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nbnTM names six shops to re-build Telstra's HFC network

nbnTM, the entity building and operating Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), has named the six companies it has chosen to turn the hybrid fibre coax (HFC) network it acquired from Telstra into a white-hot broadband delivery beast. Lend Lease, Broadspectrum, Fulton Hogan, Downer, ISGM and BSA are the six firms to have …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jul 2016

Keep up the pressure on the telcos, Canada

Sysadmin Blog Bell Canada has lost their second appeal of the July 2015 decision by the CRTC requiring the opening of fibre networks by Canada's major telcos for wholesale consumption by third party ISPs. The result solidifies Canada's presence amongst the nations embracing Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) and heralds a round of massive changes in …
Trevor Pott, 12 Jul 2016
shutterstock_170724905-Fibre

CityFibre takes on Ofcom over pledge to open BT ducts and poles

Small broadband provider CityFibre has complained to the competitions watchdog that Ofcom is backtracking on its promise to break the country's dependency on BT's Openreach by forcing greater access to its ducts and poles. In its Digital Communications Review (1.23, page 10) in February, Ofcom said it would open up the former …
Kat Hall, 6 Jul 2016
stripped copper for recycling

Oz competition regulator seeks input on ending wholesale ADSL declaration

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is considering whether the eventual advent of the National Broadband Network (NBN) means wholesale DSL regulation can be retired. Wholesale ADSL – that is, where a reseller is taking the service from an infrastructure owner like Telstra, and adding their own billing – …
Telstra copper in broken pit

Telstra restarting long-stalled ADSL investment

Telstra CEO Andy Penn, while promising to spend AU$250 million improving the Telstra network, has, without much fuss, re-started investment in ADSL infrastructure. That announcement is in the context of a National Broadband Network that's supposed to make ADSL obsolete. In this blog post, Penn says the mobile network's $50 …
A freight train travels through the Bow Valley - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.  Photo by Brian Lasenby via Shutterstock

The problem with Canada? The price of broadband is too damn high

Opinion Openmedia, a digital rights advocacy group, has quickly become one of Canada's leading civil liberties organizations. Established in 2008 by Steve Anderson, Openmedia has run a series of successful campaigns which have made it the bane of Canada's telecoms oligopoly. Past campaigns have focused on everything from net …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jun 2016
Sun shines on the clouds. Photo by Shutterstock

Brexit, schmexit: BT and Oracle join hands for a cloudy tryst

BT has hopped into bed with Oracle in a deal that promises to provide the underlying network connectivity for Oracle’s hybrid cloud. BT Cloud Connect for OracleFastConnect is built on BT’s IP Connect virtual private network (VPN) and will link customers' on-premises IT to Oracle data centres in London or Amsterdam. The deal …
Kat Hall, 29 Jun 2016
SABREnet network detail

Can gigabit fibre services revive Adelaide?

The South Australian SABREnet, the local academic network that connects universities to the national AARNet network, is going to be expanded to provide high-speed connections for Adelaide businesses. Premier Jay Weatherill said yesterday the government will sling AU$4.7 million at the project, which will offer services up to …
Gilligan's Island

Maine town plans to become 'Gigabit Island'

A small community on an island off the coast of Maine says that it wants to give Gigabit internet service to all 560 of its residents. The town of Islesboro says it will be covering the costs of building and installing a municipal high-speed network. This despite having fewer than 300 households. Just three hundred households …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Jun 2016
Ross Bridge in Chattanooga TN

Chattanooga mayor credits muni broadband with aiding city's revival

The mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is crediting the city's recent economic surge to a decision to defy national ISPs and build its own broadband network. Speaking at an event in his city hosted by the Fiber to the Home Council, Mayor Andy Berke said that over the last three years, unemployment in Chattanooga has fallen from …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Jun 2016
Ultrasound

Telstra's 'future of medical diagnosis' needs just 5Mbps

A couple of weeks ago, Telstra breathlessly announced “the future of medical diagnosis”, namely “haptically-enabled robotics” that mean ultrasound examinations can be conducted remotely, complete with force-feedback so that a sonographer can guide their instrument over a distant body's lumps and bumps. I've often heard it …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2016
Fibre, image via Shutterstock

Fat fibre taxes strangling us – UK broadband providers

Broadband providers have hit out against a forthcoming hike in business rates which will dramatically increase the tax paid on fibre optic networks. The increase in tax is decided by the Valuation Office Agency, which sets rates for all businesses accessing land. The body is in the process of updating the rateable values of …
Kat Hall, 17 Jun 2016
Fibre, image via Shutterstock

Nokia to Oz: 5G will need fibre, and lots of it

Any time the politics of the National Broadband Network arises, someone with a bagful of buzzwords and a spoonful of clue will claim that wireless is going to make fibre obsolete. It shouldn't be necessary to refute that old chestnut, but it is, so Vulture South is pleased that Nokia's Oceania head of mobile networks has cold- …
Piledriver. Photo by Shutterstock

Virgin Media goes TITSUP* in South London due to painful piles

Thousands of South Londoners have been knocked offline due to a blunder by a construction worker slicing through a Virgin cable. On Tuesday afternoon, a major segment of Virgin Media's fibre cabling was cut by a pile driver on a construction site in Brixton. The cabling has yet to be repaired. Approximately 4,300 customers …
Kat Hall, 15 Jun 2016
Tape over mouth, image via Shutterstock

NBN chairman's rant breached caretaker conventions says public service boss

An op-ed written by nbnTM chairman Ziggy Switkowsky defending the company's handling of leaks breached the “caretaker conventions” that apply during election campaigns. That's according to the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Martin Parkinson, in a letter published by Fairfax today. Following the …
Dallas, Texas

Who shot JR (that great Dallas broadband)?

Add Dallas, Texas to the ranks of cities set to enjoy Google Fiber broadband. The Chocolate Factory has begun exploring the Lone Star city as a likely market for the broadband service. The third-largest city in Texas would be among the largest US markets to benefit from the Chocolate Factory's high-speed broadband network. " …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Jun 2016
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NBN 'copper guru' ads pulled from Monster.ie

Job ads in Ireland seeking “copper jointers” and “copper gurus” for the National Broadband Network have been pulled from Monster.ie after they were spotted by Australian media. The advertisements were placed by a recruiter, and while they were seeking staff to work on the National Broadband Network, the company in charge of …
Cut cable

You. Comcast, TWC, Charter, DirecTV, Dish. Get in here and explain yourselves – Congress

The US Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has called on the nation's cable and satellite providers to testify about their customer service failings. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Rob Portman (R-OH) said that they have requested that executives from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, DirecTV and Dish …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Jun 2016
NYC

Time Warner Cable, you've 'earned your miserable reputation' – NY Attorney General

The New York's Attorney General office is taking Time Warner Cable (TWC) to task for its poor service in the Big Apple. In an open letter to the recently embiggened US cable giant, enforcement counsel Tim Wu laid into TWC for failing to live up to its promises and provide adequate service. "In short, what we have seen in our …
Shaun Nichols, 9 Jun 2016
Fibre, image via Shutterstock

O2 chief techie: Light up dark fibre and unleash the small cell army

When it comes to improving mobile network coverage and increasing capacity with small cells, the UK needs more access to dark fibre and easier planning permissions. So says O2 CTO Brendan O’Reilly. Speaking to El Reg recently, O’Reilly said dark fibre was a prerequisite for small cells and heterogeneous networks (HetNets) as …

Controversial opinion time: Comcast sucks a tiny bit less this year

Comcast sucks less than last year, but still has a pretty miserable customer rating, according to the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The organization's new report [PDF] for 2016 shows a remarkable increase in satisfaction with the cable company – up 15 per cent, or eight points. But then it was starting …
Google provides great mobile coverage for Yetis

Goa grabs Google, whispers 'come here, you Loon'

The Indian state of Goa wants to attract Google to the region for its Project Loon balloon broadband trials. The news comes as the Chocolate Factory gets close to agreement with Indian carrier BSNL about spectrum sharing. India's national government has long shown an interest in Loon. In November 2015, the minister in charge …
Portland, Oregon

Comcast slapped with eight-figure tax bill after package fails to impress

The US state of Oregon says it will charge Comcast tens of millions of dollars in taxes after revoking a tax break the cable giant had claimed on its broadband service. The state's Department of Revenue (DOR) has denied a request by Comcast that it be granted an exemption reserved for companies that offer gigabit internet …
Shaun Nichols, 27 May 2016
Bill_Halbert_Kcom

It's a Hull of a thing: Kcom takes a break from 8-year sales slide

Telecoms provider Kcom stemmed its declining revenue for the first time in eight years, reporting growth of 0.4 per cent to £349.2m for the full year 2015/16. However, operating profit fell to £6.3m from £50.9m mainly due to increased investments, compared with the previous year. That was mainly due to its fibre roll-out in …
Kat Hall, 27 May 2016
Screenshot from the movie Airplane!

In-flight movies via BYOD? Just what I always wan... argh no we’re all going to die!

Something for the Weekend, Sir? It’s sunny outside, which can mean only one thing: I am about to go on holiday to a place where it will be pissing down with rain and sleet for the next fortnight. My globetrotting exploits have been limited this year, so I’m looking forward to enjoying my first experience of in-flight entertainment via Wi-Fi to my own device …
Alistair Dabbs, 27 May 2016
hand in chain mail glove cutting meat with sharp knife

Republicans move to gut FCC and crush its net neutrality crusade with paralyzing budget rules

A new budget proposal would effectively bar the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from enforcing its net neutrality provisions. Buried deep within the House Appropriations Committee budget proposal [PDF] is a set of new rules that limit the FCC's ability to use its funds for activities including the regulation of " …
Shaun Nichols, 26 May 2016
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NBN raid fallout continues, with Conroy formalising privilege claim

The Australian Labor Party's (ALP's) senator Stephen Conroy has formalised his claim of parliamentary privilege over documents seized in last week's Australian Federal Police raid of his office and the homes of two of his staffers. Conroy has sent a letter to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), a procedural step required to …
Keystone Cops

NBN leak pits minister against AFP commissioner

The Australian Federal Police's (AFP's) raid on Australian parliamentarians and their staffers over leaked documents on delays to the National Broadband Network (NBN) leaked-documents raid had more fallout over the weekend, with the AFP criticised for allowing an nbnTM staffer to photograph documents seized in Thursday night's …
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin

Australian Federal Police say government ignorant of NBN raids

Australian Federal Police (AFP) has confirmed it raided the office of Labor senator Stephen Conroy and the home of a staffer of opposition communications minister Jason Claire over leaked documents pertaining to Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN). Sensitive documents have been repeatedly leaked since late last year …
Darren Pauli, 20 May 2016
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Australian Federal Police raid former comms minister's office

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has searched the offices of Senator Stephen Conroy, the former Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has issued a statement about the “raid” on Conroy's office. Shadow AG Mark Dreyfus has released a statement regarding the AFP …
Simon Sharwood, 19 May 2016

UK digital minister denies legal right to 10Mbps is 'damp squib'

UK digital minister Ed Vaizey has denied government plans for a universal service obligation of 10Mps are a "damp squib" but admitted the government will keep the target "under review". Plans to give everyone in Blighty the legal right to 10Mbps were formalised in the unveiling of the Digital Economy Bill yesterday. They were …
Kat Hall, 19 May 2016

What's holding up Canada's internet?

Sysadmin Blog Canadian internet providers are frequently bemoaned as terrible. Americans get lots of media play about getting the sharp end of the stick from their providers, but many Canadians look longingly at the internet packages south of the border and wonder: what's the holdup in Canada? While Canadians usually like to fool ourselves …
Trevor Pott, 19 May 2016
Speedometer by Nathan E Photography, Flickr under CC2.0

Nokia offers up 10 Gbps HFC demo

Nokia Networks has applied the paddles to the chest of cable broadband, pumped in the volts, and sent it sprinting at 10 Gbps. While the company says the proof-of-concept work demonstrates the viability of CableLabs' DOCSIS 3.1 roadmap, it's not yet working directly with the group. The company showed off a demo of its XG- …
BT Openreach at work

Comms providers call on Ofcom to get tough on Openreach

Communications providers Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone have called on Ofcom to dramatically reform BT's Openreach in a "10 point plan" published today. The action plan published by membership body the Federation of Communication Services (FCS) follows a decision by Ofcom not to recommend a structural separation of Openreach …
Kat Hall, 16 May 2016
Netflix watch PLUS

Ofcom serves up an extra helping of airwaves for Wi-Fi

Ofcom plans to open up an extra sub-band to Blighty's Wi-Fi users, allowing the transmission of large amounts of data as well faster download speeds. The regulator claims that would improve the quality of service, especially for applications that need more internet capacity, such as high-definition video. Routers in the UK …
Kat Hall, 13 May 2016
A broken cable box

Cities are investigating, workers are on strike, but it's not all good news for Verizon

US telecoms giant Verizon is once again facing government scrutiny for a rollout of its network services in a major US city. The city of Philadelphia mayor's office has put out an open call to citizens asking if they have the ability to get Verizon FiOS, its fastest home fiber service. The campaign is part of an effort by …
Shaun Nichols, 12 May 2016
shutterstock_170724905-Fibre

A UK-wide fibre broadband investment plan? Don't ask awkward questions

Analysis The pace of fibre broadband deployment in the UK remains a highly contentious issue. But the current lack of fibre isn't our biggest problem: it's the absence of any national strategy. To put our fibre-to-the-premise broadband infrastructure into international perspective, FTTP services are only available to two per cent of UK …
Kat Hall, 11 May 2016
Telstra pit by https://www.flickr.com/photos/newtown_grafitti/ cc. 20 attribution generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

A modest proposal: dump the NBN mess on Telstra

Because Australia is now in an election campaign, various hopefuls are holding their breath in case (a) the NBN becomes A Serious Election Issue, and (b) the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) advances an alternative policy that brings fibre closer to the premises. The depressing truth is this: (a1) because of the …

Small broadband firms aren't fussed about getting access to BT's ducts and poles

Ofcom's move to open up BT's ducts and poles to competitors is the cornerstone of the regulator's strategy to break the country's reliance on the former state monopoly, but small fibre firms say they are not holding their breath. In February the regulator announced plans to open up BT's Openreach infrastructure to competitors …
Kat Hall, 9 May 2016

Don't split Openreach, says BT, and we'll splash BEELLIONS on broadband and 4G

British Telecom has offered the UK government a familiar devil's bargain: protect us from competition and we'll spend an extra £6 billion on our broadband networks. The carrier's Thursday announcement to the London Stock Exchange comes just after comparison site uSwitch published a damning analysis of UK broadband speeds. …
Bill Shorten by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cpsucsa/  CC 2.0  attribution sharealike generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

ALP promises 'fibre' NBN as 'NBN defenders' return with new petition

The Australian Labor Party has hinted at its policy for the nation's national broadband network (NBN), with leader Bill Shorten promising “a first-rate fibre national broadband network” in his Budget in Reply speech. Shorten's speech declared a “fibre” NBN “the most important piece of infrastructure to any 21st Century economy …
Aligator eating a crab

FCC gives the nod to $17.7bn US cable mega-merger (no, not that one)

America's internet mall cop the FCC has approved the proposed $17.7bn merger between Altice and US cable provider Cablevision. The deal, which is now only awaiting approval by state regulators, will give the Dutch-based telecoms biz Altice the fourth largest cable network in the US. If the gobble is successful, Cablevision …
Shaun Nichols, 4 May 2016