Tag: broadband

US FCC limits broadband competition

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is reversing a requirement imposed that Charter Communications extend broadband service to a million households already served by a competitor.

The requirement was made under the Obama administration to make sure that the telcos competed with each other rather than setting up local monopolies.

It was part of a condition of approval for its acquisition of two cable companies, Charter had agreed in May 2016 to extend high-speed internet access to 2 million customers within five years, with 1 million served by a broadband competitor.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai in a statement said the move was like telling two people you will buy them lunch, ordering two entrees, and then sending both to just one of your companions.

“It runs directly against the goal of promoting greater internet access for all Americans.”

The American Cable Association petitioned the FCC to reverse the requirement in 2016.

The group warned it would have “devastating effects on the smaller broadband providers Charter will overbuild” because they would face competition from an “uneconomic, government mandated entry” that could put some companies out of business.

But equally it could create a situation where cable companies divide up regions to get local monopolies.

UK has the world’s fastest mobile internet

flash_superhero_running-t2Its government might have collapsed and opposition in disarray following Brexit, but the UK can pat itself on the back for having the world’s fastest mobile broadband.

According to data and graphics from the First Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet Report, which can be found on the Akamai State of the Internet site the average mobile connection speed in the UK was 27.9 Mbps making it the world’s best. The world’s worst was the 2.2 Mbps Algerians have to suffer from.

The United States’ average speed was 5.1 Mbps, which was lower than Turkey, Kenya, and Paraguay, and on par with Thailand. Many European countries more than doubled the average U.S. speed, including Slovakia with 13.3 Mbps, France with 11.5 Mbps, and Germany with 15.7 Mbps.

The report said that Global average connection speed increased 12 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2015 to 6.3 Mbps, a 23 per cent increase year over year.

Global average peak connection speed increased 6.8 per cent to 34.7 Mbps in the first quarter, rising 14 per cent year over year.

Global 10 Mbps grew by ten percent, 15 Mbps grew by 14 per cent, and 25 Mbps broadband adoption grew by 19 per cent.

This are expected to hot up this quarter as the internet prepare to watch the Olympic games in Brazil, with expectations that this year’s events will be watched by more online viewers than ever.

David Belson, editor of the State of the Internet Report. ‘Global connection speeds have more than doubled since the summer of 2012, which can help support higher quality video streaming for bigger audiences across even more connected devices and platforms.’

The number of unique IPv4 addresses connecting to the Akamai Intelligent Platform declined 0.2 per cent to 808 million.

Belgium remained the clear global leader in IPv6 adoption with 36 per cent of its connections to Akamai occurring over IPv6, down 3.1 per cent from the previous quarter.


Americans cutting their wires

huge.5.27492Americans are starting to give up on land based broadband are are connecting using their mobiles rather than  fixed, wired Internet connections to their homes.

The study, conducted for the Commerce Department by the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that Low-income Americans are still one of the biggest demographics to rely solely on their phones to get online. Nearly a third of households earning less than $25,000 a year exclusively use mobile Internet to browse the Web. That’s up from 16 percent in 2013. It seems that you have to be fairly wealthy in the US to have a land-based wired connection to your home.

But it seems that those with higher incomes are also ditching their wired Internet access at similar or even faster rates. In 2013, 8 percent of households making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year were mobile-only. Fast-forward a couple of years, and that figure is 18 percent.

Seventeen percent of households making between $75,000 and $100,000 are mobile-only now, compared with 8 percent two years ago. And 15 percent of households earning more than $100,000 are mobile-only, versus 6 percent in 2013. One in five US households are now mobile-only, compared with one in 10 in 2013.

This suggests that mobile Internet access may no longer be explained simply as the result of financial hardship but could be a conscious choice, at least for wealthier people, who are deciding it’s not necessary to have both.


Most of broadband is streaming video

old-school-tvA report from broadband services company Sandvine shows that 70 percent of the Web traffic is streaming video and audio.

The report shows that most internet use is during peak evening hours and indicates that the world wide wibble is no longer the thing that brings you websites and email and is now bringing video.

If you think this is obvious, Sandvine says that five years ago, video/audio represented 35 percent of prime-time usage. Now it has doubled, to 70 percent.

Most of the increase comes from YouTube and Netflix, which sucks up half of broadband usage a couple of years ago and continues to grow. These services are joined by relatively new entrants, like Amazon and Hulu, which barely registered a couple of years ago and now account for nearly six percent of usage.

Amazon’s PR agency pointed out that Amazon now represents one of the top three sources of video traffic in North America, up from number eight on Sandvine’s 2014 report.

Video and audio, primarily YouTube, dominate mobile usage, too. But Facebook and Snapchat are also big. Video and audio accounts for 41 percent of mobile traffic, and social media eats up 22 percent.


Ofcom launches wi-fi checker

wi-fi symbolThe regulatory authority in charge of communications here in the UK has introduced an app for smartphones and tablets that will check their wi-fi connection.

The Ofcom Wi-Fi checker tests the quality of your wi-fi and also provides guidance on how to improve signals.

Research it released today shows over five million UK homes could improve their signal.

In a statement, it said that broadband can be slowed by fairy lights, microwave ovens, baby monitors and even a lamp.

The app is available for both iOS and Android, via the Apple app store and Google Play.

In separate news, Ofcom said that rural areas are still badly off for broadband speed. But BT is testing speeds in Swansea using G.fast, that can motor along at as much as 500Mbps.

Smartwatch sales bigged up

Apple watchSales of smart watches worldwide are predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 152 percent between now and 2019/

That’s according to a report from Technavio, which predicts increased penetration of smartphones, high speed broadband and other technical breakthroughs let people use a number of different services including near field communication (NFC).

Faisal Ghaus, a VP of Technavio and who wrote the report predicted the demand for smartwatches is very likely to grow.

He said Apple and Google are testing screen consoles to give people better touch for smartwatches.

The major players in the display side of smartwatches are Futaba, Japan Display, LG Electronics, Samsung and Sharp.

Ghaus said there is demand for both rigid and flexible displays.

Virgin Media speeds up its broadband

Virgin VividVirgin Media said today it will introduce 200Mbps broadband to its UK customers under a new branding called Vivid.

The company will contact UK customers this week to tell them how they can optin to an upgrade from the 1st October at no charge.

Virgin claims that 200Mbps means that a two hour HD movie can be downloaded in just over three minutes, and a music album in three seconds.

The company said that it will be able to deploy the speeds to 90 percent of its five million or so customers by the end of this year.

There will be options to upgrade to 70Mbps, Vivid 150Mbps and Vivid 200Mbps.

It’s not immediately clear why Virgin Media will offer these different speeds, although it is piggybacking on ultrafast optical fibre.

UK people need more than 10Mbps

fibre-broadband-strands-imageBeancounters at Ovum have calculated that in the UK, users need at least least 10Mbps. This figure will increase when UHD telly kicks off, probably need a five fold increase.

This figure is bad news for the government which is hoping that users will applaud if it forces the telcos to give them a 2Mbps and a top speed of 10 Mbps.

The analyst firm has published a report assessing both objective data like speed, coverage and momentum as well as subjective factors like service experience and consumer network score in 30 countries.

It says this should give communications providers a better idea of what consumers are experiencing and what they need to satisfy customers.

Ovum found that the best consumer experience relies on three main factors: download speeds of 10Mbps, a stable and reliable network that delivers content within three seconds and “outstanding customer service” that deals with most issues at the first point of contact.

The average broadband speed in the UK is 23Mbps, according to regulator Ofcom, which is also considering increasing the universal service obligation from 2Mbps to 10Mbps in recognition of consumer demands. For those who wanted to stream ultra high definition 4K video, the minimum requirement is 50Mbps, according to the report.

Sweden finished first with an overall score of 88 percent, while the UK rated joint-eighth with Russia and the USA on 74 percent. Romania was second, Canada third, while Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Germany completed the top ten.

Ovum’s Michael Philpott, co-author of the report said that pressure on broadband service provided to consumers is compounded by the rise in connected devices.

“Homes in mature markets were found to typically have up to four devices connected to the network, all of which have the potential to support a wide range of applications.

Much of the debate at the UBBF has centred on how telcos must ‘reimagine’ their networks to offer a good video experience, not just for consumers, but also for enterprises who use video for communication, logistics and other purposes.

“With a clear link between poor user experience and customer churn, broadband service providers need to continue to invest in broadband infrastructure in order to provide their customers with the best broadband experience and maintain a satisfied customer base,” Philpott said.


BT Openreach slammed by Bob the Builder

bob-the-builder-icon-v8BT has been slammed for not connecting new building sites with broadband fast enough.

The Guardian  brought to light several cases where BT Openreach was dragging its feet providing broadband to new building estates.

A new development in Cambridge has been without broadband for months and while everyone has a phone line for some reason BT can’t provide the ‘correct cables’ for broadband”.

Without broadband, the owners can’t get other sorts of services which most Brits take for granted, such as Sky.

Openreach claims that 93.5 percent  of new lines were installed in time in the last quarter of 2014. It’s the 6.5 percent that fail that concern developers who have to face the flak from angry buyers.

Steve Turner of the Home Builders Federation said: “During a site’s development house builders put in the infrastructure to carry the cables, but are then totally reliant on the broadband suppliers to install and connect up the telecom lines.”

“The industry is as frustrated as those new-home buyers experiencing delays to broadband connectivity,” he said,

Openreach blames the delays on “the explosion of housebuilding across the UK”, however it is not clear where it is getting its numbers from new homes built rose only 8 per cent last year.

“We are working flat out but we recognise that there’s more to do,” says a spokesperson.

Turner said Openreach needs to address poor performance. The Federation is helping them better plan resources to ensure that these problems don’t persist as the industry expands housing supply.

Last year the telecoms regulator Ofcom ordered Openreach to get its act together and imposed a “quality of service” requirement which obliges it, among other things, to send an engineer within 12 days of a new line being ordered.

It has until next April to meet the new targets and Ofcom says it’s currently assessing how it has fared in the first 12 months since they were imposed.

4G coverage in Europe grows

European flagA report issued by the European Commission (EC) said that nearly eight out 10 households in the European Union had access to 4G LTE broadband at the end of last year.

The EC report said that next generation access (NGA) broadband was now available to 68.1 percent of EU homes, meaning that there were 15.5 million households using 30Mbps or greater broadband compared to last year.

Fixed broadband coverage was flat at 97 percent, indicating that member states are now focusing more on mobile tech and NGA.

And there is better news for people in the EU living in rural communities, with NGA coverage growing from 18.1 percent in 2013 to 25.1 percent last year.

The standout countries in Europe are Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden – they have 99 percent LTE coverage. The Czech Republic and Malta also saw considerable growth in 2014. Malta had no coverage in 2013 but 67 percent of people there have access to LTE now.

Fibre to the front door – which gives very fast broadband connections – was available in the European Union to 18.7 percent of households. Lithuania and Latvia are leading the rest of the states.