Friday, March 23, 2012

Water-fiber system: cheap way to enter a home

There is a new branch in the ever expanding universe of fiber deployments, ranging from fiber-to-the-X to fiber-through-the-X.

The latest version has been trialed in Germany, in Adenau, last year: WFS (water-fiber system), or fiber-through-the-waterworks. The local water utility in nearby Bonn is working with the Adenau utility and two technology companies, Stadtwerke Bonn is reporting: FRIATEC (manufacturer of ducts and pumps) and egeplast pro cable. Now, it is proposed to bring fiber to the towns of Adenau and Altenahr, using this technology.
It looks like the technology works by inserting an empty duct into the water duct, but only for the last few meters from the nearby fiber duct into the home. FRIATEC appears to have a similar solution for gas pipes.

Two memorable quotes:
"Es wird nicht mehr diskutiert, ob der Glasfaseranschluss nötig ist oder nicht. Es geht nur noch um die Frage, wie schnell und in welchen Konstellationen die Glasfaser zu den Kunden gelangt."
"Für Großstädte bringt diese Technik Einsparungen in Millionenhöhe, da aufwändige und kostenintensive Tiefbauarbeiten entfallen und für ländliche Bereiche scheint dies aktuell der einzige reale Ansatz um die Glasfaser bis zum Kunden zu bringen."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

B4RN: let the digging commence

B4RN announces that it will actually start digging on March 31. Here is the full text of the release:

B4RN Breaks the First Sod and starts its Community Dig 
March 31st at Jubilee Tower, Quernmore, starting at 1pm, 2pm Grand opening ceremony, 3pm tea and cake.

The community-owned, rural, gigabit Fibre To The Home project, Broadband 4 the Rural North, has passed another major milestone this month. 

The Early Bird offer ended on 29th February, and B4RN CEO, Professor Barry Forde, is pleased to announce that sufficient shares have now been sold to commence the digging which will begin at the event on March 31st.

"We are delighted with the response to the share issue, which has surpassed even our highest hopes," said Professor Forde. "This proves that the appetite for investment and support of such community owned broadband projects is alive and well, and that solving the problem of rural broadband for the next generation is prompting people to invest even in times of economic hardship."

At the launch the local community will be celebrating the start of the dig.  John and Andrew Metcalfe, local farmers, will be breaking the first sod, and are some of the many farmers who will be laying the ducting in order to buy shares in B4RN.  “This will make a major difference to our community, and to me and my young family.  As they grow they will be able to use the technology that children elsewhere take for granted, and we will be able to diversify our business through it. “ says Andrew Metcalfe

The launch will be held at a local beauty spot that is half way along the first of the core routes.  The dig will progress out from either side of the start point,  and all 13 core routes should be live in 3 months, weather permitting. Subsidiary routes and spurs to properties will branch out from that.  There has been so much enthusiasm that the management committee is considering whether to bring forward the timescale for later phases of the build.

B4RN is the only UK community offering gigabit broadband, meaning that consumers will have the opportunity to work, live and play faster and more efficiently than most places in the world. This forward-thinking, fully-fibred approach has been recognised as the optimal solution to the digital divide, and will encourage regeneration of this deeply rural area, bringing new jobs, opportunities and revenue to rural Lancashire.

The support of the local community has been key to B4RN's success to date, and there are many people and businesses within the area who will be earning their shares through sweat and labour as well as investing their money.

Prof. Forde stated, "This is where we can reduce the costs that a traditional telecommunications company would face, by using local skills and knowledge, working directly with the community, and being a part of it. B4RN is a 100% community project, with neighbours helping neighbours. The community spirit is strong in rural areas and B4RN is a showcase for that spirit."

Share ownership starts from £100, with 30% tax refunds available to anyone investing between £500 and £20,000 under the Government's EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme), which makes it an attractive proposition for all investors. £1500 ensures a Foundation Membership with additional bonuses such as a free connection and one year's free subscription to the gigabit service.  B4RN’s coverage area is close to the coast, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, making it an ideal base for weekend breaks, holidays and the chance to explore some of the north of England's most beautiful tourist areas. External investors can nominate a property within B4RN coverage area for the free connection, including holiday cottages.

Full details of the share issue, including the business plan, are available on along with maps of the coverage area and phases.