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Full Fibre for all by 2025

Boris Johnson has promised to accelerate full fibre rollout and move the deadline forward to 2025 from the 2033 currently targeted by the UK Government. This statement of intent, in an article for the Daily Telegraph published in June and entitled “Let’s reboot “left–behind” Britain with a turbo-charged broadband revolution” is to be welcomed.

But could this be achieved in just six years?

A 2018 report by Regeneris estimated that full fibre rollout could boost the UK economy by £120 billion over 15 years. It would also put the UK on equal footing with countries such as Spain, which already has 71% full fibre coverage, Portugal (89%), Japan (97%) and South Korea (99%). Even France, with 28%, is way ahead of the UK’s current 7% full-fibre coverage.

But if we want to get to full fibre for all by 2025 and enjoy the full range of social and economic benefits it brings, we will, as a country, need to make tough compromises. We will need to make this a national priority just as we did in the 19th Century during the development of the UK’s railway infrastructure.

The successful delivery of transformational infrastructure requires tough decisions and willingness to tolerate the temporary suspension of certain rights related to property, planning and access.

Delivering full fibre for all means building full fibre past four million properties per year every year from 2020 to 2025. That’s 16,000 properties being offered access to full fibre for the first time every working day.

As a society we will need to decide that this is worth doing, and to get the long term benefits of full fibre gigabit speed broadband, it is worth tolerating the short-term inconvenience and disruption of building this essential infrastructure into every home and business. The Government would need immediately, at the very latest, early in 2020 to make this happen.

As a country, we need to amend or suspend regulations and bylaws that are designed to provide checks and balances to new infrastructure build, and as a result slow down and increase the cost of that build.  And in parallel, we must remove any barrier that delays or prevents consumers switching to full fibre broadband at pace.

  • Suspend planning law
    • Full fibre build no longer requires public consultation or negotiation with planning authorities over the location or size of equipment.
  • Suspend highways law
    • Modern construction techniques such as narrow trenching, on site recycling and liquid reinstatement must be permitted.
    • Permits and notices are not charged and granted automatically. Fines are not applied. Section 58 and other notices that restrict access to work in the highways are disregarded. All works can commence following a 7 day notice. Road closure procedures accelerated to 7 day notice for closures of less than 24 hours. No limits, formal or informal, on the number of gangs operating in any specific location.
  • Suspend private property law
    • Automatic right of access to all properties to deliver full fibre into the residential or business property. Automatic grant of wayleaves over private land for infrastructure with no lasting visual impact for a standard, national rate card payment to the landowner by land type.
  • Suspend immigration restrictions for full fibre labour
    • Ensure easy access to full fibre construction workforce through simple work visa processes irrespective of worker’s nationality. Provide support to operator and contractor led training schemes to build in the UK full fibre skills and expertise.
  • Change broadband advertising rules and empower consumers
    • Clear advertising and communication so that consumers can easily identify and switch to full fibre broadband services compared to other technological solutions. Remove all barriers that delay or prevent migration from copper-based broadband to full fibre broadband.

The national full fibre build programme by 2025 will demand over £20 billion investment, with the vast majority coming from private investors. To unlock private capital quickly, the Government should provide medium term regulatory certainty and support with access to low cost long-term debt financing early in the construction phase.

In addition, we must foster an environment of collaboration between full fibre builders and local authorities to resolve issues on the ground quickly. As well as between competing full fibre builders to limit inefficient overbuild of networks that risk some properties suffering disruption from multiple full fibre builds in the same streets at the cost of substantial delays to full fibre upgrades in other areas.

Changes to our regulations and bylaws, along with greater collaboration, will enable operators to deliver high quality fibre infrastructure rapidly and encourage consumers to switch to full fibre broadband services.

If these measures are implemented in early 2020, we can achieve national full fibre by 2025 and enjoy the economic prosperity and competitiveness that full connectivity will bring across the UK.

The communications industry would be delighted to make this happen if the country will allow it.

2 months ago

Doing more now School’s out for Summer

It’s the time when schools break up, kids celebrate the end of term, and parents think, “How am I going to cope for 6 weeks?”

Balancing being a parent and a busy working life is hard. The children get 13+ weeks holiday a year; you get maybe 5. How do you look after them when they get much more time at home than you do?

Thankfully, working life is changing. Employers are seeing the benefits of flexible working; more motivated, productive and loyal employees. More of us are working from home, mixing work with family life, particularly during those long holidays.

But home working brings its own demands. How to connect to your colleagues when you’re not together? How to keep your kids quiet when you’re on a video call? Can you rely on your broadband when they’re at home streaming Netflix?

That’s why Zzoomm are building a new full fibre network to let you do more. Our full fibre connects directly to your home. That means it’s more reliable so you can depend on it. It’s faster; you can share files faster and multi-task, making you more productive. And it gives you more capacity, enough to keep the kids entertained whilst you do that important video call.

More freedom to do your best work and more time with your family.

Zzoomm’s coming.

2 months ago

A digital thread to the moon, and back.

50 years ago this week, the first humans walked on the moon.

We know the stories of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. They were the poster boys of the first Apollo landing. But we hear less about the technology that put a man on the moon, and the influence it has on our lives today.

To achieve their mission NASA invested in a new type of technology. The integrated circuit, or as we know it today, the microchip. In the 1960s microchips were the latest cutting-edge technology. So much so that NASA bought 60% of all the microchips produced in the US in 1963 just to support Apollo.

Some of those chips were used in the Apollo Guidance Computer, a machine with, what seemed at the time, a staggering 2,000 bytes of memory.

By comparison, today a single minute of an HD movie requires 50 million bytes of memory – 25,000 times as much as the tech that steered Apollo 11 all the way to the moon. The memory of a new iPhone XS is 4,000,000,000 bytes – that’s 2 million times as much as the computer that steered astronauts to the moon.

As they travelled across space the astronauts were connected to mission control and home by a tiny radio thread spanning 250,000 miles. That thread carried communications and data, critical to the safety and success of the Apollo mission.

But despite all this incredible technology, the Apollo 11 landing nearly failed at the very last minute. As Armstrong and Aldrin readied themselves for the landing, they lost contact with Mission control – the Apollo equivalent of a dropped call or a streamed movie that buffers at that critical moment.

And the whole journey was shared live, across the world. That thread that carried critical communications and data was also stretched to its very limits to carry TV pictures. It reached from the moon into hundreds of millions of homes around the world. Parents in the UK woke their children in the middle of the night to watch those famous grainy pictures of the first small steps on the moon. No one wanted to miss out on seeing that moment of history.

When NASA set out to their plans go to the moon in 1961 they could never have envisaged how much technology would advance by 1969. In the last 50 years our computers have transformed beyond all recognition, with no signs that the pace of change will slow down any time soon.

They have gone from the stuff of science fiction and the space race to tiny but powerful devices that we carry around with us every day. We use them for shopping, for working, for entertainment and communication, sometimes all at the same time. Grainy pictures have made way for HD, and now 4K. And when the technology works well, it helps us to do more – gives us more time to do what we want, more opportunity to explore new things, more freedom to choose how we live our lives.

That’s why we at Zzoomm are investing in building a new kind of digital thread for our new, modern world.  A digital thread that can carry the equivalent of a thousand million Apollo Guidance Computers at once to every home and business. A full fibre digital thread that not only does what you need for today but will also meet what you need for the future, whatever that future brings.  A digital thread that lets you do more.  Just like NASA did in July 1969.

2 months ago

Henley-on-Thames to become full fibre town

Zzoomm, the new fibre network operator, has selected Henley-on-Thames to be the first town for their new full fibre network and expects to start building later in the summer.

Zzoomm is building a full fibre network capable of speeds of up to 10Gbps, hugely faster than the old copper network. The network will be made available to the 6,800 homes and businesses in Henley.

Zzoomm plans to start building at the end of the summer and to complete the work in the second half of 2020.

Zzoomm has also announced that it will be recruiting its own regional and field teams locally rather than subcontracting out the build and maintenance of the network. To support this Zzoomm will be opening a regional office in the centre of Henley shortly.   

Matthew Hare, Zzoomm’s Chief Executive said:

“We’re delighted to be launching our network in Henley, a vibrant town with a strong community. Zzoomm’s new full fibre network brings a new competitive offering for both homes and businesses, delivering more choice, more speed and more opportunity.

“Our full fibre will offer from 100Mbps to 10Gbps, so you can pick the speed that suits you, leaving behind the limitations of the old copper network.

“Henley’s home to lots of creative and entrepreneurial businesses and businesspeople. Full fibre means more opportunities for those businesses to harness new technology, cloud computing and home working.

“And we are making Henley our home too. We want to give our customers the best possible experience and to build a partnership with the local community in Henley. So we will be opening an office and recruiting teams locally. Full fibre for Henley from Zzoomm means more jobs in Henley.”

3 months ago

Zzoomm signs partnership agreement with Hexatronic worth £2.5m

Zzoomm and Hexatronic announce an ambitious partnership for Zzoomm’s full fibre network delivery.

Hexatronic UK Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hexatronic Group AB, will supply the passive network components for Zzoomm’s new 10Gbps Full Fibre network. The comprehensive logistics, engineering support and training package offered as part of the Hexatronic Fibre Access Matrix gives Zzoomm a one stop shop.

Zzoomm’s partnership with Hexatronic complements their existing agreement with Adtran for the supply of network technology and moves Zzoomm, who were granted code powers in May, even closer to starting their network build.

Zzoomm believes that the Hexatronic Fibre Access Matrix will help streamline and speed the build process, supporting its build to 1m homes and businesses over the next 5 years in towns and cities across the UK that are currently only served by slower copper based broadband services.

Matthew Hare, Zzoomm Chief Executive said:

“Hexatronic are a perfect partner for Zzoomm. Putting in place such a comprehensive arrangement means we’re free to focus on building a brilliant network and doing the best possible job for our customers. We’re confident in their full support as Zzoomm rolls out to towns and cities across the UK. This is another step to the UK’s full fibre future.”

Henrik Larsson Lyon, Hexatronic´s Chief Executive Officer said:

“We are delighted to have become a strategic supplier to such a dynamic business at such an exciting time. We have been working closely with Zzoomm on the development of passive infrastructure solutions that can help drive efficiency in their build programme. Our market-leading FTTH products are characterised by being quick and easy to install, and we support our customers with local field support and training facilities. This partnership with Zzoomm is a key milestone for Hexatronic and serves to significantly strengthen our position within the rapidly expanding UK market.”

3 months ago

Zzoomm granted code powers by Ofcom

Zzoomm has today been granted Code Powers by Ofcom, enabling us to build and operate our network. It’s a critical step in our mission to bring high quality full fibre broadband to homes and businesses across the country.

Zzoomm’s new network infrastructure will deliver broadband speeds of up to 10Gbps (10 Gigabits of data per second) to homes and businesses, both downloads and uploads some 400 to 500 times* faster than the average speeds across copper infrastructure.

Matthew Hare, Zzoomm Chief Executive & Chief Zzoommer said:

“Brilliant news, we’re one step closer to the broadband customers are crying out for. Speedier streaming, happier home working and better-connected businesses across the UK.

Our network design is racing ahead, our infrastructure testing is progressing at speed, and the Zzoomm team is limbering up, ready to get building our fabulous Full Fibre network.”

Keep your eyes open for our announcements on first build locations soon.

* Source: thinkbroadband.com – Q4 2018 median figures

4 months ago

Zzoomm Network Testing Underway

Zzoomm has assembled and powered up a full end-to-end test of our new 10G access network. Working with Adtran customer engineering, the Zzoomm team have built the test bed to simulate our new full fibre network.

It might look like a cabinet full of cream boxes and flashing lights, but the test bed actually includes Internet connectivity, 100Gbps core and edge connectivity and multiple XGS-PON OLTs. And lots of Zzoomm yellow fibre cabling. In addition, the test bed has customer ONTs and routers, to replicate the set-up in a typical household (though admittedly without the grumpy teenagers stealing the WiFi… yet).

Zzoomm will use the test bed to validate all aspects of service management; provisioning, operations and monitoring. It will help Zzoomm ensure that the service we deliver to our customers meets their expectations. Zzoommers want a faster internet – we’ll make sure they get it.

Zzoomm will be testing different software loads to ensure that the network runs reliably and importantly, the test bed will be used to introduce software and hardware failures to ensure that the resilience designed into the network delivers continuous service to customers. Our network won’t just be fast, it will be dependable too.

Getting the network testing underway is another big step towards bringing fast full fibre to homes and businesses across the UK. Get ready. Zzoomm’s coming!

5 months ago

Ofcom consults on applying Code powers to Zzoomm

Zzoomm, the recently launched full fibre network operator which will build and operate full fibre infrastructure in towns and suburbs across the UK, has applied to Ofcom for Code powers. Code powers allow an operator to build its networks in the public highway. Today, Ofcom launched a formal 30-day consultation in order to apply Code powers to Zzoomm.

Zzoomm will deliver high quality full fibre broadband to homes and businesses which are currently only served by copper infrastructure.

The Code powers will enable Zzoomm to reach every property within each town they serve. Zzoomm will be able to construct and maintain its full fibre network and associated ducts and network equipment in the public highway, without the need for a specific street works licence for every street.

Zzoomm’s new network infrastructure will deliver broadband speeds of up to 10Gbps (10 Gigabits of data per second) to homes and businesses, both downloads and uploads some 400 to 500 times* faster than the average speeds across copper infrastructure.

Network build is scheduled to start in summer 2019.

Matthew Hare, Zzoomm Chief Executive said:

“The granting of Code powers to Zzoomm by Ofcom is another important step in our mission to bring full fibre to the UK.

“We’ve selected our key technology partner, we’re designing our network and we’re moving at speed to do our bit to get the UK connected to a much faster full fibre future.

“Large parts of the UK are struggling with a broadband connection that just doesn’t meet their ever-growing needs. More streaming, more remote working, more cloud computing and even more gaming, means that there’s a substantial and growing demand for the vastly better broadband experience that we at Zzoomm will deliver.”

* Source: thinkbroadband.com – Q4 2018 median figures

5 months ago

Plans to deliver 10 Gigabits per second access speed in partnership with ADTRAN

Zzoomm, the recently launched full fibre network operator which will build and operate full fibre infrastructure in towns and suburbs across the UK, announces that its new network infrastructure will deliver broadband speeds of 10Gbps (10 Gigabits of data per second) to homes and businesses.

The new robust infrastructure and extremely high speeds will meet the rapid growth in speed and capacity that homes and businesses are expected to need, for many decades.

Zzoomm has selected ADTRAN, Inc., the leading provider of next-generation open networking solutions, as its supplier of infrastructure technologies and equipment as it builds out the network. ADTRAN will supply Zzoomm with the next generation XGS-PON solution and equipment to deliver a 10Gbps full fibre to the premise (FTTP) service. ADTRAN will also provide engineering support for the design and testing of the new infrastructure.

Matthew Hare, Chief Executive, commented:

“This is all about future proofing – 10 years ago, one Gigabit was considered sufficient to meet future speed needs but this is no longer the case.”

“Working with ADTRAN, we are building out a robust infrastructure that’s fit for the coming decades. Zzoomm will deliver 10 Gigabit speeds to homes and businesses – both downloads and uploads – in towns and suburbs, some 400 to 500 times* faster than the average speeds across copper infrastructure.”

“We are targeting hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses that are still hampered by ageing copper infrastructure. They will no longer be hamstrung by dated communications networks with Zzoomm’s new full fibre network.”

Ronan Kelly, ADTRAN Chief Technology Officer for EMEA and APAC said:

“We are enabling operators across Europe, like Zzoomm, to make significant progress in connecting homes and businesses to advanced services that enhance subscriber experience and quality of life.”

“This partnership is another proof-point that the market is choosing 10G PON technology over 1G PON variants deployed over the last two decades.”

* Source: thinkbroadband.com – Q4 2018 median figures

7 months ago

New full fibre network Zzoomm launched for towns and suburbs by fibre infrastructure veteran Matthew Hare

Matthew Hare who set up and developed the rural fibre network Gigaclear in 2010, has today launched Zzoomm, a new full fibre network operator.

Zzoomm will build and operate new full fibre infrastructure in towns and suburbs across the UK, delivering high quality broadband to homes and businesses which are currently only served by copper infrastructure.

Matthew Hare, Zzoomm Chief Executive, said:

“The full fibre revolution is here, but many are currently left behind. Numerous small towns and suburbs still do not have any plans for full fibre from the network into the properties and are stuck with the pedestrian internet access speeds that is provided by copper wires.”

“Zzoomm is targeting some of these 4.5 million homes which are still blighted by ageing copper infrastructure”.

“We are attracting a management team with proven expertise in fibre infrastructure. We will develop the network across the country through regional operations, which will work with local communities to build the full fibre network they need for a brighter, fuller future.”

7 months ago

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