Displaying items by tag: Rural
UK telecommunication operators are pooling together in an effort to try and tackle the coverage issues afflicting rural areas.
3 UK has expressed their scepticism over Ofcom’s plans to address poor rural coverage in the United Kingdom, highlighting that the costs of the proposal were too excessive and overall the initiative lacked ambition.
3 UK’s Chief Operating Officer, Graham Baxter has called for the regulator to ditch their plans and work collectively with all UK operators in an effort to find a lasting solution to the ongoing problems experienced by users in rural parts of the UK.
Baxter blasted their plans to remove partial hot-spots in the UK’s countryside, areas which are not covered by any of the country’s four major operators.
As a way to incentivise investment, Ofcom in 2018 said it planned to offer mobile operators a discount in a spectrum auction planned for 2020, if they make binding coverage commitments.
Ofcom said two operators could receive discounts of up to £400 million on the cost of spectrum licences by committing to meet three targets within four years; providing good outdoor data coverage to at least 90 per cent of the UK’s land mass; improve mobile coverage for 140,000 buildings; and install 500 new masts in rural areas.
However, Baxter has criticized the plan for lacking ambition, while also hitting out at the expense incurred by the operator to execute the program.
Instead, he said the regulator should push an initiative for a single rural network, which would see the country’s operators jointly invest in a shared infrastructure.
In addition, he urged authorities to relax planning permission rules for taller mobile masts in rural areas of the country.
In addition to this, Baxter also argued that Ofcom’s plan would only benefit two mobile operators, but conceded that a single network would be beneficial for all four of the country’s operators with regards to coverage.
CompuDyne, a leading telecommunications solutions provider in Malaysia, is partnering with SES Networks to bring high quality and cost-effective cellular backhaul service to both East and West Malaysia and its surrounding rural islands.
SES announced that CompuDyne has signed a multi-year, multi-transponder agreement to lease Ku-band capacity on SES-9, SES’s largest satellite dedicated to serve Asia-Pacific, for its customer Digi, the country’s leading mobile network operator.
“Providing affordable and reliable mobile services is a must to stand out amid a competitive operating environment,” said Dato’ Mohd Hanafiah A Jalil, Managing Director at CompuDyne. “In the eastern and western parts of Malaysia, there is incredible growth in mobile broadband usage today from both business and consumers. Utilizing Ku-band capacity on SES-9, our customers have the opportunity to tap into this rising demand and offer improved services and greater value for end-users.”
Making a shift from a C-band to Ku-band system, CompuDyne can now deliver more cost-effective and reliable satellite connectivity, enabling Digi to extend its cellular network to underserved consumers residing in rural areas and in the far reaches of Malaysia. At the same time, Digi also plans to use the capacity to introduce mobile broadband services and packages for an increasingly connected population.
“With SES-9’s high-powered and comprehensive Ku-band coverage over Malaysia, the satellite is ideal for providing cellular backhaul services,” said Imran Malik, Vice President, Fixed Data, Asia-Pacific at SES Networks. “We are proud to partner with CompuDyne to not only expand its reach to deliver unmatched coverage within the country, but also to transform its mobile services with greater reliability and affordability for their customers’ and consumers’ connectivity needs.”
South African telecommunications firm Vodacom has been forced to delay its planned rollout of 4G services in some of the most rural and remote locations in the country - after it ran out of spectrum. The company’s CTO Andries Delport confirmed that the operator had exhausted its spectrum which subsequently limited urban availability of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A).
In addition to this, Vodacom’s CTO said that its rural 4G coverage initiative had reached 44% of the population, but due to the exhaustive demands on spectrum it was unable to expand its coverage further until more bandwidth is released by South Africa’s regulatory authorities.
Vodacom’s Head of Innovation, Jannie van Zyl echoed the sentiments of her colleague and stressed that the LTE-A rollout was also being constrained by the lack of spectrum assets available. It’s been a long-term problem in South Africa, with the country’s telecommunication operators long raising its displeasure with the slow release of the country’s airwaves, amidst internal squabbles and rows about how the spectrum should be allocated.
Vodacom’s CTO highlighted delays in clearing sub-900MHZ airwaves currently used for analogue broadcast. He believes that allowing access to the airwaves would dramatically quicken and increase the availability of 4G in rural areas.
However, clearing the band has been a long drawn-out process in South Africa, and operators have encountered red tape over the years. South Africa’s authorities were initially working to a deadline of January 2011 in relation to switching off analogue TV signals. The deadline has been moved several times in the years, with the move to digital only occurring in February 2016.
Delays in allocating new bandwidth for wireless services in South Africa has also been a long-standing problem. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa came under intense pressure from operators and government departments over its long-awaited 4G auction. Despite pressure and criticism the process was also postponed from its initial date of January 2017, after a row broke out over communications in the country.
The South African government formally announced a shared network deal in an attempt to increase broadband coverage on a national basis. This would see an open access network created which any operator could access through wholesale agreements.
British telecommunications colossus BT has announced that it will invest £600m in faster broadband services in rural parts of the United Kingdom. BT believe the investment will enable them to provide all households in Britain with access speeds of at least 10 megabits per-second, which will allow users to be able to stream content from OTT services such as Netflix and YouTube.
Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley has said that the UK government will take into consideration the voluntary offer from BT, whilst also weighing up whether a regulatory approach may be the best way of achieving its ambition to enhance broadband services to all homes and business in the UK.
The proposal tabled by BT consists of a plan from the telecommunications provider to fund the investment themselves, and it would recover costs by charging access to its local networks. BT’s chief executive, Gavin Patterson, claimed that he expected close to 95% of all homes and businesses in the UK would enjoy enhanced broadband speeds by the end of the year.
Patterson said, “We already expect 95 percent of homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps or faster by the end of 2017. Our latest initiative aims to ensure that all UK premises can get faster broadband, even in the hardest to reach parts of the UK."
In addition to this, the UK government said that BT’s plan foresaw taking coverage of at least 10Mbps to around 99% of homes and businesses by 2020, with the project estimated to be completed within two years after that. However, the proposal was criticized by representatives of the UK government’s opposition, The Labour Party for not being ambitious enough and called for the proposal to be reexamined.
India's 4G telecommunications operator Reliance Jio have agreed to extend its partnership with South Korean colossus Samsung. The announcement between the two organizations was made at Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona. It was disclosed that the pair plan to collaborate in order to enhance the operator's LTE network in rural parts of India. Both parties are confident that if they can successfully implement this project it will take coverage to 90% of the Indian population by the end of 2017.
In September, 2016, the Indian 4G upstart launched India's first nationwide LTE network - and that subsequently led to the company signing up more than 100 million 4G subscribers in just a six month period. South Korean conglomerate Samsung is the operator's sole LTE network provider.
President of Reliance Jio, Jyotindra Thacker revealed that India now has the largest data market globally and that its daily data volumes are 50% higher than that of China. Incredibly, India was ranked 150th in worldwide data volumes prior to Jio entering the market. He said, "We've taken the country from data shortage to data abundance, and we aim to become the fifth largest operator in the world."
Tareq Amin, SVP of Reliance Jio, indicated that it will work closely with Samsung representatives in order to continue development on its network - and in addition to this disclosed that both organizations were keen to improve infrastructure in urban and rural blackspots. He refused to disclose how many new base stations it plans to add in 2017 - but stated that improving coverage is not just a matter of adding more sites. He said, "We'll improve efficiency in the RAN as well as the core, but improving overall network coverage is not just about more sites, it is more complex than that."
Reliance also boldly claimed that it has more than twice as many 4G sites as all of its competitors combined. The announcement comes just days after Bharti Airtel revealed its plans to scrap domestic roaming charges and called for the operators to come together in order to remove international roaming charges and tariffs. The Indian telecommunications sector is one of the most competitive in the world.
UK telecommunications company EE Limited, which is a division of the BT Group has unveiled new ‘balloon drone technology’ which has been specifically designed to provide 4G connectivity in disaster hit areas and underserved parts of the UK.
EE, the largest mobile network operator in the UK that boasts over 30 million customers, is also the largest operator of 4G services in Europe. At an EE technology showcase the company expressed its desire to bring connectivity to rural parts of Britain –highlighting not only how important it is to bridge the connectivity gap – but how much of a challenge it will be.
EE CEO, Marc Allera, unveiled a patent pending helium balloon named ‘Helikite’ which comes equipped with mobile mini-sites that can provide 4G coverage where permanent sites have either been damaged or there is no 4G coverage.
The EE CEO said that whilst rural areas of the UK are less attractive because there are naturally less customers which will subsequently result in lower returns – he explained how the organization was ‘obsessed’ in addressing coverage gaps in the UK.
The charismatic CEO said, “We cover 75 per cent of the UK geography, and 15,000 of our 18,000 sites nationwide have been upgraded to 4G,” he said. “There are just 10 towns with a population of 10,000 people where we don’t cover with 90 per cent of our geographic coverage. But we are coming.”
EE’s CEO then spoke about the operator’s long-term plan in which it will provide ‘coverage on demand’ – disclosing details of EE’s plans to deploy a balloon solution within a rural environment this year which will use aerial solutions to provide additional coverage and capacity in three years.
He added, “Looking ahead, I see innovations like this revolutionizing the way people connect. In the future, why couldn’t we offer what we’re calling ‘coverage on demand’ - what if an event organizer could request temporary EE capacity in rural parts of the UK?”
In relation to EE’s work in the UK’s new Emergency Services Network – EE said it would deploy a fleet of Rapid Response Vehicles in forthcoming weeks and months ahead in order to support the infrastructure. Allera refuted suggestions that EE were behind on the project and stated the EE ‘was on track’ with its obligations.