UK Broadband ISP iTalk Launch New Full Fibre Packages

Internet service provider iTalk has finally branched-out beyond its old ADSL and Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) based home broadband packages by launching a new range of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) powered services on Openreach’s national network. Some of their new full fibre packages have also been discounted.

Each of the new full fibre packages include a digital phone (IP based) service, as well as unlimited usage, a 24-month minimum contract term, UK based support and an included wireless router. On top of that, you’ll need to pay £12.95 (one-off) for postage and packaging.

The new packages start from £29.99 per month for a 40Mbps download speed and rise up to £44.99 per month for their top 220Mbps tier. But the packages can also be taken as part of a “Winter Special” deal, which for example drops the 40Mbps plan to £23.99 and the 220Mbps service to £39.99 per month. Sadly, they don’t currently offer a gigabit tier or anything faster than 220Mbps.

Read the full story here.

Brendan Dick Next to Openreach Van 2022

2023 New Year Honours for Members of BT and TalkTalk’s Team

The UK Government is in the process of publishing the King’s New Year Honours List for 2023, which sees Brendan Dick, the former Director of BT in Scotland (2006-18) and former Chair of Openreach’s Scotland Board (2018-21), picking up an OBE for services to telecommunications in Scotland. But he’s not alone.

The King’s New Year Honours list is said to recognise the achievements and public service of people across the UK, from all walks of life. Anyone can nominate someone for an honour, and nominees are then “checked by various government departments to make sure they’re suitable for an honour” (this may include checks by HMRC) and an honour’s committee will also review the nominations.

As well as the OBE award for BT’s Brendan Dick, TalkTalk’s former Early Careers Manager (until October 2022), Sam Davys, has been awarded an MBE for services to Young People and to Inclusion in Digital Industries. She’s now in a different role at the ISP, but the award recognises her work under the provider’s Kickstart program during the pandemic, whereby the DWP provided funding to employers to create jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit.

Read the full story here.

london underground tube

EE and Vodafone UK Extend 4G Mobile to 6 New London Underground Stations

Broadband and mobile operators EE (BT) and Vodafone have announced that they’ve extended their 4G network on the London Underground to include six more stations, covering parts of the Central and Northern lines, which reflects a partnership with BAI Communications. This builds on their already live coverage on the eastern half of the Jubilee Line.

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 4G mobile infrastructure itself and to then make it available via wholesale for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to harness. The goal of this is to cover the entire London Underground with the new network by late 2024 (ticket halls, platforms and tunnels).

NOTE: O2 (VMO2), Three UKEE and Vodafone have all signed deals to harness the new infrastructure. The new network is classed as “5G-ready“.

The neutral host distributed antenna system (DAS) network, which will end up being supported by hundreds of kilometres of fibre optic cable laid in tunnels for data capacity (fitted outside operational hours), was first trialled on the Jubilee Line (eastern half of the line). The first new sections beyond that are now starting to go live.

Read the full story here.

Fibre Optic Openreach Network Cables UK

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

 (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 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.

rural openreach engineer broadband

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 Optical Network Connections

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.

train wifi mobile internet connectivity uk

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.

Barratt homes makes UK full fibre broadband mandatory

Britain’s biggest house-builder, Barratt Developments, has today announced that they’re working with network providers Openreach (BT), Virgin Media and Hyperoptic to ensure that “gigabit-capable” FTTP broadband ISP infrastructure is “installed as standard” across all of their new UK build developments.

At present Barratt claims to build around c.15,000 new homes every year and thus all of those will now come provided with “full fibre” broadband services as standard. The use of Ofcom’s regulated Cable Duct & Pole Access (DPA) solution also means that rival gigabit networks and ISPs, such as Virgin Media and Hyperoptic, will be better able able to serve the same premises as Openreach.

The new partnership separately supports OR’s existing commitment, which offers Fibre-to-the-Premises infrastructure “free of charge” to new housing development sites of 20+ properties (and reduced rates for smaller sites where developers make a contribution towards the build). Some 93% of all plots contracted with Openreach are now getting FTTP (e.g. 100% of plots on sites of 20+ homes and 41% of plots on smaller 2-19 premises sites).

Overall, Openreach currently builds FTTP to new build homes at a rate of over 200,000 every year (c. 4,000 new connections every week) and this in turn supports BT Group’s main goal, which is to cover 4.5 million premises by March 2021 (current build rate of c.40,000 per week), then 5.8m come September 2021 and 20m by around 2025-30 (costing c.£12bn). A max build rate of 3 million per year is envisaged.

Meanwhile Virgin Media are also continuing to expand their FTTP network too and Hyperoptic has an ambition to cover 5 million premises by 2024. Developments like this can only help those goals.

Read the full story at ISPReview.

Infinera Partners with ESnet to Upgrade the World’s Most Advanced Scientific Data Network

Source: Infinera Corporation

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Infinera(NASDAQ: INFN) is proud to announce a contract award with the U.S. Departmentof Energy (DOE)?s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) to build the opticalsubstrate for its next-generation science network, ESnet6, interconnecting theDOE?s national laboratory system and experimental facilities with research andcommercial networks around the globe. Based on a next-generation hardware andsoftware stack, ESnet6 will provide unparalleled support for global science andpave the way for future advancements in the areas of streaming data analytics,artificial intelligence/machine learning, workflow management, and theintegration of compute, storage, and networking capabilities.

TheESnet6 optical network is powered by the Infinera GX Series Compact ModularPlatform and FlexILS Open Optical Line System. ESnet?s open optical networkingapproach combined with Infinera?s GX and FlexILS with coherent 600G technologyenables deployment of today?s state-of-the art technology plus future-proofsthe network with the ability to seamlessly upgrade to 800G capability onceavailable.

Withscience data traffic over ESnet doubling every 20 months, Infinera capabilitiesensure ESnet can provide 400 Gigabit Ethernet-based services through this openand flexible architecture. Deployed nationwide, the Infinera GX Series andFlexILS Open Optical Line System solutions provide a flexible and scalablefoundation with C+L-band capability for further scale at the photonic layer.

?ESnet6represents a transformational change in the capacity, resiliency, andflexibility and brings tangible benefits to the DOE?s science mission,? saidKate Mace, ESnet6 Project Director. ?Open optical networking technology plays akey role in ESnet?s ability to meet the ongoing challenges of data trafficgrowth while supporting the high-speed and real-time collaboration capabilitiesthat are critical to our nation?s science programs.?

As the world?s leading science data network, ESnet connects all of the DOE?sgeographically distributed laboratories, experimental facilities, and computingcenters across a dedicated fiber optic backbone that stretches across the U.S.and beyond. These capabilities provide the foundation for scientists to move,share, analyze, and store data no matter where in the world the data may be.Partnering with ESnet, Infinera quickly and safely deployed new equipment,performed testing, and turned up services over 15,000 miles of fiber during aglobal pandemic.

?ESnetwas pleased to see Infinera?s team make such fast work of this largeinstallation task during a pandemic. This high-speed connectivity provides thefoundation to meet our mission of accelerating scientific discovery,? saidInder Monga, Executive Director of ESnet and Division Director of ScientificNetworking at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. ?ESnet enables tens ofthousands of scientists to access data portals, transfer vast research datastreams, and tap into remote scientific instruments and sources ? all in realtime.?

?Infinerais delighted to partner with ESnet to deploy a high-capacity open opticalnetwork connecting all the national laboratory locations in the U.S. withhigh-performance computing locations,? said Nick Walden, Senior Vice President,Sales at Infinera. ?This collaboration underscores the value of ourrelationship and ability to deliver advanced networking solutions quickly andefficiently to meet the needs of our customers even during a pandemic.?

BT UK Trial End-to-End Quantum-Secured Fibre Comms for 5G

By Mark Jackson

Telecoms giant BT (EE) and Cambridge spin-outNu-Quantum today claim to have launched a ?world-firsttrial? of end-to-end quantum-secured communications for the newgeneration of ultrafast 5G mobile(mobile broadband)networks, which is being called AIRQKD (Air Quantum Key Distribution).

Quantum secure links are often said to be virtually ?un-hackable? becausethey rely on the use of single particles of light (photons) to transmit specialdata encryption ?keys?(QKD ? Quantum Key Distribution). Should this communication be intercepted, thesender will be able to tell that the link has been tampered with and the stolenphotons cannot then be used as part of the key, thus rendering the data streamincomprehensible to a hacker.

Last month BT and Toshiba succeeded in establishingthe UK?s first ?industrialdeployment? of a quantum-secure network using Openreach?s?standard?fibre optic infrastructure (here). The key rate of the QKD system ran atjust 1.1Mbps (each encryption key has a length of 256 bits), while theencrypted data link itself was running at 10Gbps (it can go to several hundredgigabits and at distances of up to 120km).

Meanwhile the new trial, which will run for 36-months, is being funded by aninvestment of ?7.7m fromthe Quantum Technologies Challenge, led by UK Research and Innovation. BTclaims it will be the first to combine QKD over fixed fibre and free-spacenetworks (point-to-point laser connections between cell sites), withquantum-enhanced security chips in mobile devices.

Apparently, both will be used to deliver an ultra-secure linkbetween connected 5G towers and mobile devices, as well as to connected cars,in conjunction with the Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University.

Professor Andrew Lord, BT?s Head of OpticalNetwork Research, said:

?The UK has firmly established itself as a global leader inquantum-based network security. With the AIRQKD trial, we?re delighted to betaking this to the next level and combining multiple quantum technologies frominnovative UK start-ups to build the world?s most secure fixed-mobilecommunications link. Connected cars are only one of the possible range ofapplications that will benefit from such ultra-secure connectivity in thefuture.?

Dr Carmen Palacios Berraquero, co-founderand CEO of Nu Quantum, said:

?In this project, we are basically creating the architecture for awhole new quantum-telecommunication industry, with a supply chain running fromcomponent manufacture through to end user. At Nu Quantum we have the uniqueability to use the smallest packets of light, making the most of quantummechanics and the security advantage it can give us. This 3-year partnershipwith BT and others across the UK is an important step taking quantum out of thelab and into our networks.?

The AIRQKD projectinvolves the following partners: BT, Lexden Technologies, OLC, Duality, BristolUniversity, Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, Strathclyde University,Warwick University Manufacturing Group, Bay Photonics, Heriot Watt University,Angoka, ArQit, Nu Quantum, National Physical Laboratory, CSA Catapult,Edinburgh University.

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