises – with 1.5m ‘Ready For Service‘ via a supporting ISP (here).

However, CityFibre also provide various Dark Fibre and business connectivity services, which help to underpin the above work. As part of that, the operator is now working with Telco Systems, a provider of edge compute solutions and subsidiary of BATM Advanced Communications, to pilot enhanced virtualisation capabilities across its network.

Read the full story here.

Vodafone and O2 add 4G and 5G to London Underground.

Mobile and broadband providers Vodafone and O2 (VMO2) have today become the last two major UK network operators to reach a special deal with infrastructure firm BAI Communications (BAI), which will enable them to deploy 4G and 5G based mobile services across the entire London Underground (stations and tunnels).

At present, BAI holds a 20-year concession deal with Transport for London (TfL), which was signed in June 2021 (here) and allows them to build the new mobile infrastructure itself and to then make it available via wholesale for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to harness.

The deal with BAI followed a successful trial on the Jubilee Line (eastern half of the line), which saw TfL install a neutral host distributed antenna system (DAS) that was supported by hundreds of kilometres of new fibre optic cable laid in tunnels for data capacity (fitted outside of operational hours). All four MNOs took part in that trial.

Read the full story here.

Mobile Operator EE Suffers Sporadic UK Network Outdate


Mobile operator EE (BT) has this afternoon been hit by a sporadic network outage, which started at around 1pm and primarily seems to be affecting mobile broadband connectivity via 4G and 5G services (3G still works.. sometimes), across different parts of the United Kingdom.

In a brief statement, which was posted to both their website and social media channels, EE said: “Some customers are experiencing problems when trying to use network services this afternoon. We are aware of this and are working to resolve this as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Experiences seem to vary, with some customers reporting that the issue only affects their data connectivity, while others have been saying that they’ve got no signal at all. The issue also seems to prevent Wi-Fi Calling from working while on a home broadband network, but others have been able to get this to work.

UPDATE 23rd June 2022 @ 8:53am

An EE spokesperson said: “Mobile services were restored overnight and customers who were affected are now able to make calls and use data on our network. We’re really sorry for any inconvenience caused during this time.

Boradband ISP to Scrap Email and Cloud for New Customers

New broadband and mobile customers of UK ISP BT will, from the end of this month, no longer be able to benefit from the operator’s included Email and online Cloud storage features. The good news is that existing customers will be unaffected, at least for now.

The change flows from BT’s announcement in April (here), which revealed that, over time, they intend to turn EE into the “flagship brand for our consumer customers” (i.e. converged broadband and mobile plans). As part of that, the operator has been busy reviewing what this means for their products and services.

Admittedly, we’re surprised that BT’s Email platform has lasted this long, since these days very few broadband ISPs either advertise or even include it alongside their packages – partly because Freemail services (Hotmail, Gmail etc.) have reduced their importance, and they’re often seen as more trouble than they’re worth to maintain. Similarly, there’s a fair bit of choice to be found when it comes to Cloud storage (Mega, MediaFire, Dropbox etc.), although not all of them provide a free option.

Read the full story here.

Ofcom Moves to Protect Essential UK BT and KCOM Phone Boxes

Ofcom has today introduced new rules to protect public UK phone boxes (payphones) – specifically those built by BT and KCOM – when they exist in areas with “poor mobile signals or high accident rates“. In addition, payphones will now require battery backup so that they can keep working after going digital (all-IP).

At present, there are currently around 20,000 UK payphone boxes still in operation, which is down sharply from the 92,000 that BT alone once had at its peak. Similarly, there has been a steep decline in calls made from such boxes, falling from 800 million minutes in 2002 to just 4 million in 2021/22.

NOTE: Phone boxes were used to make almost 150,000 calls to emergency services in the year to May 2020, while 25,000 calls were made to Childline and 20,000 to the Samaritans.

However, BT has spent the past few years decommissioning many of their payphones, most of which were no longer being used, which is largely due to improvements in mobile phone coverage and related service affordability. Some of those have been replaced by BT’s new smart WiFi Street Hub kiosks (mostly in busy urban areas), while around 6,000 others have been adopted by local authorities for other purposes (e.g. turning them into WiFi hotspots or storage for life-saving public defibrillators etc.).

Read the full story here.

35 Sites in Dorset to Get Full Fibre from UK ISP Wessex Internet

Broadband ISP Wessex Internet has boosted their existing rollout of a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network in South England by securing a new contract to connect 35 public sites (schools, libraries etc.) under the ‘Gigahub Connectivity in Rural Dorset Project‘, which is supported by £900k from Dorset Council.

Among the 35 sites included in this project are 22 primary and secondary schools – from the Purbecks in the south to Gillingham in the north. Durlston Country Park is also set to be connected, and the funding will also help two libraries, a care home and a children’s centre.

The first sites are due to be connected to the new full fibre network in June 2022 and all sites will then be completed by September 2023.

Read the full story here.

Fibre Technologies launches FibreDistribution.com – Their E-Commerce website for all Fibre Optic Components, Cables and Consumables.

FTL are pleased to announce the launch of their new E-Commerce division, FibreDistribution.com

The new website allows you to order fibre optic components, cables, and consumables online with same day dispatch when ordered before 3pm. 

With thousands of products in stock, our technical sales team are on hand during business hours to help guide you on choosing which product is most suitable for your requirement. 

We have a flat rate shipping fee and use reliable couriers to ensure your delivery arrives quickly and in perfect working order.

Payments are taken by credit or debit card and can be processed either through our secure payment gateway provided by BarclayCard or via PayPal. Our website is PCI DSS complaint, and SSL encrypted ensuring the security of your data and payment information which we do not store. 

Available on your desktop, laptop and mobile device, FibreDistribution.com has thousands of fibre optic components you can buy immediately and have dispatched the same day.

FTL is also a Cyber Essentials accredited business and as a division, FibreDistribution.com enjoys the same high security standards employed by FTL. 

To celebrate our launch, we’re offering a 15% discount for anyone registering for our newsletter on FibreDistribution.com.

Our FibreDistribution.com newsletter is packed with product information, end of life notices and news on the fibre optics industry, as well as product reviews and guides. 

We look forward to welcoming you as customer to FibreDistribution.com.

DISH selects Samsung for Open RAN 5G

This multi-year agreement will see Samsung’s 5G network solutions – comprised of 5G O-RAN-compliant virtualised RAN (vRAN) software and a variety of radio units (including Massive MIMO radios) – deployed across DISH’s 5G Smart Network in the US

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and DISH Network Corporation have announced that Samsung Electronics was selected for the deployment of 5G Open Radio Access Network solutions across DISH Wireless’ SMART 5G™ network. Per the multi-year agreement, the companies will collaborate to deploy Samsung’s 5G O-RAN-compliant virtualized RAN (vRAN) solutions and radio units in markets across the U.S., supporting DISH’s 5G commercial services.

“Samsung’s 5G solutions will play an integral role in our network expansion, giving us the flexibility to deploy our cloud-native network with software-based solutions that support advanced services and operational scalability,” said John Swieringa, president and chief operating officer, DISH Wireless. “We look forward to working with Samsung, whose industry leadership in vRAN and O-RAN innovation will help support our vision of delivering open, interoperable cloud-based 5G services to consumers and enterprises across the U.S.”

“Samsung is excited to join this 5G journey with DISH, a pioneer in bringing new experiences to households and businesses around the country, leveraging openness and virtualization that sit at the heart of network evolution,” said Mark Louison, executive vice president and head of the Networks Business, Samsung Electronics America. “Our advanced 5G vRAN and radio solutions bring telco-grade quality and cloud-based agility together, building on these benefits to enable more customers to experience the full value of commercial 5G Open RAN.”

Samsung Networks Business will supply DISH Wireless with its 5G and RAN solutions, vRAN software and a variety of O-RAN compliant radio units, including Massive MIMO radios. Samsung’s vRAN can operate on any commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) server, while still delivering performance on par with traditional hardware-based equipment. With its cloud-native architecture, DISH Wireless’ Open RAN deployment is based on open interfaces, allowing for multi-vendor interoperability and various deployment scenarios. The Samsung radios will also support all of DISH’s Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) spectrum bands (including n71, n29, n66, n70, n48 and n77).

Read the full story here.
 

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