Brsk doubles customers in Manchester FTTP deployment


Alternative network provider Brsk are progressing well with their new gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network as they announced hitting 1,000 customers across Manchester. This is a 100% increase from December 2022 when they had 500 sign-ups in the area.  

The Manchester deployment, which Brsk started building early last year, now serves customers across South Manchester, including Stockport, Sale, Didsbury, Edgeley, Reddish, Withington, Burnage, Heaton Mersey, and Parrs Wood.  

This is good progress for one of the UK’s fastest growing altnets with their related press release stating “it’s been a very successful period overall for us, with our network having passed the 150,000 homes mark in recent weeks”.  

Brsk has promised to follow up on this success by aiming to get the following areas online in short order; Stretford, Cheadle, Gatley, Rusholme, Levenshulme, Longsight, Chorlton, Wilmslow, Wythenshawe, Timperley, and Altrincham.  

With plans of passing 1 million homes by 2026, Brsk are treating milestones like this as sign to the market that they are on track to meet their ambitious goals.  

This could be good news for local residents looking for an alternative provider, especially with regular promotional discounts throughout the year, including free setup and installation (worth £150) for every customer along with frozen prices for existing customers in 2023 as well. Altnets like Brsk are proving to be a welcome force behind driving gigabit capable internet across the North. 

For more on connectivity across the North of the UK, there is no better place to engage with the industry and top regional players than Connected North 2023, April 17-18. Tickets are on sale now and you won’t want to miss the agenda!

MTN commits funds to Ghana’s ICT plans

MTN Ghana has broken ground prior to the construction of the Ghana ICT Hub, itself part of the broader Ghana Innovation Hub project to which MTN has committed US$25 million.

The Ghana ICT Hub, which will be the first of its kind in the West African sub-region, will train over 200,000 people with ICT skills and, it is hoped, generate over 100,000 jobs over the first three years.

Additionally, it will provide office spaces and meeting venues for over 100 tech start-ups and tech companies, all in a bid to serve as a catalyst for Ghana’s digitalisation agenda.

The Ghana ICT Hub will, according to government, contribute to boosting Ghana’s ICT and digital ecosystem by providing infrastructural development and resources to enhance ICT skills training and development across the country. The Innovation Hub includes two other projects as well as the Ghana ICT Hub: the Accra Innovation City and the Ghana Education Platform.

Speaking at the ground-breaking event, which was attended by government officials, board members of the Ghana Digital Centres Limited and MTN staff, Selorm Adadevoh, CEO of MTN Ghana, said the establishment of the Ghana ICT Hub would power Ghana to be West Africa’s ICT leader through innovation and digital skills.

The Ghanaian Times report quotes him as saying: « MTN’s decision to partner and support the establishment of the Ghana ICT Hub falls right in line with our Ambition 2025 roadmap of leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.”

The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, added that the decision by MTN to build an ICT hub in Ghana as part of its 25th anniversary was very critical towards realising Ghana’s digital agenda.


FCC talks ‘big picture items’ at Connected America 2023


Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Press Secretary, Paloma Perez, highlighted the progress of a trio of key initiatives: the Affordable Connectivity Programme (ACP), the Broadband Maps, and closing the Homework Gap

Speaking at the first ever edition of Total Telecom’s Connected America conference in Dallas, Texas, FCC Press Secretary Paloma Perez took to the stage for the morning keynote address, shedding light on some of the Commission’s key initiatives for bringing connectivity to every US citizen.

The Affordable Connectivity Programme

In November 2021, the US government signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act) into law, setting aside $65 billion to provide affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet across the country.

For Perez, the IIJA was “a major plot twist” in US broadband history, providing a once in a lifetime opportunity to help ensure that connectivity can reach ‘everyone, everywhere’ in the US.

As part of the IIJA, the government ordered the FCC to create the ACP, helping to subsidise broadband costs for those citizens that need it most. The programme devised by the FCC allows eligible low-income households to receive discounts of up to $30 a month for broadband services, which can increase to $75 if the household is on Tribal lands. In addition, eligible homes may also be able to receive up to $100 dollars to go towards purchasing a computer or tablet.

The ACP has been running since New Year’s Day 2022, with 17 million households having already enrolled nationwide.

“In Texas alone, it’s almost 1.3 million households,” explained Perez. “That’s 1.3 million Texas homes with connections they need for work, school or anything else. That’s 1.3 million Texas homes finding it a little easier to make ends meet each month.”

Perez noted that there are millions more households that are eligible for ACP support and have yet to sign up.

“Earlier this month, we made announcements for the first round of grants, with just about every state and territory receiving funds to support these outreach efforts. And we anticipate having a second, more targeted outreach grant funding opportunity available later this year,” she added.

The FCC’s Broadband Maps

In November 2022, the FCC released new broadband maps, providing a snapshot of infrastructure deployment across the US. Since then, these broadband maps have been open to challenge by stakeholders, allowing the FCC to create a more accurate as more deployment data is assimilated.

“To date, stakeholders – primarily state governments – have stepped up to provide more than 6—bulk challenges covering provider reported availability at several million locations,” explained Perez. “In the past four months, our mapping team has processed challenges to availability data for over four million locations. In other words, we are addressing availability challenges to tens of thousands of locations every single day.”

The broadband maps are currently updated every fortnight to incorporate resolved challenges.

In addition to incorporating these latest updates into their broadband map, the FCC is also in the process of updating their version of the Fabric, the Commission’s term for their locations dataset.

Initially developed on more than 200 public and commercial data sources, the first version of the Fabric identified over 113 million locations where fixed broadband could be installed. Now, the second version of the Fabric is almost complete, bringing with it a net increase of 1.04 million serviceable locations.

This net gain is comprised of 2.96 million additional serviceable locations, with major increases recorded in Alaska, US territories, and on Tribal lands, as well as the removal of 1.92 million locations, like garages and sheds, that had been included erroneously.

According to Perez, the FCC is now on track to release the new and improved maps later this Spring.

“And we’ll do it again and again, every six months, constantly strengthening this foundation for smarter broadband policymaking for years to come,” said Perez.

Ending the Homework Gap

Finally, Perez touched on the progress being made in the US to shrink the Homework Gap, a term related to those children who do not have access to broadband connectivity at home, which has become closely associated with FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in recent years.

The Emergency Connectivity Fund, launched in June 2021, set aside $7.17 billion to help provide schools and libraries with the connectivity tools and services their communities require to facilitate an remote learning and an improved education. Since then, the programme has connected over 12.5 million students with broadband connections and equipment, having provided over 10 million devices and 5 million broadband connections.

“It’s not just a piece of equipment and a Wi-Fi connection,” said Perez. “It’s a piece of hope. It’s knowing your family now has a much fairer shot at achieving their goals and building a better future for themselves.”

Connected America is taking place right now! Keep up to date with all the latest news from the event using the hashtag #ConnectedAmerica

Also in the news:
Fibre overtakes cable in the Netherlands
Ericsson IoT Accelerator to manage the connectivity for Lyft e-bikes and scooters
Spring Equinox? It seems Ofcom aren’t certain of the balance

Fixed broadband to boost Indian fixed comms service revenue, says GlobalData

Total fixed communication services revenue in India is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% from US$10.2 billion in 2022 to US$13.9 billion in 2027, mainly driven by the strong growth in the fixed broadband segment. That’s the view of data and analytics company GlobalData in its India Fixed Communications Forecast (Q1 2023).

The report points out that fixed voice services revenue will, in fact, decline at a CAGR of 1% over 2022-2027, owing to the drop in circuit switched subscriptions and a decline in fixed voice average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) levels as users increasingly adopt OTT-based communication services, and operators include free voice minutes with their fixed bundled plans.

However, according to Srikanth Vaidya, Telecom Analyst at GlobalData, fixed broadband services revenue will increase at a CAGR of 7.3% during 2022-2027, “driven,” he says, “by the solid growth in broadband subscriptions, especially fibre broadband, and increasing broadband ARPU levels”.

GlobalData says it is optimistic about India’s fixed broadband services outlook and estimates fibre optic lines to hold over 85% of total broadband lines in 2027, supported by government investments in fibre network infrastructure and operators’ FTTH service expansions. As a result, fibre optic service revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.2% between 2022 and 2027.

Not too surprisingly perhaps, Reliance Jio is set to lead the country’s fixed broadband services market in terms of subscription share over the forecast period, supported by its strong position in the growing fibre broadband service segment and efforts to upgrade its FTTH network. The operator’s promotional offers on its broadband plans are expected to help the company maintain its leadership in the market over the forecast period.

Vaidya concludes: “Rising demand for high-speed internet services and competitively priced fibre broadband plans from operators, with benefits like unlimited internet and access to major SVoD platforms, are expected to drive fibre broadband service adoption in India during the forecast period.” 


BT and AWS expand partnership around IoT and 5G edge computing

Press Release

BT Group’s Digital Unit and Amazon Web Services (AWS) today announce a new, wide-ranging strategic collaboration agreement, building on the existing partnership between the companies that already sees AWS play a key role in supporting the Group’s modernisation.

The new partnership covers a few core areas:

·       An agreement to collaborate on new Internet of Things (IoT) industry solutions that help UK and global customers take advantage of the efficiency and innovation benefits next generation connectivity offers

·       BT becomes a Channel Partner for AWS Marketplace, providing a single source for managed solutions to its customers

·       New 5G edge computing services for BT’s UK business customers powered by AWS Wavelength

Collectively, the collaboration agreement targets a $500m revenue opportunity for BT across the spectrum of connectivity and digital solutions and services, in the UK and worldwide, over the next five years.

Connected industry

BT Group’s IoT platform is already built on AWS, delivering connected device capabilities across healthcare, smart places, ports, manufacturing and transport and logistics, including work at Belfast Harbour and the Association of British Ports in Ipswich.  As part of this agreement, the two companies will work together to advance BT’s  existing IoT services and create new ones that combine AWS services with BT’s leading network and service delivery expertise to solve problems for customers across a variety of vertical industries. The new solutions and services that will be explored through the partnership are focussed on delivering value and opportunity for BT’s customers in the UK and globally as they tackle a wide range of challenges.

Reseller partnership

BT becoming an AWS Marketplace Channel Partner allows the company to offer additional enhanced managed security and third party Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to its customers globally. BT has already started offering customers the opportunity to buy software elements of managed service agreements through the AWS Marketplace. This allows BT customers to benefit from improved simplicity when purchasing via AWS Marketplace, allowing them to retire their annual spend commitments and make use of available AWS programme incentives, while retaining the value of working with BT as a managed service partner to deliver the solution end-to-end.

“AWS and BT Group have shared ambitions at the intersection of cloud and connectivity, and we’re delighted that we have this partnership to frame how we will work together to accelerate these outcomes, for our customers and for the Group,” explains Thomas Duecke, Chief Operating Officer, Digital, at BT Group.

“Moving from a connectivity provider to a digital services provider is a strategic shift to help communication service providers unlock growth,” said Adolfo Hernandez, Vice President and General Manager, Telecom Global Industry Business Unit, AWS. “This new agreement with AWS helps BT accelerate that journey and deliver greater value to its customers.”

For more information on AWS & BT’s partnership for 5G edge computing services, see here. More information on the companies’ collaboration on cloud networking will be released later in the year.

Also in the news:
Fibre overtakes cable in the Netherlands
Ericsson IoT Accelerator to manage the connectivity for Lyft e-bikes and scooters
Spring Equinox? It seems Ofcom aren’t certain of the balance

LEO sat company OneWeb ready to roll out global coverage by year end

Low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company OneWeb has confirmed the successful deployment and contact of 36 satellites launched by NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR) in Sriharikota, India, on Sunday 26 March.

This is OneWeb’s 18th launch, its third this year, bringing its constellation to 618 satellites. The OneWeb constellation design calls for 588 satellites for global coverage; additional satellites are planned for resiliency and redundancy.

Thus, the plan is that by the end of this year OneWeb will be ready to roll out global coverage, enhancing its existing connectivity solutions that are already live in regions north of 50 degrees latitude as it brings new areas online by partnering with leading providers.

This mission marks OneWeb’s second satellite deployment from India, which, says the company, highlights its commitment to provide connectivity across the length and breadth of the country. Once activated, OneWeb says its coverage solutions will bring secured connectivity to Indian enterprises, towns, villages, municipalities and schools, including the most remote areas across the country.

As India’s Economic Times news service points out, the company, co-owned by Bharti Group and the UK government, was awarded a GMPCS (global mobile personal communications by satellite services) permit from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) about a year ago. Reliance Jio has also received a GMPCS licence to roll out satellite broadband services.

Other satellite service providers like Starlink, Nelco and Amazon’s Project Kuiper could also choose to compete in the Indian satellite broadband market. All, however, appear to be waiting for clarity on a space communications policy. This will define the role of the Indian National Space Promotion & Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) — a central regulatory body — and authorise it to issue landing rights and market access clearances. 


China to pass one billion 5G connections by 2025, says GSMA

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