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Atlantic Broadband first to deliver fiber services

WORTON — As efforts are being made to improve overall internet service in Kent County, Atlantic Broadband has added a new community to its established fiber-optic network. Speaking Monday, Atlantic Broadband Maryland/Delaware Vice President and General Manager Scott Randall said the company recently extended service to Kinnairds Point, a community in the Worton area that has long had connectivity issues.

“A fiber-optic network connects an individual home to it and its dedicated servers,” he said. “It has a very high capacity.”

Randall said about 70 percent of Kinnairds Point residents are using the company’s network. A news release states delivering the service represents a $250,000 investment.

“We’ve had this particular community on our radar and been chasing this project for quite a while,” he said. “Some residents might not be down in the area until the summer, so I’m optimistic more will join us then.”

Randall said customers can choose from internet, telephone and television services or a variety of package deals. He said the highest internet speed is 120 megabytes per second.

“Customers can have any speed they want to use,” he said. “We also can accommodate them if they have a business at home.”

Randall said after the network is built out to a residence, it is connected via a box on the side of the home. He said Kinniards Point residents have been pleased with the service so far.

“They’re very happy about this. Once the service is in placed and is designed well, it provides a lot of robust service,” he said. “They’ve definitely been waiting long enough for this.”

Randall said Atlantic Broadband’s fiber network is separate from the one currently being built throughout the county by FTS Fiber of Monkton.

“Ours predates that by quite a number of months,” he said. “It takes many months, sometimes years, to complete this process.”

Randall said Atlantic Broadband plans to continue offering its fiber network service throughout Kent County. He said the customer base will range from those homes on the periphery of towns to residential neighborhoods.

“We have the the largest fiber-optic network on the Eastern Shore and we’re expanding that network every day,” Randall said. “There are enough homes here that makes it economically viable to do this.

We’re at a stage where the technology finally caught up with the demand and it made sense to move forward.”

BT boosts superfast broadband with first G.fast connection

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10:43 10/03/17

Days after one big broadband shake-up, BT flicked the switch on another on Tuesday morning, successfully connecting the first customer to its G.fast broadband technology. The telco’s infrastructure arm Openreach has been working to implement G.fast in certain test areas, in a bid to boost superfast broadband speeds and connection stability beyond that offered by the company’s existing fibre-to-the-cabinet products. Kent-based accounting firm Temiz Bookkeeping was successfully hooked up to G.fast in the town of Gillingham – one of Openreach’s trial areas, along with the London areas of Balham and Upton Park.

On a theoretical level, G.fast could support speeds of up to 5 Gbps (gigabits per second), rivalling even the best full fibre-optic connections, although BT has limited the technology to a top speed of 330 Mbps (megabits per second) at this stage. “All our client data is stored in the cloud,” said Temiz owner-operator Mehmet Uzum. “Having ultrafast speeds means we can download and upload that data instantly – however many client accounts we are working on at the same time.”

Uzum said uploading large files could take “a couple of hours” on their previous ADSL connection, but it could now be achieved in a matter of minutes. “It is a new and exciting time for us and having ultrafast broadband provides the platform to do all this on. “It has given us the confidence to go ahead and invest in the future of the business.”

Almost all superfast broadband connections in the UK are not true fibre optic, but rather fibre-to-the-cabinet, which then uses an existing copper telephone or television cable to reach the customer’s premises. Users on the Openreach network – which is used by service providers including BT, TalkTalk, Sky, Plusnet and EE – can theoretically achieve maximum speeds of around 80 Mbps at present, while users on Virgin Media‘s owned-and-operated cable network can achieve download speeds of up to 200 Mbps. Virgin Media is the UK division of international cable broadband and entertainment operator Liberty Global.

Thus far, BT has resisted pressure from its retail customers to start building more fibre-to-the-premises connections, which would see glass fibre cables laid all the way to a customer’s wall, with download speeds more than ten times those available on its existing fastest fibre-to-the-cabinet product. That has led to some retailers building their own fibre optic networks on a trial basis, with TalkTalk teaming up with the AIM-traded CityFibre in York to run fibre optic past 40,000 homes. But the ex-state monopoly will be hoping that with G.fast, it can achieve the superfast speeds demanded by its retail customers and users, without having to lay glass cable down every street.

On Friday, it was confirmed that BT would split Openreach off as a nominally-separate company, allowing it autonomy in its operations but still retaining full ownership.

The regulator Ofcom had put pressure on BT to do something about the links between its retail division and Openreach, which was seen as a hindrance to competition as third-party retailers did not necessarily enjoy the same access to the infrastructure provider as BT Retail did.

It was not immediately clear what sort of access to G.fast other retailers would enjoy at the trial stage – Digital Look reached out to TalkTalk, Sky and Plusnet on Tuesday afternoon, but none had responded in time for publication.

Openreach connects first customer in rollout of G.fast broadband service

A family-run business in Gillingham, Kent, has become the first paying customer to sign up to Openreach’s G.fast broadband service. Temiz book-keeping Ltd can access ‘ultrafast’ speeds thanks to the new technology, which delivers speeds up to 330Mbps over Openreach’s existing network of copper wires. The accountancy firm is the first of more than 10m homes and businesses set to benefit from the rollout of G.fast by the end of 2020.

Openreach will also make speeds of at least 100Mbps available to an additional two million premises by increasing its fibre broadband network. G.fast has long been dismissed as a “compromise technology” by critics, who say Openreach should focus on full fibre connections rather than sweating its copper assets. But the network company, which is to become legally separate from BT, insists it is a fast and cost-effective way of giving consumers faster speeds.

Openreach has been trialling the technology in Gillingham since April 2016, with about 12,500 homes and businesses in the Kent town taking part. It has also been running trials in Huntingdon and Cherry Hinton in Cambridgeshire and Gosforth in Newcastle, and is building a total of 17 G.fast pilot areas throughout 2017. Mehmet Uzum, who runs Temiz book-keeping with his wife Gulcihan, said upgrading to ultrafast broadband has made a huge difference to the business.

“Uploading heavy data files could take a couple of hours with the speeds we had before but now we can achieve the same in a matter of minutes – it is a big time saver.”

‘Reaping the benefits’

He also said better connectivity had given them the confidence to build a new website and look at opening another office in London. “It is a new and exciting time for us and having ultrafast broadband provides the platform to do all this on.” Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti said: “I’m delighted that Gillingham is at the forefront of such an important advance in broadband technology.

“Temiz book-keeping are a great example of how ultrafast broadband can give small businesses new and more effective ways to compete in the digital world.” Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: “We want to improve the personal and professional lives of people up and down the country, and delivering high speed G.fast services at scale and pace means we can reach more of them. “It’s great to see our the first customers being switched on and already reaping the benefits, and we’re looking forward to delivering ultrafast speeds to the largest number of people in the fastest possible time over the coming months and years.”

MP Rehman Chishti is pictured cutting the ribbon on Gillingham’s new G.fast cabinet with Mehmet Uzum of Temiz book-keeping and Kim Mears, managing director for infrastructure delivery at Openreach

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