The landscape for broadband is changing quite significantly in the coming years, which has meant that every provider, mobile and fixed line, is undertaking an overhaul of their infrastructure and the competition looks exciting.

There are 3 main rising technologies moving forward at the moment, but only 1 has the potential to make the others obsolete on a global scale for the consumer market and meet all foreseeable needs of most businesses.

For businesses and residential alike, it is always good to know what is coming, especially when moving or setting up an office or when other changes, like the PSTN switch off from BT, can have a negative impact on your services, there are alternatives so let’s look at what the near future may have to offer.

1.The rise of 5G

There is a lot in the media about millimetre wavelengths and potential health risks and untested wavelengths, I would like to take this opportunity to point out that these wavelengths are already in use and are required for any wireless technology to progress, not just 5G. In fact, there is one such device using 60GHz that some people are currently strapping to their heads, in the form of the HTC wireless adaptor for the VR headset, then with this an associated receiving device and likely router of similar wavelength capabilities like the Nighthawk X10 router, would create an environment where the signal cannot escape.

We have a video “Will 5G Kill you” you can watch, where we don’t make any assumptions about the safety of the technology, just simply looking at how it and other devices need to operate and whether everything we are hearing in the media could even work.

I would like to point out before you watch it, I am very dry, and I don’t believe a router could actually kill someone, but at the same time I am not a scientist, so who knows!

 

Aside from that, we have the potential to see huge benefits from this technology, which could see the end to the BTs plans for Fibre roll out for residential premises, and for that matter a lot of business needs, before they even get started. Don’t worry though, it won’t be the end of BT, they seem to be fully aware of this fact and potential, which could explain why EE is part of the BT Group!

And on that note

2. What are the big boys up to with their Infrastructures?

BT Group

The voice infrastructure is going, with all voice traffic moving to VoIP. So, especially for landline only homes, you are likely to see a price increase if you are in an area that does not have Fibre to the Property, as you will require Broadband, Line Rental and a Voice licence.

BT are the big bad dogs again, and currently, there isn’t much on offer in the way of new Fixed line technology that isn’t theirs. On ADSL we had LLU, which meant that a provider like Sky could offer a genuine and physically separate broadband service from BT, utilising their own equipment in the Exchange. This is not how Fibre technology works though, Fibre to the Cabinet or Fibre to the Property, this is all BT wholesale, so they own the country for Fibre Circuits right now with Virgin offering some competition to parts of the country.

BT Group are then their own biggest competitor for terrestrial rising technology, given that they have won the contract via EE for the Emergency Services on 4G, then considering the 5G rollout, their biggest risk to BT Retail is BT Group.

Virgin Media

While Virgin is pushing a rollout plan to get to 65% coverage, with a view of bringing faster speeds to Rural consumers, Virgin do seem to have got on board with new potentials, recently nominating EE as their new service provider for Virgin Mobile.

With 5G this may give Virgin Media the potential to compete with BT Retail services on a much wider scale without having to deliver unique infrastructure, whilst offering more suitable services for Older People and more contingent service. But their mobile service change now makes them a customer of the BT Group, so things are still looking good for BT.

Mobile Providers

From the Mobile side, Three Mobile have announced a new rollout plan for 5G, but the more interesting one is the CTIL agreement between O2 and Vodafone, where they build each other’s masts. One takes East of the UK, the other takes West, this agreement has been in place since 2012 and looks to be extending for a 5G rollout well into the future, so BT… I mean EE may get some decent competition.

Code Powers

What are code powers?

The main bit we need to know is that this is the right to construct and maintain infrastructure on public land (streets).

Ofcom are looking to grant Code Powers to PCCW Global Networks (UK) plc, Toob Ltd, NATS (En Route) PLC, Full Fibre Limited, Lighting Fibre Limited and IX Wireless Limited.

But I have to say, this late in the game, if you don’t already have a stake in the public infrastructure, you are taking one hell of a risk getting involved, and that is because

3.It’s time for a new King

While the providers we know are doing impressive things for increasing speed on planet earth within the UK, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

I am a huge fan of satellite broadband, the substantial improvements it has made over recent years and the potential it can offer. With the service we get today on satellite broadband, the only thing they can’t offer is a suitable technology for gaming, but we may see that start to change.

Satellite gets a bad rap for cost, but we are going to see that change in the near future, potentially seeing the Data Usage associated with Satellite broadband disappearing as it would no longer be practical to have in place.

You probably know what SpaceX is up to but let’s talk about someone else.

2019 saw OneWebs first successful launch of a low orbit satellite and days later securing a whopping $1.25 Billion in new Funding.

Expected Latency 25ms – 30ms

Phase 1 expected speeds of 500mbps

As far as I am concerned, that is overkill for Human use of technology, maybe a bit of a way to go for computers talking to computers, but their phase 2 speeds should see them through that.

Even in the UK, the rate that technology can be delivered is only serving to reduce connectivity for individuals who already do not meet the USO (Universal Service Obligation Speeds set by Government that everyone is entitled to), and with the PSTN network going we are actually seeing reduced technology access for a lot of people, increased costs for the majority (With Voice Licences now becoming a requirement on top of broadband and line rental), and no serious solution for people with insufficient access until 2030-2035.

That is why I love this project from OneWeb, they are ambitious with a 2021 Global Coverage milestone, this solves so many issues within the UK and the World for that matter, even if they slow down they have approximately 16 years from the time of writing this to own the GLOBAL market at the rate fixed line and mobile providers are moving, they could easily crush the UK providers by 2025 if that were their focus.

The school boy Nerd in me loves it too, they have an image on their website that reminds me of the Archangel Network from Doctor Who, without all of the bad guy stuff, but this is science fiction coming to life with a high volume network of low orbit satellites, if they deliver what they say they will we can see the potential for a 100% clean energy communications infrastructure. What really blows my mind here is that this is light technology, and if it is solar powered on the ground as well, then it is recycled light technology, amazing!

This project can see the world connected, and that is their plan, their milestones are set around schools becoming connected and children getting access to resources in parts of the world that don’t have internet access, it reminds me of that age old saying

“Give a man a fish, and he will feed himself for a day, give him broadband and he can get an online degree, let alone Google how to Fish!”

As far as I am concerned, if they pull it off, I’m done with all terrestrial communication technology, give me some of that space magic!

I could talk about this forever, so I will just leave you with this, imagine ‘Teachers without borders’ being able to educate children all over the globe, at the same time, imagine an outbreak of a deadly disease, and every expert no matter where they are, from the Arctic to the Sahara, being able to contribute to the solution, imagine a global think tank of Human Rights lawyers all contributing to a trial, in real time, no matter where they are or where that trial is being held, imagine infrastructure in place to protect endangered species, monitored in real time from any part of the globe.

Whatever you can imagine, all I can say is, if this project is successful, you are thinking too small, like Bowie said about the internet in 1999, “I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg”, if he were alive in 2019 and could see this project, I would like to think he would say the same thing!

The potential here is that this project could make terrestrial services redundant to the majority of consumers before it has even started. It has a further potential to handle mobile services in such a way that it can beat the 5G roll out, making that upgrade redundant and cripple Fibre before it even gets close to finishing.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this blog post, found it interesting and informative, and maybe even learned something, or dare I say, opened your mind to wonder (Or maybe it’s just me that gets this excited over Satellite Communications!)

Take it easy, and I will post towards the end of this year with any interesting updates in the world of communications.

Tom Jam

Blog Post Authored By Tom Jam

Thrace Enterprises Ltd has three main aims

  1. Helping small businesses and Individuals grow
  2. Providing Services – Automation, Testing, Analyses, Development
  3. Training, E-Learning and Education.

You can see more about what we do on this link

Tom Jam is the Director of Thrace Enterprises Ltd, has worked within the Telecoms, Insurance and eCommerce industries assuming multiple roles within the software delivery cycle, interchangeable as needed from software testing, business analyses, project management, automation, development and training (In UK and Abroad including China, South Africa, Australia and USA) and is adept at working in varying environments, cultures and industries.

He can work face to face in the UK, but is adept at working remotely for both UK and International companies and can be contacted at tom@thrace-enterprises.com

As well as offering these services, he is currently building out free resources, educational content and free tools for small businesses, details of which can be found on this page