Sunday, February 4, 2018

Openreach commits to "Fibre First" for the UK

Openreach announced plans to accelerate its rollout of Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) across the UK.

The new "Fibre First Programme" represents a strategic shift in the way that Openreach thinks about last mile infrastructure. Going forward, the company will seek to deploy "fibre first" wherever possible, including in rural areas.

Openreach said its new goal is to reach three million homes and businesses by the end of 2020. The programme will start in a few months in an initial eight cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London, and Manchester.

Reaching an all-fibre network across the UK is a massive and Openreach said the full rollout may take decades.

"I believe Openreach can be at the heart of this digital revolution and has a critical role to play in ensuring the UK has a FTTP network, fit for the future. The prize for our wholesale customers, their customers and the UK as a whole is huge," stated Clive Selley, Openreach CEO.

SD-WAN Video Spotlight - Tata Communications



Enterprise customers desire flexibility, agility, self-service, and clean economics in their network infrastructure. Tata Communications has invested in an SD-WAN that meets these expectations, says
Bob Laskey, Senior VP and Regional Head of Americas, Tata Communications.

See video: https://youtu.be/6fcYxaFDbww


Eir withdraws from Ireland's National Broadband Plan tender

Eir, the former incumbent telecoms operator in Ireland, has withdrawn its bid from Ireland's National Broadband Plan (NBP) tender process.

The company, which was shortlisted due to its extensive network infrastructure and business experience, cited significant commercial issues and complexity with the tender process. Eir concluded that the uncertainty on a range of regulatory and pricing issues presented too many risks to continue with a bid.

In a press release, Eir said it remains committed to supporting the NBP through commercial access to its network.

Eir also noted that it has invested €1.6bn to improve the telecommunications infrastructure in Ireland and that it now delivers high-speed broadband to 1.7 million premises across the country. Eir also remains fully committed to completing the rollout of high-speed broadband in rural Ireland through the commitment contract it signed with the Government in April 2017 to deliver speeds of up to 1,000Mb/s to 300,000 rural homes and businesses. Upon completion, 80% of premises in Ireland will have access to high-speed broadband.

France's Iliad to acquire Ireland's Eir for €3.5 billion

Iliad, the fully-integrated operator in France with nearly 20 million subscribers, has agreed to acquire eir, the Irish telecommunications and broadband carrier, for approximately €3.5 billion.

eir, which was formerly the state-owned telecom monopoly in Ireland until 1999 (Telecom Eireann), is currently owned by an investor group including Anchorage Capital Group, L.L.C, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, GIC, and management.

The offer from Iliad is backed by NJJ Group, the private investment firm of telecoms investor and operator Xavier Niel, who is a prominent French businessman.  Niel is the founder of and owns 52% of Iliad where he serves as Deputy Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer. Under the deal, NJJ will own 32.9% of eir. Iliad SA will own 31.6% of eir. Shareholders Anchorage Capital Group and Davidson Kempner will retain a combined 35.5% share in the company, respectively 26.6% and 8.9%.

eir had revenue of €1.3 billion and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation of €520 million in the financial year to June 30, 2017. eir has about 32% share of the retail fixed broadband market in Ireland. Its share of the retail mobile market is about 18%.

Some additional notes about eir's operations in Ireland as of 30-September-2017:

  • 1,061,000 total mobile customers
  • 48.5% of customers are on postpay contracts
  • eir has approximately 96% LTE coverage
  • Strong momentum in FTTH connections - 12,000 connections, 72% of customers new to eir
  • 1,700,000 premises passed with fibre, including 80,000 of the 300,000 rural premises 
  • 551,000 fiber broadband connections, 61% of total broadband base
  • 896,000 total broadband connections, up 42,000 or 5% year on year 
  • 25% of customers now on triple or quad play bundles
  • eir Vision TV service has a customer base of 71,000 customers, up 17,000 year on year
Iliad, which operates under the "Free" brand, had nearly 13.4 million mobile and 6.5 million broadband subscribers as of 30-September-2017. Its market capitalisation is approximately €12 billion.

ZTE boosts VDSL2 with 35b bonding

ZTE has added 35b bonding profile support to its VDSL2 CPE device. Profile 35b technology can provide downstream rates three times those of profile 17a by expanding the spectrum to 35 MHz.

ZTE said the 35b bonding profile enables the CPE to deliver 500 Mbps downstream and 100 Mbps upstream rates over a 200-meter telephone line.

The company noted that profile 35b and other profiles, such as 17a, can use vectoring technology in the same bundle of telephone line pairs, thereby bringing the speed of multiple line pairs in actual deployments close to the speed achievable in ideal noiseless conditions.

ZTE ZXHN H186 is designed as a bridge modem with two GE ports at the LAN side. If an existing home gateway is linked to a GE port of the ZXHN H186, its rates can be upgraded to up to 500 Mbps downstream.

ZTE has shipped over 280 million CPE devices to date.

The CEOs of Verizon and KT complete 5G video call

Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam and KT chairman and CEO Chang-Gyu Hwang conducted a pre-commercial 5G video call on Sunday, February 4, 2018.

McAdam was in Minneapolis and Hwang was in Seoul.  Both participants used a prototype 5G tablet from Samsung.

Orange Business acquires Enovacom for e-health

Orange Business Services agreed to Enovacom, a software developer based in Marseille and dedicated to e-health. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Enovacom's software suite facilitates the exchange, sharing and security of data between all players in the healthcare system. Its solutions are found in over 1 500 healthcare institutions in France and abroad. In particular, Enovacom software is used to manage and secure hospitals’ electronic exchanges with their various partners.

Enovacom will become part of Orange Healthcare.

“Incorporating the skills of a healthcare publisher like Enovacom enables us to move up the value chain to offer more comprehensive e-heath solutions to our customers and in particular to hospitals. By acquiring such an innovative and effective player, we are strengthening our growth strategy in the healthcare market, especially under the Territorial Hospital Groups (Groupements Hospitaliers de Territoire) reform, which has made communication between hospitals and equipment interoperability a major issue,” says Thierry Bonhomme, Deputy CEO of the Orange Group, in charge of Orange Business Services.

Verizon and Ericsson complete NB-IoT Guard Band test

Verizon and Ericsson completed a series of tests of Narrowband IoT Guard band data sessions. The trials uses the latest Massive Internet of Things Ericsson software on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. 

NB-IoT Guard band technology occupies a dedicated frequency of 180 kHz bandwidth designated for IoT applications which does not share spectrum resources with commercial smartphone traffic.

Verizon has already launched a commercial CAT M1 IoT service that targets applications for business customers such as wearables, fleet and asset management, NB-IoT Guard band focuses on applications needing data rates below 100 kbps.

Bill Stone, Vice President - Network Planning at Verizon said, “We are committed to providing more customer options to the IoT ecosystem by leading with new technologies and capabilities such as NB-IoT Guard band that efficiently use dedicated spectrum and target different customer requirements for throughput and battery life.”

“The IoT ecosystem has tremendous potential for further growth and development,” said Kevin Zvokel, Head of Networks for Ericsson in North America. “With our IoT commercial software in combination with Verizon’s network, we are pleased to pave the way for future growth in this important segment.”

T-Mobile US tests NB-IoT guard band

T-Mobile U.S. successfully tested Narrowband IoT in guard bands. The carrier announced that testing has been conducted in the lab and in the field. NB-IoT is live in Las Vegas and T-Mobile aims to turn on the service nationwide by mid-year.



Intel leads $100 million investment in Joby Aviation

Joby Aviation, a start-up developing an all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft, raised $100 million in a Series B funding round led by Intel Capital.

Joby Aviation is working on a 5-seat aircraft capable of flying 150 miles (240km) on a charge.  The company is based in Santa Cruz, California.

Besides Intel Capital, additional investors in this funding round included Singapore-based EDBI, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Allen & Company, AME Cloud Ventures, and Ron Conway, as well as existing investors Capricorn Investment Group, 8VC, Sky Dayton and Paul Sciarra. This brings the company’s total funding to over $130 million.

“People waste billions of hours sitting on roads worldwide each year. We envision a future where commuting by eVTOL is a safer, faster, and  cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation,” said Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “We have spent the last ten years developing
the technologies that have made our full-scale technical demonstrator possible and are now ready to build a commercial version of the aircraft. We’re excited to have attracted the backing of leaders in auto manufacturing, data intelligence, and transportation sectors.”

SK Hynix ships 72-Layer 512Gb 3D NAND Flash SSD

SK Hynix announced an enterprise SATA Solid State Drive based on its 72-Layer 512Gb (Gigabits) 3D NAND Flash chips.

SK Hynix combined the 72-Layer 512Gb 3D NAND Flash with its in-house firmware and controller to provide the maximum density of 4TB.  The drive supports sequential read and write speed of up to 560MB/s (Megabytes per second) and 515MB/s, respectively, and it can perform 98,000 random read IOPS and 32,000 random write IOPS. SK Hynix also improved the read latency, which is of the utmost importance in eSSD performance. The Company is sampling the product to server and data center clients in the United States.

SK Hynix is also sampling an enterprise PCIe (PCI Express) SSD to server and data center clients. The PCIe SSD will also use the 72-Layer 3D NAND and have a capacity of more than 1TB. The 1TB PCIe SSD operates at 2,700MB/s and 1,100MB/s of sequential read/write speed and runs random read/write performance of 230,000 IOPS and 35,000 IOPS.

See also