Archive for Broadband

Broadband use in China to overtake the US within a year

China will overtake the US as the world’s biggest broadband market in less than a year, according to new research released today from analyst firm Ovum.

China’s broadband sector has been growing dramatically at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 79 percent over the last three years. The strong growth will continue to boost the broadband market, which will reach 79 million subscribers by 2007, the Ovum report said.

Ovum’s senior analyst Kevin Lee said with a penetration rate of only 3.4 percent of the population now, the potential for growth is huge.

“Broadband penetration in China is well behind many countries in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said. “We believe China’s broadband development will continue to benefit from a booming economy, growing incomes, expanding PC penetration and new applications such as VoIP and IPTV. The Olympics will provide another boost.”

Ovum forecasts for China’s broadband will grow by a CAGR of 75 percent to reach 139 million subscribers by 2010.

China Telecom and China Netcom are the dominant providers of broadband access services in China, with a combined broadband market share of 87 percent of subscribers. China Tietong, China Unicom, cable and miscellaneous other operators account for the remainder.

Lee said DSL dominates with a growing market share of 71 percent and 32 million subscribers by June 2006.

It is followed by Ethernet-based LAN access in high-density areas, which has a substantial market share of 26 percent.

“DSL technology will be the key force for broadband growth; operators are progressively upgrading the network using higher speed technology such as ADSL2+ and VDSL to meet increasing bandwidth demands,” Lee said, adding that cable modem, wireless technologies and others will make a much smaller contribution.

DSL speed and prices vary widely across China and between the two main DSL providers. Broadband prices (where China Telecom offers higher rates) are normally highest in major cities, but are more affordable in second- and third-tier cities.

Despite widespread cable coverage and 128 million cable TV service subscribers in China, Lee said cable operators have made few inroads into the growing broadband market.

Ovum believes that regulatory barriers, fragmented ownership structure and a lack of expertise have seriously undermined cable operators’ competitiveness against DSL providers. This is in stark contrast to the North American market.

As for wireless broadband, Lee says that it is still at an immature stage, but the emergence of VoIP is giving operators new hope for seeing returns on their WLANs.

He said growing IPTV deployment is expected to encourage broadband uptake in China.

“The two DSL operators rolled out extensive IPTV trials over 2005 in collaboration with the IPTV licensees Shanghai Media Group and CCTV. Following Harbin, Shanghai will be the second city to begin commercial service by the end of September 2006,” Lee said.

Ovum forecasts that prospects for further broadband development in China are bright, but significant uncertainties remain.

“China needs to restructure the telecomms industry and it needs to reform the regulatory policy for broadband and IPTV; there is also the possible entry of foreign players in line with world trade commitments,” Lee said.

From ComputerWorld

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St. Petersburg wants citywide wireless Internet

Heading to the park? Don’t forget your laptop.

Sometime in the not-so-distant future, the city plans to offer wireless Internet access to all residents for a fee. That means anyone with a wireless card in their computer could tap into e-mail or search Google, both indoors and out.

“That’s really where the world is heading,” said Mayor Rick Baker. “Soon, every city is going to need to offer wireless service in order to be competitive.”

The city plans to solicit bids for companies to set up a wireless network in the next few months. How the system works and the cost to residents will be determined by who bids on the contract, said Muslim Gadiwalla, the city’s chief information officer.

Wireless access has been popping up in communities across the country. It works with transmitters that beam radio signals on unregulated frequencies short distances to devices such as notebook computers, cellular phones and personal digital assistants. Monthly service fees can range anywhere from $30 to $70.

It’s increasingly common to see wireless hot spots at coffee shops, hotels and restaurants, including Starbucks and McDonald’s. But citywide networks are still relatively uncommon.

Dunedin was one of the first Florida cities to move towards a citywide Wi-Fi network. They hired St. Petersburg-based Citi WiFi to provide subscriber-only wireless Internet service last May.

James Guerin, Dunedin’s information technology director, said about 20 percent of the city is now covered by the network. Another 60 percent will be added by July, with the remaining 20 percent by October.

Guerin said a dispute with Progress Energy delayed the network. The power company initially refused to allow Citi WiFi to place transmitters on their utility poles but relented after state legislators intervened, Guerin said.

There are now 127 subscribers to Dunedin’s service, which costs $24.95 a month for residents. Business subscriptions start at $49.95.

The reception has been enthusiastic so far, Guerin said.

“The people at the marina absolutely love it,” he said. “Now they have broadband access right on their boats.”

Not every locality charges residents for the service. Last month, St. Cloud became the first Florida municipality to actually create a citywide wireless network and offer the service for free. However, residents of the Orlando suburb have complained about dead spots and weak signals, forcing engineers to retool the system.

Google Inc. and EarthLink Inc. are teaming up to build a wireless network for San Francisco. EarthLink’s faster offering would cost $20 per month, while Google would provide a slower, free service financed by advertising.

Baker said he’s been considering the creation of a wireless network for the past two years but purposefully held back to see how other cities fared. “We wanted to see the deals that other cities got to make sure we could get the best deal for our city,” Baker said.

City officials hope to receive bids for the contract by June or July. If everything goes according to plan, a network could be in place by late this year or early 2007.

City Council member Rick Kriseman said he hopes the city moves quickly. As technology improves, a wireless network becomes an increasingly important tool to lure businesses.

“I think it would put us on the map,” Kriseman said. “From an economic development standpoint, it really makes us competitive.”

By Carrie Weimar.

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Broadband what the doctor ordered

Business-focused telco Pacific Internet has retained the business of around 90 general practitioners (GPs) as part of the government’s subsidised AU$35 million Broadband for Health (BFH) program.
The telco today announced it would also deliver managed security services to the group of doctors, known as the Hunter Urban Division of General Practice (HUDGP).

“Pacific Internet has provided broadband to HUDGP — a representative group for GPs in the Newcastle and Hunter area — since November 2004,” a joint e-mailed statement from the two organisations said today.

In the statement, HUDGP chief information officer Chris Scott said: “This approved BFH plan bundles business-grade connectivity with Cisco hardware that has intrusion detection and prevention capabilities, and will be fully monitored and managed by Pacific Internet.”

Scott added HUDGP had a three-year plan to create a community-managed health network utilising funding from the government’s Managed Health Network program.

“The network would link different health sectors in the area, including aged-care services, GPs, specialists, and the Hunter New England Area Health Service,” the statement said.


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New data transmission record - 60 DVDs per second

As the world’s internet traffic grows relentlessly, faster data transmission will logically become crucial. To enable telecommunications networks to cope with the phenomenal surge in data traffic as the internet population moves past a billion users, researchers are focusing on new systems to increase data transmission rates and it’s not surprising that the world data transmission record is continually under threat. Unlike records where human physical capabilities limit new records to incremental growth, when human ingenuity is the deciding factor, extraordinary gains are possible. German and Japanese scientists recently collaborated to achieve just such a quantum leap in obliterating the world record for data transmission. By transmitting a data signal at 2.56 terabits per second over a 160-kilometer link (equivalent to 2,560,000,000,000 bits per second or the contents of 60 DVDs) the researchers bettered the old record of 1.28 terabits per second held by a Japanese group. By comparison, the fastest high-speed links currently carry data at a maximum 40 Gbit/s, or around 50 times slower.

“You transmit data at various wavelengths simultaneously in the fiber-optic networks. For organizational and economic reasons each wavelength signal is assigned a data rate as high as possible”, explains Prof. Hans-Georg Weber from the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut HHI in Berlin, who heads a project under the MultiTeraNet program funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

A few weeks ago the scientist and his team established a new world record together with colleagues from Fujitsu. Data is transmitted in fiber-optic cables using ultrashort pulses of light and is normally encoded by switching the laser on and off. A pulse gives the binary 1, off the 0. You therefore have two light intensity states to transmit the data. The Fraunhofer researchers have now managed to squeeze more data into a single pulse by packing four, instead of the previous two, binary data states in a light pulse using phase modulation.”

“Faster data rates are hugely important for tomorrow’s telecommunications”, explains Weber. The researcher assumes the transmission capacity on the large transoceanic traffic links will need to increase to between 50 and 100 terabits per second in ten to 20 years. “This kind of capacity will only be feasible with the new high-performance systems.”

From GizMag

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AT&T plans to roll out high-speed DSL to rural Texas

AT&T Inc., the state’s largest communications company, is on track to introduce high-speed Internet service to every community in Texas by year’s end.

Working under a mandate set by Senate Bill 5, San Antonio-based AT&T (NYSE: T) plans to equip every switching location served by the company in Texas with the capability of providing high-speed Digital Subscriber Line Internet service. This includes rural communities in Texas.

Since the bill’s passage, AT&T announced plans to invest $800 million in new technology in Texas over the next three years. TXU Utilities Inc., a division of Dallas-based TXU Corp. (NYSE: TXU), also announced previously that it plans to invest $150 million to deliver broadband over power lines.

Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick say Senate Bill 5 will ensure broadband services are available to all Texans.

State lawmakers passed Senate Bill 5 last year during a special session of the Texas Legislature. More than 90 percent of legislators voted in favor of the bill.

“When I asked the Legislature to update Texas’ communications laws in my State of the State address before the 2005 session, this is exactly the outcome I knew we would see if we did the job right,” Perry said. “This is a perfect example of how good policies lead to good things for Texas.”

State Sen. Frank Madla, D-San Antonio, agreed.

“The ability to communicate is the key for our communities and businesses to compete in the 21st century economy,” he added.

Published in Dallas Business Journal.

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