Australia’s massive bushfires are taking their toll on telecom infrastructure, setting off debates about how to build networks for a fire-prone future. The fires, which have so far burnt out 17 million hectares (42 million acres), have taken out dozens of mobile masts and other equipment, cutting off communities and hampering rescue and fire-fighting efforts.
At the fires’ peak on January 4 and 5, more than 100 base stations in the three bushfire-affected states were out of action. A week later, 30 had still not been restored. As a result, telcos have deployed interim services through “cell on wheels” units or satellite and Telstra is offering residents free WiFi via WiFi-enabled payphones.
Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, said the biggest cause of outages had been the loss of mains power supply rather than the destruction of the equipment, as most had backup power sources, but lasted only a limited time. He continued to say the physical resilience of future networks has become a big issue for operators.
CityFibre has announced the acquisition of FibreNation, which sees UK roll-out plans almost double in size.
Founded in 2018 after a joint venture between TalkTalk, Sky and CityFibre, FibreNation was launched to deploy full fiber infrastructure and services across York. It operates and continues to expand this network, where approximately 49,000 premises can currently access gigabit-speed broadband services from TalkTalk.
The takeover is valued at £200 and is part of an overall investment program by CityFibre totaling up to £4bn, which also has network construction projects underway in the Harrogate and Dewsbury regions, and is mobilizing in both Knaresborough and Ripon, with plans to make full fiber available to up to three million homes and businesses.
CityFibre spent the last months of 2019 accelerating its network, enabling the expansion of its Gigabit City Investment Programme across more than 100 towns and cities.
Telekom Austria’s subsidiary A1 is set to roll out 5G in 350 locations across 129 municipalities in Austria. The company claims its ‘A1 5Giganetwork’ will be the largest 5G network in Austria, spanning 54,000 km in length.
The launch follows Austria’s frequency auction in March last year, which A1 acquired spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band for €64.3 million.
“5G is the basis of Austria’s future digitalization and will open up unimagined opportunities for new services and applications. As A1, we were able to ensure that we purchased the best frequency equipment at the first 5G auction in 2019,” said Thomas Arnoldner, A1 Telekom Austria Group CEO.
“In combination with our fiber network, this now results in the largest 5Giganetwork. We see ourselves as drivers and companions of digitalization, we set the pace and thus support industry, business and private individuals alike,” he added.
Windstream has delivered faster internet connections to about 1.3 million locations in 2019.
The company accomplished the goal at the beginning of 2020, which involved expanding Kinetic Business 1-gig fiber internet to 100,000 homes and 100,000 businesses, while using other methods to boost speeds to another 1.1 million locations.
The buildout represents a total investment of roughly $400 million, and new customers have noticed. Windstream grew its Kinetic internet consumer subscriber base for two consecutive years, with a net addition of more than 28,000 customers in 2019 alone.
In addition to the fiber expansion, Windstream’s investments last year included fixed wireless, cable internet and other network equipment enhancements delivering speeds from 25-300 Mbps, with most upgraded locations qualifying for 100 Mbps or higher.
Vodafone has announced that it will be restructuring its deal with CityFibre to accelerate fiber roll-out in the UK, with a view to it becoming one of the dominant UK fiber partners.
Vodafone and CityFibre have agreed to an important change in their terms of engagement.
The latest Vodafone move builds on the deal it signed with national infrastructure provider, Openreach last month to bring fiber to 500,000 households in Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool, in addition to the 12 towns and cities by CityFibre.
The updated deal with CityFibre means the operator can offer Vodafone Gigafast Broadband on a rolling, 12-month exclusive basis as homes become available for service in each of the 12 towns and cities covered in phase one of the deployment.
“The only way the UK will achieve its digital ambition is through strong partnerships, and Vodafone is leading the way,” said Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK CEO.
A Series of Fortunate Events – by Broadband Forum
Ready for a PON Reality Check? Attend BASe OFC
Broadband Forum will host Broadband Acceleration Seminar (BASe) OFC at one of the optical industry’s major thought leadership events, OFC 2020 in San Diego on March 11.
World leading service providers like Verizon, ORANGE, Altice, and Google are already slotted to share their perspectives and insights, as well as a variety of top tier analysts and leading vendors/suppliers.
Focused on capturing the challenges, opportunities, and innovations emerging in 2020, topics covered will range from insights into the market and an array of existing and emerging PON architectures (EPON, GPON, XGS, NG-PON2, WDM PON, 25/50G PON, Super PON…) to perspectives on the state of standards (Broadband Forum, ITU, IEEE…). Ecosystem readiness for emerging use cases and applications, Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) and 5G, and best practices across the full spectrum of potential implementations – from SDN/NFV and network slicing to fiber extension technologies and whole home networking will also be covered.
This year’s event will focus on the theme “PON Reality Check 2020” and you can find the full agenda here.
Mark the occasion in your calendar now and stay tuned for more info to come.
All about that BASe!
In 2019, Broadband Forum’s BASe initiative leaped forward with five major events reaching over 1,000 industry leaders, 16 sponsors, and high acclaim from all participants. In 2020, Broadband Forum will take these BASe events to a whole new level, with more events reaching larger audiences in conjunction with an expanded slate of conferences reaching all parts of the world. Our 2019 list of service provider and analyst speakers was phenomenal (see below) and we plan to continue to expand in 2020:
Has this caught your attention? Good, because we are looking for dynamic and forward-thinking vendors to take part in our 2020 BASe initiative and are actively recruiting sponsorships. Our 2019 sponsors represented a cross section of industry leaders (see below), and we are looking to expand this elite group in 2020!
Remember, priority for BASe speakers is given to sponsors so don’t miss out! For more information, click on the links provided for details on the 2020 Global sponsorship and UFBB BASe sponsorship packages, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save your seat for the Annual Q1 meeting: Budapest and Broadband await
The hotel reservations and meeting registration is now open for the Q1 Annual meeting taking place in Budapest, Hungary from March 2 – 5, 2020.