Maine-based OTT Communications, a division of Otelco Inc., won a ConnectME Authority matching grant that will allow the company to provide high-speed fiber optic broadband service to unserved residents of the Penobscot County town of Alton. The $78,000 grant will be matched by an equal investment by OTT. The grant-supported portion of the build-out will serve 33 premises in the area. At its own expense, OTT will connect1 an additional 36 homes that it passes to reach the area covered by the grant. Most of those 36 additional homes currently have download speeds of between 4 and 10 Mbps and upload speeds of less than 2 Mbps.
OTT’s fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network will improve service levels, and will deliver speeds as much as five times faster than the current maximum when the project is completed by the end of the year. To reach the homes OTT will need to set 40 poles over a 9,000-foot stretch of road, with the assistance of the ConnectME grant.
“Alton is a very rural area of Maine and people there know high speed broadband service is needed to work remotely or grow an at-home business,” Otelco CEO Rob Souza said in a news release. “Our company was formed by rural Mainers over 100 years ago when the major phone companies were uninterested in bringing telephone service to rural communities. Today’s announcement that we are investing to bring fiber optic infrastructure to Alton demonstrates our ongoing commitment to making sure rural Maine communities and businesses have the technology they need to compete and win in today’s economy.”
OTT recently completed FTTH projects in Lowell, Gray and New Gloucester as well as other projects in Vermont, Alabama and Missouri.
A FTTH project is currently underway in West Enfield as well.
Jason Beylerian, who runs the online camping equipment business Outdoorstockroom, said the faster internet speed resulting from OTT’s investment will boost his day-to-day business activities.
“In the six months that I have had my online camping equipment store open, I have found it hard to do essential tasks,” he said. “I can get them done, but it just takes longer.
Time is money, and you don’t stay in business if you’re losing money … We at Outdoorstockroom.com would benefit greatly by getting real world speeds piped into our home business.”
PURBECK has been named as one of the slowest places in the UK for broadband speeds. Despite 10Mbps being the minimum recommended speed for families under the Government’s Universal Service Obligation, many areas are falling short, a recent study suggests. Research by the consumer association Which, using data from Speed Checker Ltd, found Purbeck is one of the English regions where speed is slower than the minimum – indeed the district is ranked the fifth worst in the UK.
Which managing director of home services Alex Neill said: “We are encouraging everyone with broadband to use our speed checker so people can see if they are getting the speeds that they’ve been promised by their provider and find out how to complain if their speed is too slow.”
- Dundee City
- Orkney Islands
- Shetland Islands
Singularity represents an era where humankind and machines collide to become one civilisation, but what will it mean for us, asks Rudie Raath, Datacentrix Digital Technology Strategist at Datacentrix. The Enfield Council in North London recently hired a new employee called Amelia to answer customer queries. What makes Amelia stand out from the rest of the staff, however, is that Amelia is a robot.
Nevertheless, Amelia can analyse natural language, understand context, apply logic, learn, resolve problems and even sense emotions. Unlike other AI technologies that merely detect and match words, Amelia applies context to distinguish between different uses of the same word. Raath believes this is a sign that “we are seeing the beginning of singularity – not as something still coming in the future, but as a reality that is already here.” Singularity is the concept of artificial superintelligence triggering accelerated technological growth, resulting in fundamental changes to civilisation as we know it.
“The world is progressing so quickly that we are relying more and more on technology to do the thinking for us. In fact, if I told you what the temperature is in New York right now, you’d possibly not believe me, but you’d trust an app on your phone. This demonstrates how much faith you are already putting into technology,” Raath explains.
For the first time in history, technology is becoming advanced enough for singularity to become a reality. “We are on the brink of the singularity civilisation, if you think of the velocity at which AI technology has advanced in the last 10 years, and imagine that same velocity in just the next five years,” Raath adds. “The reality of singularity” will be explored in depth at the 2017 Datacentrix Business Showcase, taking place at Montecasino on 13 July 2017. The Showcase will feature the popular 20-minute speed breakout sessions that were introduced at the 2016 conference, featuring more use cases and interactive sessions with industry experts.
The Showcase will also be presenting a live interview lunch at Montecasino’s main theatre, where a hard-hitting journalist will be interviewing a panel of industry leaders about the reality of singularity. Delegates will be able to help drive the interview by voting for questions through the new Business Showcase app. The app will be available in June on both Android and IOS, and will also allow delegates to arrange meetings, plan sessions, and much more.
“We are the living in the most fortunate era in the history of humankind because we are on the brink of a paradigm shift.
And if we embrace it, we will be part of a revolution,” Raath concludes.
This article was published in partnership with Datacentrix.