Monday, December 20, 2010

Seasons Greetings

We're closing down for Christmas on the 23rd and will be back at our posts on the 4th of January, 2011.  We'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone for their support this year and to wish you all a very merry Christmas. 

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Demand for Colocation outstripping demand

As co-location requirements soar providers are struggling to keep up with demand.
New data from TeleGeography’s Colocation Database reveal that colocation service providers are struggling to keep up with demand. Despite significant new construction, colocation site capacity is more constrained in 2010 than it was in 2009. More than 41% of sites surveyed by TeleGeography were at least 80% full at mid-2010, up from 34% of sites a year earlier.

Among the worst hit areas are London and the South of England, where surging power costs and a squeeze on physical space are causing colocation costs to rocket.  With wholesales power costs set to raise 13% over the next year and potentially over 100% before the end of the decade.  The use of power efficient data-centre equipment is going to be critical to the ability of service providers to compete.

Happily our new range of Virtualization Appliances are over 30% more efficient than the average data-centre server

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ePrivacy - overlooking the technicals

As we normally confine ourselves to issues surrounding Data and IP related telephony I had quite forgotten about this:
On 14 April 2009 the European Commission launched an infringement proceeding against the UK concerning incorrect transposition in UK law of EU law requirements concerning confidentiality of communications provided in the ePrivacy Directive 2002/58/EC and the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC concerning user consent, sanctions in case of infringements and independent authority to supervise interception activities. On 29 October, further to analysis of the UK authorities' response to the letter of formal notice, the Commission proceeded to the next stage of the Reasoned Opinion.

The bottom line is that "There is no legal requirement for UK mobile customers using pre-paid cards (‘pay as you go’ customers) to register with their operators."

It was only this weeks announcements about the scrapping of the much hated ID cards here in the UK that reminded me.

Not usually one for infringement of civil liberties - I think this is wrong-headed, there are plenty of ways of 99% positively identifying an individual ; passports, drivers licenses, credit cards et al.  ID cards were just a 'doomed from birth' knee-jerk reaction to 9/11and given that contracts worth over £1bn possibly some fierce lobbying.  But, untraceable mobile communications are a standard tool of the underworld, from your friendly neighbourhood 'hoody' drug dealers to international terrorists and every shade in between; and isn;t it just bizarre that as countries like Mexico and Brazil are moving to force registration of all mobile devices, 'uber-liberal' Europe is going the other way?!

Bit like the economy :-(

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another Mediterranean cable cut disrupts Internet Traffic

Good post regarding the current outage of the SeaMeWe-4 submarine cable, from our friends over at Telegeography - purveyors of fine mapping, graphics, data, etc.
The Middle Easts overworked networks rely on just one major connection to the Web – an underwater cable known as “Sea-ME-We 4” that runs from Europe to the UAE and was last week accidentally severed in the Mediterranean Sea.

The damaged cable carries the majority of the regions internet traffic today but according to Stephan Beckert Director of Research at Telegeography this will drop to around 40% by the end of 2010 as more capacity comes on line.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mobile data traffic overtakes voice for first time

Ericsson reports that traffic generated from 400m mobile data/broadband subscribers is now more than from the 4.6Billion voice users with the traffic crossover at about 140,000 Terrabytes a month.

In terms of the financial implications, Informa Telecoms & Media predicted in January that mobile data revenues will surge to $330 billion by 2013, up from an estimated $208 billion in 2008. more

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

UK Government to push ahead for Superfast Broadband but for when?

Further pronouncements on the eventual roll out of 'Super-Fast' 40-100Mb broadband to every home in the land were made by both major this week.  As the UK heads relentlessly towards a General Election in the Spring, both government and opposition have alighted on this 'utility' as a vote winner / chance to bash the other.

But note the confusion over dates 2012 / 2017 / 2020!!  In July 2009 BT said it was impossible to get more than 80% of the country on broadband, then in  January this year the Digital Britain report said we were all going to get Fast broadband @ 2Mb in 2012, (I can't even get 500kb to my house) Now we're all going to have Super Fast by 2017 (well 90% by 2017 and 100% by 2020)

Well that's pretty good - except that the BT Infinity Service that this relies on is targeting 40% coverage (ie Cities and Metropolitan area) by 2012, and BT's record on delivering things like the 21CN all IP network is pretty poor, so if left to BT it will all be to slow, to late! 

In an attempt to speed up the process and with an eye to improved competition the Conservatives are suggesting that BT opens up not just it's exchanges but all of it's trunking and conduits to the likes of Virgin Media, even suggestions now that the  NTL Fibre at the top of the village could be broken out and strung from the old GPO telephone pole outside the house.

However the question of funding will almost certainly kill it the 50p tax on landlines is already getting push back and will certainly be an election issue, and the Conservative suggestion of top slicing the BBCs budget by £120m is frankly widdling into the wind, we're talking billions to deliver on any of these promises and no company can afford to raise the amount of long-term debt that would be required. 

On the upside opening up the BT trunks would make it easier to run business servics around th Cities which would certainly help and would reduce the number of new digs and roadworks in places like London.

I think the solution is a mixture of public and private investment, with which ever party wins taking the same approach as the Dutch "we will invest in this network  and you the service providers can lease the resulting infrastructure from us"  If you would like to invest alongside us and own a percentage of the income you're welcome to pitch in"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fragmented services business makes UK operators takeover targets

As their economy stumbles in and out of recession and the pound weakens against almost everything but the Green-back, the UK telecoms market must look like a great place to pick up bargains if you're a service provider looking to break into the European market. 
See this article in Global Telecoms Business that we contributed to recently; complete with diagram showing the fragmented nature of UK IP access market.

If I were TATA, SingTel or China Telecom I would start by acquiring key assets in the UK.  Especially where there was access to international submarine cabling.


For those of you not familiar with the history of UK telecoms: Deregulation in the late 1980's, followed by early adoption of Internet, as an alternative to Frame-Relay or ATM networks, led to tens of billions of $'s being invested in Fiber Networks up and down the country around most major cities by extremely well funded startups.   There was also massive investment by the likes of Global Crossing, Verizon, Cable & Wireless and AT&T in sub-marine cabling linking the UK to the US, Europe, the Middle East and Africa

After the euphoria of the 90's tech bubble 'run-riot' abated most of these companies went bust and there assets were acquired for very little from the liquidators, and they've since been run as profitable low overhead.

This has however left the market extremely fragmented with a large amount of highly valuable infrastructure split amongst a myriad of small (in xSP terms).  We recently saw a Service Provider in London with a metropolitan fibre network that would probably cost £100m to replace sold for about £7m crazy, but that's UK accounting :0)

But surely this stuff is available in mainland Europe!  Well to a lesser extent yes but the UKs regulatory environment is more friendly, I cannot imagine the French or German Governments allowing key national infrastructure to be sold off to foreign companies - whereas the UK seems to positively revel in overseas ownership of utilities.  See T-Orange merger

Global Telecoms Business is a good source of markets information - we'd recommend taking a look at their site.

Monday, March 08, 2010

High Speed Broadband - UK Failure to Launch

I was thinking again about the Google'isation of the world, which mostly involves Google giving people stuff that they want for free - and renting their eyeballs out to all comers.  I came back to Google City, or what was once called Topeka, Kansas.   Google are planning to roll out a a Gigabit Fiber Network for 50,000 homes somewhere in the US - see previous post.

Compare this with the Netherlands and the UK;

In 2003 the City of Amsterdam funded a pilot fibre network to cover 40,000 homes in May 2009 The Amsterdam Fiber Network was expanded to 150,000 homes & businesses in the City.  The Dutch Minister responsible for information stating that "...high speed (Gigabit) Internet was a necessity and should be open for all".  City of Amsterdam paid for the infrastructure and now makes a profit leasing it to the private sector.

In the UK a vague target of 2mb for all by 2012 set out in the Digital Britain Report is made laughable by no ideas for funding other than a £6 ($10) a year tax on phone lines which they would probably give to BT and will most likely drop as the UK elections loom over a stricken and debt-riven nation. 

Hold this in your mind: the UK Gov' considers 10Mbps Broadband to be "Superfast' This short example shows just how far away Digital Britain really is, and how that impacts on the economy.

We have small sub-office just North of Cambridge we decided to run a Business Broadband line in and use it for long term storage and Disaster Recovery.  Despite being just 3 miles from a fiber enabled exchange the best speeds achievable were 468Kbps - which BT informed us was above 440Kbps and wa therefore an acceptable speed for a Business Broadband service - On which planet is that speed acceptable??

Come Google and rain down your love on Cambridge - I am sure we can name a College after you!!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Google, Kansas - Google finally on own maps!!

Topeka, the tiny State Capital of Kansas has renamed itself Google - yep, it's true for a limited time the City of Google will be on the map - I wonder if Redmond, VA might do Microsoft the same honour.

Whilst it may seem frivolous there is a a sound economic reason for doing so, and one that should have every Telco in the developed world sitting up and paying very serious attention.  Google is building it's own Gigabit metropolitan fibre networks and Topeka wants it to do that roll out there, and why not?  With the initial roll out of 50,000 likely to be a success Google says its target id to roll out to half a million homes across the US. 

This is one of the first serious telecoms infrastructure roll outs of the 21st century and it's not being funded by a Telco...  Or is it?!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

BT £9m Pension deficit slams stock price

BT unveiled profits from operations up this quarter, mostly off the back of improvements in the group known, or formerly known, as BT Global Services, which is good, yes?! Well no they they also announced a pension deficit of £9Bn, for those of you in Metric that's €10.2Bn or in greenbacks $14Bn.  They said they were going into a 17 year recovery plan.

A 17 year recovery plan!!  This is a company that has been in recovery since 2001 when it finally figured out that it had a £30bn debt mountain.  Whilst smaller atthe time France Telecom and DT where quietly beavering away being modern Telcos BT and their arch rivals CW seemed to lose the plot completely, determinedly launching and relaunching on the International markets, in ever more crazy, expensive and vain-glorious attempts to out AT&T, AT&T. 

You have to feel for the current BT management team who will be cleaning up Sir Peter Bonfields mess for another 20 years.