Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bits and pieces


A round-up of some recent developments of note:
  • Fierce Telecom and TeleGeography both report that the National Broadband Network Co., the government-backed service provider charged with building out the Australian government's National Broadband Network (NBN), has announced it will unveil its wholesale service pricing to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in June. This follows an earlier announcement (see this previous post) about the first service providers (Primus, Internode and iiNet) signing up to offer retail services over the network.
  • Also from Fierce Telecom, the FTTH Council has published the results from a survey which reports that "hundreds of small independent telecoms, broadband service providers, municipalities and cable television companies have brought gigabit-enabled, all-fiber service to a total of more than 1.4 million North American homes - about a quarter of all fiber to the home connections on the continent...the report noted that fiber to the home is now being deployed by more than 750 service providers across North America, with most of those being small, independent telephone companies that are replacing their copper lines with end-to-end fiber in order to ensure their future competitiveness as broadband providers." An interesting point is made in the full report: "most providers and vendors interviewed feel that the government economic stimulus programs have actually had the unintended consequence of being negative to growth - to this point - as some projects were put on hold waiting possible public money."
  • Network World report that the US state with the fastest broadband is Delaware, according to Akamai's latest State of the Internet report: "Delaware leads the United States in broadband connection speeds, averaging 7.6Mbps per connection. This average is significantly higher than most other states, as no other state had an average connection speed of more than 5.8Mbps. Additionally, Delaware led the nation in percentage of total connections exceeding an average of 5Mbps, as a whopping 72% of its connections clocked in at 5Mbps or higher." There are eight "top tens" presented in the report, ranking countries in relation to various aspects of broadband, such as average speeds, penetration etc. The UK features in just one, on the number of unique IP addresses per country for Q4 2009, where we are sixth with 20,008,664. Though interestingly, in the table showing the 100 global cites with the highest average measured connection speed in Q4 2009, Oxford is 5th at 14,463Kbps...ahead of all but one South Korean city (Masan) and behind Berkeley, Chapel Hill and Stanford in the US. The only other UK cities to be included are Southampton at 57 (8,371Kbps), Bristol at 58 (8,292Kbps) and Cambridge at 73 (7,840Kbps). Cities had to have at least 50,000 unique IP addresses to qualify for inclusion in the list.
  • TalkTalk are planning to boost their LLU coverage to 90%, according to TeleGeography: "We’ve currently unbundled just over 1,700 phone exchanges around the UK, meaning that our customers near these exchanges are on our own fibre network rather than on BT’s legacy infrastructure ... We’re planning to unbundle a further 300 exchanges, taking us to over 2,000 in total, and pushing us to coverage of nearly 90% of the population. We’re also upgrading the capacity of our network in anticipation of ever-higher internet usage." Interesting that almost 90% of the UK population is served by less than 50% of exchanges.
  • Some further developments at the FCC: Fierce Telecom report that Congress is to examine how the National Broadband Plan addresses the "broadband availability gap", in a hearing to be held today entitled "The National Broadband Plan: deploying quality broadband services to the last mile". The FCC have a related announcement on their website, on their plans for universal service reform. This supporting document looks like it could provide some useful pointers for the UK's universal service objectives, as well as the Next Generation Fund (or whatever ends up replacing it): "The analysis...comprises two main components: The first focuses on Availability, or understanding the state of existing network deployments and services; the second focuses on the Funding Shortfall, the capabilities and economics associated with different broadband networks."
  • Finally, another provider has been accused of unacceptable throttling of content, according to Fierce Cable: "RCN subscribers have been alerted that a 2008 class action suit accusing the company of "delaying or blocking" various activities like BitTorrent will reach final court settlement June 4. The suit had charged that RCN violated the Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act by promising "fast and untapped" broadband Internet when it was actually throttling traffic."

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