Also in today's regional roundup: Dimension Data plans acquisitions; Huber+Suhner feels currency pain in H1; Liquid Telecom and MTN hook up in Africa; Telefónica boosts links to the Canary Islands.
Openreach , the access network division of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), claims it has achieved broadband downstream speeds of up to 330 Mbit/s using G.fast in the town of Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire), UK, the first location for two planned field trials of the emerging fixed broadband technology. Over the next six to nine months, up to 2,000 homes and businesses will be hooked up to G.fast lines during the Huntingdon trial, which involves eight retail broadband service providers, including BT Retail and Zen Internet, and technology from three vendors -- Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN), Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. .
If the technology proves capable, Openreach plans to deploy G.fast, which boosts transmission speeds to hundreds of megabits per second over copper lines running up to a few hundred meters, across the UK in the coming years and expects it to enable broadband speeds of up to 500 Mbit/s to most of the UK within a decade. For more details, including some not very subtle messages to UK regulator Ofcom about the link between network investment and the status of Openreach, see this press release.
BT, along with other operators such as Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM), is urging the vendor community to boost the capabilities of G.fast so that it can be deployed in existing street cabinets that already house vectoring technology: Achieving that would make G.fast a much more affordable and relevant technology to incumbent national operators that want to delay investments in fiber-to-the-premises.
South Africa-based global IT services player Dimension Data says it has made an offer to acquire the communications business of Singapore-headquartered Jebsen & Jessen Group for an unspecified sum. Dimension Data says the acquisition of Jebsen & Jessen Communications, which comprises businesses in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia that serve more than 800 customers, would boost its capabilities in the areas of contact centers, collaboration and mobility solutions and add about 250 staff to its headcount.
Swiss optical and wireless components vendor Huber+Suhner Inc. , which sells its products to companies in the communications, transportation and industrial sectors, has reported a 2.9% dip in first half revenues to 356.1 million Swiss francs ($379 million) and a 31.3% decline in EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) to CHF23.3 million ($24.8 million), though its reported numbers were hit hard by the strong appreciation of the Swiss franc against other currencies. The vendor noted growth in the communications market, driven by mobile network infrastructure rollouts and says it has gained a foothold in the 4G network construction market in India. For more details, see this press release. (See Airtel, RJio Add Impetus to India's 4G Market.)
As a result of the impact of the strong Swiss franc, the company recently announced some cost-cutting measures that will result in the relocation of some functions to Poland and a number of job losses in Switzerland.
African operators MTN Group Ltd. and Liquid Telecom have announced a network-sharing partnership aimed at extending their respective footprints and offerings. Liquid Telecom said the agreement would allow it, in particular, to meet demand for broadband services in West Africa, where it has not yet rolled out fiber networks, while MTN reckons the partnership will enable it to serve enterprise customers across Africa and in other parts of the world. The move comes days after Liquid launched a new retail broadband offering under the brand name of Hai. (See Eurobites: GÉANT Builds SDN Testbed.)
Telefónica is upgrading its subsea links to the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa with help from Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, the cables subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent that is set to be spun off via an IPO or trade sale. The PENCAN-7 and PENCAN-8 undersea cable systems (each 1,400 km in length) that connect the Spanish mainland to the islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife are being upgraded to enable 100 Gbit/s links, a tenfold increase compared with current capabilities.
The big G.fast question is... The big G.fast question is... over the course of the trial and 2,000 connections, what will the average down and upstream speeds be and over what average copper line reach?
That won't be 330 Mbit/s obviously, but that's the stat that everyone will want to know...