Monthly Archives: November 2016

Ultrafast broadband for Gloucestershire town championed

Businesses and homes in Cheltenham hoping to be able to access fast broadband might be cheered by the latest news down the line from BT. The telecommunications giant has revealed that together with its network business, Openreach, it plans to install what it is calling “new Ultrafast broadband technology” in the town. It follows trials of the technology in other parts of the UK and will, claims BT, make Cheltenham amongst the first in the UK to benefit.

It will give some lucky enough to live close to the road-side cabinets which help connect the network download speeds of up to 330Mbps (megabits per second) – more than 10 times the UK national average.

“This will benefit thousands of premises in Cheltenham which will be given access to the technology during 2017 with details about exactly where and when to be published shortly,” said a spokesman for the firm. Steve Jordan leader of Cheltenham Borough Council said “We welcome this news that Cheltenham has been chosen as one of the pilot areas in the country for Openreach’s Ultrafast broadband.

“Cheltenham’s importance as a digital hub continues to grow, being at the forefront of new technology advances. We look forward to businesses and residents being among the first to enjoy the benefits of this during 2017.”

Clive Selley, Openreach’s chief executive, said: “The UK leads the way when it comes to superfast broadband.

“More than nine out of 10 homes and businesses have access to superfast speeds with another 20,000 more premises being enabled each week, and we’re working hard to reach the rest, as well as rollling out Ultrafast speeds.

“I’m delighted Cheltenham will be one of the first locations to get Ultrafast speeds using technology.

It’ enables us to get an affordable Ultrafast service to as many people in the fastest time.”

Neil Smith, director of Cheltenham-based communications and broadband specialist Reform IT, said while the move was welcome and would benefit those close to cabinets the speed would tail off the further away homes and businesses are.

“What is needed is an investment in fibre optic cable that benefits everyone – not this attempt to squeeze the most out of the old copper lines,” said Mr Smith, whose firm is helping homes and businesses achieve faster speeds with its point-to-point wireless solutions.

Openreach plans to make available to more than 10 million UK homes by the end of 2020.

Spark launches Ultra Fast Fibre MAX

Thursday, 1 December 2016, 12:14 pm
Press Release: Spark1

Media Release
Tuesday 1 December, 2016

Spark launches Ultra Fast Fibre MAX

‘Gigabit’ broadband now available to consumer and business Spark customers

Spark customers can now buy Ultra Fast Fibre MAX, a broadband service delivered over gigabit technology. This new broadband plan option is now the fastest residential broadband service available from Spark. Spark’s Fibre MAX uses a gigabit connection over the UFB (Ultra Fast Broadband) network. The actual speed a customer will get varies based on a number of factors. For instance, to get the fastest speeds possible, customers will need to have high specification hardware in their homes and be testing over an Ethernet connection.

When used in optimal conditions, Ultra Fast Fibre MAX should provide speeds of between 700Mbps and 900Mbps download / 400Mbps upload. In trials, even higher speeds have been achieved, of up to 930Mbps. Ultra Fast Fibre MAX can now be purchased nationwide for consumer and business addresses where the Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) network is available – with a few exceptions. Services are not yet available in Queenstown, Greymouth, Oamaru or Whakatane until further notice, as work is being undertaken to ensure that the network is ready to support Ultra Fast Fibre MAX speeds. Otherwise, any customer with UFB available can purchase Ultra Fast Fibre Max: availability can be checked using Spark’s address checker.

Customers can purchase a bundled broadband and home phone Fibre MAX plan with unlimited data for $149.99/ month – or a broadband only Fibre MAX plan with unlimited data for $139.99/ month. Businesses can purchase a bundled broadband and landline Fibre MAX plan with unlimited data for $212.85 ex GST – or a broadband only Fibre MAX plan with unlimited data for $179.85 ex GST. All consumer Spark Ultra Fibre plans come with: Lightbox on us – online TV; Spark Security Suite – 5 free McAfee Security licenses; email – free Xtra email service; 24/7 help and support – over the phone and online, including a live webchat service; and lots more benefits for Spark customers including Spark Thanks and 1GB a day Free Public WiFi.

See for details.


(C) Scoop Media2


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Mississippi gets $33 million for emergency operations

Mississippi Gets  Million For Emergency Operations

File photo of an ambulance(Photo: Harold Gater)

The state of Mississippi has gained access to $33 million in federal grant money to be used to beef up coordination and infrastructure among emergency responders statewide. The end goal of the funding should lead to increased access to a broadband network for all Mississippi first responders. State leaders said Wednesday’s announcement that the approval of the Broadband Technology Opportunity Project grant by the U.S. Department of Commerce ends years of negotiations among federal agencies, Mississippi’s U.S. senators, state officials and others to improve the state’s emergency communications capabilities.

The federally-funded broadband system will expand Mississippi’s statewide emergency communications system for first responders to also provide data, state officials have said. A fireman entering a burning building, for example, will be able to get information on the building’s layout. Permitting Mississippi to utilize the federal funding will allow the state to increase utilization of the Mississippi Wireless Information Network system, establish a state-of-the-art integrated public safety communications center, and advance the Mississippi Tele-Assist System.

The award of the federal funding would culminate a broadband project started in 2010 with the award of a $70 million BTOP grant to Mississippi. Despite nationally-significant achievement, the state’s progress was suspended in 2012 for the federal government to create a national interoperable broadband public safety network. In 2015, Republican Sen. Roger Wicker rebuked federal telecommunications officials for abandoning their investment in a broadband project in the state.

“We in Mississippi, our entire delegation, Democrat and Republican, are very concerned about this (and) very disappointed at the wasting of federal money,” Wicker said at a March 2015 hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

“Five years later, after all the millions of dollars the state has spent and the time we spent, our first responders still don’t have access to a broadband network,” Vicki Helfrich, executive director of the Mississippi Wireless Communications Commission, said the day after the 2015 hearing. Officials with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, part of the Commerce Department, suspended a $70 million grant to Mississippi in 2012 to help build the network.

Mississippi was one of seven recipients in 2010 of the Broadband Technology Opportunity grant. Helfrinch, the author of the federal grant application, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon. The news release did not indicate when first responders would have access to a broadband network.

In Wednesday’s news release about the awarding of the grant, Wicker expressed gratitude and called the funding a “major win for our state.”

“Years of hard work, persistence, and a lot of patience have finally paid off.” “The promise this technology holds for Mississippians cannot be overstated. This high-tech emergency network will save lives, Wicker said in the release. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran also said the funding will save lives in Mississippi.

“The need for a strong communications network is one of the many important lessons our state has learned from disaster response. This funding is important to ensure that emergency responders can offer timely and lifesaving care,” Cochran said in the release.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center will play a key role in the completion of the project, according to the release. The integrated public safety complex will house an enhanced and expanded Mississippi MED-COM, a research and development center for mobile telemedicine applications, and an educational center on the use of technology for field deployment of emergency medicine applications. The grant will also help expand the UMMC-led Mississippi Tele-Assist System, which involves deploying emergency vehicles with the ability to transmit life-saving images. The award will extend through June 2020.

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