UK May Have Hit Broadband Targets

When it comes to the internet the coalition government made a pledge that by 2015, they would have the “best superfast broadband in Europe”. The UK may have hit broadband targets, but still fears remain over the future and if the targets are good enough.

The problem with setting targets with technology, they look great but they have to change as technology does. The original target for 90% of properties having superfast broadband by 2015 was changed in light of the difficulty and processes involved, eventually changing to 95% of properties by 2017. We may have hit the 90% marker now, but that last 5% needed to meet the goal posts next year may come at difficulty.

The difficulty comes from the properties located in rural areas, with fibre optic speeds slowly reaching those areas (although not as the speeds users want to gain access to the internet). The second problem though is the big one, what is super fast internet these days?

Back in 2010, the definition was 24 Mbps, but these days you can grab 100 or even 200 Mbps internet. With the kind of fibre optic cables needed to reach 24 Mbps used in its current roll out the question is being raised that if we compare ourselves on “superfast broadband” in a few years time, will we need to roll out new options all over again.

The standard option  for many European countries is now FTTH (Fiber to the house), an option that is only reaching 1.56% of British homes. The city of Hull has one of the lowest superfast broadband availability, listed at 37.6% because Hull’s independent telecoms provider, KCOM, has already opted to deploy the FTTH strategy, resulting in 37.6% of houses now getting fibre optic speed straight to the house.

Scientists Use Fibre Optic Cable to Transmit 57Gbps

How fast is your internet? 1Mbps? 10Mbps? Are you lucky enough to get a 1Gbps? With governments all over the world now racing to deliver the best internet to everyone, the speed of your internet is quickly becoming a topic of hot debate. For those with speed hate, I am sorry. It would now seem that it is possible to transmit 57Gbps down a fibre optic cable. Sorry.

I apologise because like many I am someone who has been promised great speeds, but more often than not you find those speeds don’t seem to exist and you can almost hear that digital bleeping from dial-up coming to haunt you as you call it a night, letting your movie buff or your game download.

Researchers from the University of Illinois have pushed fibre optic technology to a new level by transmitting 57 gigabytes of data per second through a fibre optic cable, a whole 17 Gbps extra compared to those reported last year. What’s better about this you ask? The speed was achieved with no errors and then to prove the point they went and send 50Gbps while at temperatures of 85 degrees celsius.

The reason the temperature is important is because electrical components get warm over time (like the bottom of the laptop you’ve had resting on your lap while watching Netflix in bed), which can lead to reduced performance and damaged components. The team behind the idea hope that by showing that these speeds are available from room temperature to 85 degrees, companies will have no reason to push these systems out to the public.

You can read the paper that’s been published on the experiments here and begin to imagine how many games you could delete and download at 50 Gbps. So many games.

Fibre-Optic Signals ‘Combed’ to Perfection

We have been talking a lot about the limitations of fibre optic cabling and signal transfer for a while now; if you recall back a few weeks, we covered a story regarding how we could be ‘running out of internet‘. Well, it now seems that scientists have overcome these issues. Researchers in the San Diego-based University of California have demonstrated a new way of passing signals through fibre optical cabling over vast distances with very little to no signal loss.

Fibre optic cables are simply amazing, high-speed data transfers have allowed us to jump from basic <20mbps internet connections to >100mbps in the last few years alone. The issue with this method of data transfer is that over a certain amount of cable, the data can start losing integrity without the use of amplifiers. These amplifiers (repeaters) boost the signal to overcome the signal loss, but fibre optic repeaters are expensive. With the new method of ‘combing’ the data signals into much more concentrated signals, researchers have managed to send data over a huge 7,400 miles of fibre cable with little to no signal loss and only using standard amplifiers; which is a massively cheaper option.

What does this mean for us? We could see much faster and cheaper fibre optic connections in the near future. Are you currently using a fibre optic based internet connection? Why not drop into our forums and join the Internet Speed conversation.

Thank you to Slashdot for providing us with this information.

We Could be Running Out of Internet

Early last week, reports were coming in that we were running out of internet, mainly IPv4 addresses; well now we could be hitting a much more serious wall, the cables.

The current best mode of transferring all of our data is fibre-optic, these are used to carry a vast amount of the world’s internet data. Since the implementation of these cables, researchers have merely ‘amplified’ the signal being passed through to keep up with the massive growth of internet traffic. Without upgrading the infrastructure, that method won’t work forever; the more signals you pass through the fibre, the more light-saturated and higher signal loss will occur.

French communication specialist René-Jean Essiambre presented data suggesting that the current limit presented by fibre cable is around 100 terabits per second worth of data; which we are heading towards within the next 5 years with the current growth of data. This is based on the current trend of online streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube.

Most of us probably don’t think of how the data actually gets to us, just how quickly it gets to us, but this is a massive subject and physicists and computer scientists are on this.

What could be the fix? Bigger cables? More cables? or maybe we cut down our internet usage…..Nah! Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you to Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

ISP Promotes Higher Broadband Deal for ‘Ideal’ Streaming

We all know the basics that a better internet connection means better internet experience. Well, it seems that this is all Verizon customer service employees know too and it’s over Netflix streaming again.

Netflix offers two standard streaming qualities, standard at approximately 3Mbps and High Definition at approximately 5Mbps, but Verizon sales reps told one customer he should upgrade from his 50Mbps Fibre Optic service due to it not being able to provide the smoothest experience. Industry analyst Day Rayburn had a small run in with multiple sales reps who tried palming this pitching this to him.

“Last week I contacted Verizon to discuss the renewal of my two-year FiOS Triple Play contract which already gives me 50Mbps up/down,” Rayburn wrote. “Three different sales reps via the phone and one via an online chat all tried to convince me to upgrade to 75Mbps, with the false promise that it would give me better quality Netflix streaming, amongst other OTT [over-the-top] streaming services. I was told that with 75Mbps I would get ‘smoother video viewing’ and ‘better quality’ with a higher tier service. Of course, this claim by Verizon is 100 percent false and they know it.”

“During HBO’s Game Of Thrones Season 5 premiere, I had ten separate streams going on at the same time via HBO Now and Sling TV,” Rayburn wrote. “All combined, I consumed just under 29Mbps of my 50Mbps connection and all ten streams had perfect quality. HBO Now’s bitrate maxes out at 4Mbps and some of the streams I had going were to mobile devices. Amongst the ten streams, they averaged 2.9Mbps per second. So even if I had a household of ten people, all streaming at the same time, going from 50Mbps to 75Mbps would not have given me any better video streaming quality over what I already have. Verizon is simply using the average consumer’s lack of knowledge of bitrates and streaming technology to scare them into thinking they need a higher tiered package than they really do.”

Rayburn, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, actually tried defending the ISP last year over the financial dispute with Netflix; I bet he’s changed sides now.

I understand the “make a sale” pitch, but blatantly lying to a customer is just dirty dealings; I wonder how many customers they have falsely snagged with this hook.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information

Four More US Cities to Get Google Fiber Gigabit Internet

As a further sign of Google’s quest to take over the world, The Wall Street Journal says that the company’s Google Fiber service is set to expand to four more US cities.

The Journal says that those cities are Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, and Charlotte, adding to the cities of Austin, Texas, Provo, Utah, and Kansas City in Missouri. The newspaper says that Google has yet to confirm any such plans, but that the company has dispatched press event invites to local publications in each of the new cities.

The lack of readily available information means that there is currently little information regarding pricing for residents of the new cities, but that it should be around the same price as for the cities Google Fiber is already established in – $80 per month. That only matters of course, when the new system is set up, something that could take at least a year and only in the neighbourhoods where there is sufficient interest.

Source: The Wall Street Journal Via: The Verge

Google Fibre Is Not Coming To The UK Anytime Soon

A couple of days ago we heard of a report that Google was looking at a project to bring Google Fibre to the UK, however it appears many people read into the report in the wrong way. Although Google do admit that they have looked at the possibility of having their ultra-fast fibre service here in the UK, a look at the possibility is all it is.

Since the news has flown around the Google is coming here and everyone has got their hopes up, a spokesperson for Google spoke to Engadget saying that people should not read too much into it. His statement goes on to say that they speak to telecoms companies all of the time but they have not had any serious planning discussions for Google Fibre in the UK.

We have informal conversations with other telecom companies all the time, but we’ve never had any serious planning discussions about bringing Google Fiber to Britain.”

Getting their service up and running in the US has not come without its challenges, aside from the fact that the current internet infrastructure has to be worked on so that it can deliver the blazing-fast 1Gbps speeds that Google boast, Google are in a highly competitive market and it does not take that much to get in the way of other providers and push them out-of-the-way. Not surprisingly this is likely to upset a few people along the way. Fortunately UK ISPs such as BT and Virgin Media, who both offer some of the UK’s fastest fibre internet packages,Google are not going to be here for a while yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if they start coming up with a game plan in the not too distant future to tackle Google Fibre if they do decide to make the move.

Source: Engadget