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NextGen Milton Keynes
Transformational Infrastructure. A liveblog – with text from David Brunnen and Brian Condon together with conversations and comments from the #nextgen12 Twitter hashtag.
Storified by Brian_Condon · Wed, Jun 06 2012 10:39:37
Participants gather for NextGen Roadshow Milton Keynes to discuss superfast broadband #nextgen12 #digitalbritain twitpic.com/9qvkttBrian_Condon
At MKStadium for #nextgen12 seeing lots of old friends #digitalbritain
Councillor David Hopkins talks about the strategic location of Milton Keynes and the importance of getting very high speed broadband.
Cllr Hopkins #NextGen12 – Milton Keynes is the fastest growing location in the country
David Hopkins talks about the importance of the Internet of Things to the future of Milton Keynes’ economy #nextgen12 twitpic.com/9qvoujBrian_Condon
David Hopkins is giving an overview of how important digital networks are to the businesses of the region – citing great examples like the Red Bull F1 racing team and the nearby Silverstone race track.
He is quoting Cisco research on the expected growth of broadband demand and the need for high capacity links.
He says that in spite of national doom and gloom on the economic front he says that in Milton Keynes they are experiencing rapid growth and much of that is critically based on the digital infrastructure.
The 2020 vision for Milton Keynes is a fundamental part of their thinking.
David Hopkins highlights 20 key trends that MK is very focused on. #nextgen12 twitpic.com/9qvqivBrian_Condon
The Benefits of Fit-For-Purpose Broadband
Crister Mattsson from Sweden is on stage and giving results from his latest research. His analysis shows how growth of GDP is intrinsically linked to high quality broadband infrastructure. The Swedish government’s plan – an information society for all – was based around principles that can easily be translated to the UK environment.
Christer Mattsson uses developments in Sweden to highlight the issues facing all of us in Europe. He particularly focuses on the need to encourage incumbents to invest. There are 100 new service providers in Sweden.
In Sweden 200 municipalities are building their own networks 87% public ownership #nextgen12 twitpic.com/9qvsz9Brian_Condon
Christer says that these new networks enable new services that have an effect on society.
87% of Swedish networks are owned by the public sector – Mattson #NextGen12
With FTTH 20% work from home; with copper it’s only 5% says Christer Mattsson at #nextgen12 #digitalbritain
But the benefits are not just economic – his studies for the Swedish government have also shown the positive impacts on society at larges and the efficiency of public sector services. Open Access – the view from Sweden is that unbundling is not enough – all levels of provision need to be separated with utility network access being considered and regulated in different ways to competitive services.
Crister highlights a distinction between the former incumber telco’s and new communications providers – the latter often locally based. 200 out of 297 municipalities are building their own networks and majority owned by the public sector – and making money – a process which keeps local taxes down! He also cites the plentiful availability of dark fibre – enabling businesses to create their own private networks. He has just commented on the ‘uncultured values’ that justify the investment and help develop new models for investment for high-speed access. The new services that did not exist before are an indication of the boost to innovation and inward investment to rural and less-favoured areas. He describes a virtuous circle of investment engendering new growth and improvements in the quality of life. he cites savings made by city of Stockholm – savings that have lowered taxes and, at the same time, improved the quality of life and public services delivery.
Crister Mattson #NextGen12 explaining the Swedish Market Landscape for Next Generation build
Fibre users are happier than copper users – it’s true! – Mattson #NextGen12
#nextgen12 Crister Mattsson: "take the initiative with infrastructure" certainly will! #digitalbritain
Delivering Next Generation Broadband to Accelerate Growth
Dr Ann Limb OBE DL now speaking – from Sweden to SEMLEP #NextGen12
She confesses to being technologically inexpert but has a very clear view of the outcomes and benefits of better broadband. Ann has in fact a great track record in previous government initiatives over the past decade – LearnDirect and YouGov.
The failure, she says, was that we neglected investment in the infrastructure and we now need to play ‘catch-up’ to accelerate growth.
. @AnnLimb agrees with Christer Mattsson that the UK isPlaying Catch Up in digital infrastructure #nextgen12 twitpic.com/9qvxnjBrian_Condon
The role of the digital natives and the importance to the education of our children is at the heart of the future Internet says Dr Ann Limb – she agrees with Christer Mattsson that more pressure should have been put on incumbents to invest in infrastructure.
Superfast broadband – everyone wants it – Ann Limb #NextGen12
The region has particularly strong digital needs with a diversity of environments of city and rural areas. Key objective is accelerating growth through digital investment and the SEMLEP has a champion appointed to make sure that faster and higher quality infrastructure will be increased – with a focus on businesses, rural areas and disadvantaged/excluded groups within society.
#NextGen12 RT @NeelieKroesEU: RT @kilfrew: RT @twECTA: "investing in telecoms is not too risky, it has to be done" #ftth #broadband
#NextGen12 Ann Limb speaking about her role for UKonline and Directgov
Debates began to break out on Twitter – both about Christer’s presentation and Ann’s remarks
@EventsNextGen #NextGen12 surely its the package, price and service experience that decides?
@Watchingtheflow currently its cheap packages and rubbish service for many. We need fibre. moral and optic. #NextGen12
@Watchingtheflow @brian_condon It was a comparison, not a trend he was referring to. #nextgen12 #digitalbritain
@cotswoldsbb @brian_condon #nextgen12 #digitalbritain and it s just not believable,
@Watchingtheflow haven’t seen any plans for that. Only cabinets. that isn’t real fibre broadband, comes through an old phone line #NextGen12
Ann Limb doesn’t understand why superfast broadband isn’t offered as a utility in new build particularly social housing #NextGen12 @AnnLimb
@EventsNextGen @AnnLimb Fibre ducting should be compulsary on any new builds at the very least. Even if not a fibre area yet. #NextGen12
@Yorkie71 @watchingtheflow @eventsnextgen Very good presentation by @annlimb at #NextGen12
Fibre To The Home from Start to Finish
Adam Ashenden of Prysmian
Very few delegates acknowledged any awareness of Prysmian – so Adam began his presentation by explaining that with the merger of Draka and Prysmian they are well established as a cable manufacturer in the Uk and have vast experience across continental Europe in Fibre-to-the home networks.
Adam Ashenden of Prysmian uses a real project #nextgen12 to highlight the issues in delivering #ftth twitpic.com/9qw0zjBrian_Condon
Adam’s first case study looked at a major project in Edinburgh – a complex project covering three areas and a potential extension to Edinburgh airport. Part of the solution involved pre-configutred Point of Presence – ready made units that could be used to deliver the hubs for the networks without extensive modifications of unsuitable buildings.
Adam then focused on the cables and ducts and the civil engineering challenges. In some areas duct networks existed and could be re-used but in other areas they worked with other utilities – including the sewer networks.
The city fibre ring needed to allow for extension to the airport but it also needed to link the three distinct areas. Part of the Prysmian solution benefited from their experience in Paris where they developed smaller cables with great capacity. They also developed a micro-ducting system to allow rapid deployment with air-blown systems – blown fibres are likely to last at least 25 years – vastly better than cables that are strained by pulling them in.
It is the experience and development capability of Prysmian and their ability to work with other agencies that contributes to these successful FTTH deployments.
His final point was that customer engagement was massively beneficial – many customers are happy to assist with the cable dig for the last few metres – reducing cost and gaining customer commitment.
Adam argues that it’s important for those involved in local broadband plans; whether from local authorities or parish councils to have a good understanding of the technical issues in helping to decide the various routes and technologies needed to deliver these projects. Different local situations will demand different solutions.
Adam says that it’s very important to make sure that you spend time working together to understand the needs of the area and customer groups – you can’t separate an understanding of locality and the infrastructure issues.
Further, faster & affordable – the latest from BT
Brendan Dick Managing Director BT Scotland & Managing Director BT Regions
Brendan Dick of BT says that in FTTC enabled areas, you’ll be able to order FTTP – no date mentioned #nextgen12 twitpic.com/9qw8vpBrian_Condon
Brendan starts with mentioning Rio+20(the forthcoming UN Summit) and the need to see ICT investment as a major contribution to sustainability (NextGen’s Marit Hendriks will be attending Rio+20 and expects to interview some of the UN Broadband Commission leaders)
Brendan first point – ‘Faster’ – was that from next year that businesses will be able to order fibre connectivity on demand. He also mentioned to predominance of businesses operated from home.
This would, he said, transform the way we live and work and will be a fundamentally key component of economic growth.
#NextGen12 Brendan Dick, BT: broadband is an enabler for how we live, how we work & how we make our economy thrive. <– Nicely put!
RT @paulinerigby: #NextGen12 not naming names, but the word "solutions" should be banished forever unless you really do mean dissolved in liquid
Brendan mentions that soon, businesses and others in areas that have FTTC will be able to order Fibre to the Premises as a sort of ‘on demand’ service.
His second point – Affordability – is not an issue – largely on account of the service providers that work with BT.
For Milton Keynes Brendan highlighted some local initiatives – ‘75% (more than 85,000 premises) have access to super fast broadband’. This is primarily ‘fibre to the cabinet’.
BT has apparently been surprised that take-up has been higher than the 35% they expected.
BT’s plans for #mk at #nextgen12 in Milton Keynes twitpic.com/9qwa2mBrian_Condon
Brendan highlighted the benefits to the UK economy – 0.3 to 0.5% contribution to GDP growth.
Brendan says that BT is engaged in future-proofing the UK’s telecoms network. They are now trialling faster speeds over combined fibre/copper networks. BY may believe in the utopia (of FTTH) but are rooted in the practical challenges of today – using mixes of technology to deliver basic broadband to 100% of the country.
RT @johnpopham: MT @brian_condon: BT say they are trialling, in the lab, 1 Gbps over Cu. #NextGen12 << It would be nice if we all lived in labs wouldn’t it?Edgar Aker
"Future Proofing" issues for #digitalbritain according to BT #nextgen12 twitpic.com/9qwbf3Brian_Condon
If the exchange is upgraded, the ducting in place and 1500 homeowners want it, why do BT not upgrade??? #nextgen12
@paulinerigby Brendan said he couldn’t help our area. ‘BT is not a charity’ http://t.co/m78xpTaK #NextGen12
Brendan Dick uses fibre example of the Well at Willen #NextGen12 from 2mbps to 40mbps – great improvement, businesses grow and thrive
75% of premises in Milton Keynes have access to fibre broadband thanks to BT’s investment – Brendan Dick #NextGen12
Lancashire, Rutland, Cornwall, Isles of Scilly, Northern Ireland all have significant fibre roll out – Brendan Dick #NextGen12
QUESTIONS FROM FLOOR
BT seems not to be providing FTTC to Milton Keynes to business parks – does this mean that BT expects businesses to buy more-expensive provisions.
Brendan responded by highlighting the priorities (from the BDUK programme) to fill the most needy gaps.
A question about rural areas produced response that it was a matter of market priorities – looking for the most likely take-up areas first – but all of this must fit with the BDUK programme.
BT. We need to stimulate market and digital inclusion important but also sustainability – leave a positive lasting impact #NextGen12
RT @RobDChambers: Feisty lot at #nextgen12 – laying into BT <- we think BT is v important but not the whole answer
The role of Broadband Delivery UK (“BDUK”)
Now #NextGen12 @ling_robert BDUK – we are committed to delivering the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015
Robert Lin of #BDUK introducing BDUK and its goals #NextGen12 twitpic.com/9qwodmBrian_Condon
@ling_robert Ling picture http://t.co/0jZswzU1 now speaking #NextGen12 Milton Keynes
Robert’s on the government’s objectives and BDUK processes.
He expressed some satisfaction that their process was on schedule and the responses from Local Authorities had been very encouraging. The process had been greatly benefited from clarification of the State Aid issues and an umbrella agreement agreed with the European Commission.
The 2nd round for bids opened on the 10th May and will close on 6th July. The first round (January) resulted in 16 applications out of 39 being approved.
BDUK pot: £530M on superfast broadband, £150 for superconnected cities & £150M to improve mobile infrastructure, says Rob Ling #NextGen12
Cities have until 2 August to submit full bids at which point actual allocations will be made @ling_robert #NextGen12
The Super-Connected Cities initiated in the budget resulted in indicative funding allocations being made – and a meeting on 14th June with all applicant will clarify the next steps.
A further programme for Mobile investment – details on the DCMS website.
Major issue – Demand Stimulation – DCMS working with GO ON UK ( a ‘reincarnation of RACE Online 2012) – is a key part of the strategy. Robert is keen to see a strong business focus and a collaborative culture that brings together many organisations such as FSB.
Second wave of smaller superconnected cities is now on the way #bduk #nextgen12
Robert Ling says they got 39 responses to the Rural Broadband Fund which given timescales was "phenomenal" #NextGen12 twitpic.com/9qwp6fBrian_Condon
Rob Ling #NextGen12 Rural Community Broadband Fund (for areas not addressed by local authority schemes) round 2 opens 10 May, closes 6 July
@ling_robert speaking about @Go_ON_UK campaign who picked up baton from Race Online 12 to get final 8.12m online #NextGen12 in Milton Keynes
Fibre To The Home Council Europe
Nadia starts by mentioning their partnership with NextGen and highlights the forthcoming NextGen 12 conference (Oct 8 & 9) in London.
FTTH Council was formalised in 2004 and is now a major industry organisation – with a vision for a sustainable future.
The FTTH Council Europe’s 10th anniversary conference (Feb 2013) will be held in London – the first time that it has been in England.
In line with the other FTTH Councils around the world the council’s league tables only count those homes and buildings that are actually connected by fibre.
Europe and CIS countries in total have more FTTH connections than the USA.
Take-up rates appear to be higher in CIS countries.
In the global rankings of countries with more than 200,000 households and more than 1% connected by FTTH. The Aisian countries (e.g. South Korea) are in the lead and Lithuania is the highest European entry.
In Europe there are 20 countries with more than 1% penetration and this table is lead by Nordic and Eastern European countries. Growth rates in Eastern Europe are now leading the market.
Babaali #NextGen12 Lithuania ranks NO1 with highest penetration of FTTH hear Lithuanian regulator at Scotland NG 7 June http://t.co/npMT6ZYw
Nadia Babaali of Fibre to the Home council points out worrying trends for EU in #ftth – other parts of world faster growing #nextgen12
France and Italy are on the table but Germany, Spain and UK have not yet achieved 1% penetration.
The Council have analysed projects by ‘type of player’ – Municipalities, Alternative Operators and European Incumbents. The first two categories have been important in driving Incumbents towards a more innovative approach.
In the ‘Race to Fibre Maturity’ (when 20% penetration is expected) the UK is not expected to achieve this until some time after 2022 – and long other most others. This prediction suggests that the UK may not achieve the EU’s broadband targets for 2020.
FTTH forecast Babaali #NextGen12 @FTTHCouncilEU. Europe will get there at 2020 UK will get there after 2022!
UK to not reach fibre to the home maturity (20% homes connected) until after 2022!! #NextGen12
#ftth "UK won’t reach fibre maturity until way past 2022" #nextgen12 #digitalbritain
Upload Speeds and Stability are key. Consumer demand is not an issue – but it takes a little time for consumers to learn how to exploit higher quality networks. It also takes time for operators to understand that it can be highly profitable.
There are continental case studies available on the FTT Council website. NextGen is assisting the Council in finding additional case studies from the UK.
Nadia Babaali charting Diffraction Analysis FTTH Service provider study @fiberguy #NextGen12 @FTTHCouncilEU
#nextgen12 If predictions by @ftthcouncileu come to pass then UK will miss Digital Agenda target of 100Mbps for 50% of homes by 2020
Local case studies
Fredi Nonyelu – MK Business Broadband Survey
Fred Nonyelu kicks off with a local broadband survey undertaken by the Biztech Forum
Objectives to understand the state of play in the Mk area and find recommendations for the city.
16% of businesses involved directly in ICT and the responses reflected a stronger response from this sector.
The results showed many areas are effectively rural with very low broadband speeds – but this was also apparent in the city centre.
32% rated reliability as poor. 86% had upload speeds of less than 2mbps.
Fredi Nonyelu presents results of a survey of business needs for high speed broadband #NextGen12 twitpic.com/9qx2vz twitpic.com/9qx2z4Brian_Condon
#nextgen12 Fredi Nonyelu: businesses surveyed in Milton Keynes want to pay less than £30 per month for broadband
Only 14% had upload speeds greater than 8mbps.
The slides are detailed and will be available on the NextGen site as soon as possible.
On affordability the willingness to pay seemed to be limited to less than £30 – regardless of performance.
Several examples from local enterprises were reviewed in detail.
BDUK has awarded only £140k -to Milton Keynes – but MK council has allocation £2.4M and this is expected to be match-funded by operators.
Competition is seen as key – and whilst they welcome the work with BY they see the need to have a local dimension and get away from a ‘1 size fits all’ approach.
Fredi then finished by reviewing the challenges and opportunities – and the need for the infrastructure to match the future vision for the city.
The Brooklands Development
Graeme Scott Technical Account Manager IFNL
A different approach to #ngn with INFL "treating it as a utility" #NextGen12 "get what you pay for" twitpic.com/9qx54uBrian_Condon
INFL is pre-providing each plot with a basic infrastructure that is open for use by any operator.
This means no street furniture – the entire infrastructure is underground.
#NextGen12 Graeme Scott claims that IFNL delivers fastest broadband in the UK – 200Mbps on Brooklands development in MK
"@brian_condon: A different approach to #ngn with INFL "treating it as a utility" #NextGen12 "get what you pay for". Excellent approach.
@GreySkyConsult @brian_condon "You get what you pay for" shouldn’t that be "pay for what you use" as in how utilities charge? #NextGen12
What households need – implies FTTC can’t cope – says Graeme Scott of IFNL #NextGen12 twitpic.com/9qx6ilBrian_Condon
Research shows more clearly that customers want fast upload and lower latency. They also want IPTV and the network is configured to deliver this (including Sky).
Telecoms is the same as any other utility.
TV requires 15Mbps per channel. Graeme highlights multiple concurrent applications.
Standard Service is 50Mbps down and 25Mbps upload speed. This is the fastest service in Milton Keynes.
This presentation highlights the value of a local operator – and further extensions from the scheme are being developed.
@Watchingtheflow IFNL offer choice of gas and electric suppliers on their other utility networks, aiming for the same with fibre #NextGen12danielheery
Milton Keynes Smart City
Prof Keith Straughan Interim Dean University College Milton Keynes
Smart Cities must be self aware and should be able to respond to external stimuli.
The evolution of city services – understanding the spiral of developments – requires a view of convergence of several human factors. Keith views that the technology focus of many models is mistaken – agriculture, education, water production – just three of the perspectives that are missing from government understanding.
Smart Cities demand increasing ‘knowledge sharing’. Keith cites Ofgem work on understand electricity demands.
Keith shows a new view of Smart Cities – but the hardest part is not technology but people factors – but it cannot move forward without an infrastructure that allows behaviours to change and evolve.
Time, Einstein and Everything Cool about NextGen Technology
Mark Kellett – CEO Magnet Networks
Trading and Gaming are drivers of #ngn says Mark Kellett of Magnet Networks. #NextGen12 http://twitpic.com/9qxdueBrian_Condon
For the last 2 years Magnet has been supplying services to new-build developments – not only in Ireland but in many parts of the UK – example Wembley and Greenwich.
Magnet provides an IPTV service and Sky services as well a open open access network.
They have developed special service for gamers – and much of the benefits are being felt in the Financial Services world of high-frequency trading.
Beware the JCB – Mark cites the customer who refused the offer of a back-up link – and lost 4 days work because of a digger!
Acceleration – more capacity is always taken up – so why do people still ask why they would need 100mbps? Once they have experienced it they will never let it go.
Latency is a vital quality issue for business users.
Aertv is live and social – 29% of viewers comment on social media – and 29% of TV viewers are viewing it in the bathroom!
You can find copies of the presentations on the NextGen Events website:
Mark Kellett – CEO Magnet Networksnextgenevents
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