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PPC blog

Superfast Cornwall and the benefits of broadband

Posted by Tom Carpenter

The deployment of high speed fibre broadband has the ability to regenerate whole regions, boosting business competitiveness and creating jobs. Essentially it removes any issues of distance, so companies in more remote areas can work closely with customers or partners around the world, and allows greater productivity through better communications. Rather than losing businesses and staff to other regions, areas actually attract new investment and skills, as people move to benefit from broadband and the opportunities it brings.

The current superfast fibre rollout in Cornwall is the perfect example of what can be achieved with broadband. Funded by the EU, BT and Cornwall Council, and managed by Cornwall Development Company, Superfast Cornwall is building a brand new fibre-based superfast broadband network across the county. This will use a mix of Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and other technologies, such as microwave, satellite and wireless to reach the 95% of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The target completion date is the end of 2014 and the network has already passed 206,000 houses and business (82% of the county). This makes it the best connected rural region in Europe, and one of the most well-connected areas in Britain, despite its remote location in the far south west of England.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Fiber to the home, Market trends

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Los Angeles and Fiber – bringing down deployment costs

Posted by Larry Malone


The news that Los Angeles is planning a gigabit fiber network to connect every business and home within the city limits is a further demonstration of the vital importance of high speed broadband in today’s society.

LA has announced that next month it will issue a request for proposals. The city is looking for a vendor to build the entire infrastructure themselves (without public subsidy), and then offer free internet access at between 2-5 Mbps to all, charging a fee for higher connection rates of up to 1 gigabit per second. The same fiber network would also power Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas. It would cover an area of nearly 500 square miles with 3.5 million residents.

Municipalities across the US are increasingly looking at rolling out fiber networks, as they realize the positive impact it has on the local economy, in attracting new citizens and businesses and in enabling the digital delivery of public services. As well as the success of Google Fiber’s deployments in Kansas City many urban areas have invested in either commissioning or building out their own networks. Some, like Santa Monica, have adopted a piecemeal approach, installing new fiber or conduit every time they dig up the streets, while others, such as Chattanooga in Tennessee have gone for a single, city-wide deployment. In the case of Chattanooga, EPB, the community owned electricity utility installed and runs the network, charging customers for broadband access and other services.

Topics: Market trends, Fiber innovations

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Focusing on the father of fibre optics

Posted by Dave Stockton

This week sees the 80th birthday of Sir Charles Kuen Kao, the pioneering electrical engineer who has been described as the Father of Fibre Optics and Godfather of Broadband. Joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009 for ‘groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication’, his work is seen as integral to the widespread use of fibre optics today.

Born in China, he moved to the then British territory of Hong Kong in 1948 and then came to the UK, where he carried out much of his research at Standard Telecommunication Laboratories (STL) in Essex.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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The state of broadband Britain – the global picture

Posted by Tom Carpenter

In a previous post we discussed the options consumers and businesses have when it comes to high speed broadband in the UK. In this follow on piece, we’ll take a look at the UK’s position compared to other countries around the world – and future plans in this area.

Countries around the world see the positive impact that high speed broadband can have on their economies – making companies more productive, enabling services such as telemedicine and e-learning and underpinning innovation. So there is a global drive to increase the rollout of high speed networks

Topics: Market trends, Fiber innovations

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Fiber goes into battle

Posted by Dave Stockton

Today’s military strength is built around having the best technology, rather than simply brute force. From aircraft, battlefield vehicles and naval vessels to the kit used by soldiers, advanced equipment is central to the modern armed services.

Sharing and delivering growing amounts of information is at the heart of these high tech machines. Evolving from simple radio communications, systems now have to collect data from sensors and cameras around the vehicle in real time, share it locally, send it back to base and allow remote operation in the case of drones. And all of this in inhospitable terrain, and potentially under enemy fire. Repairing equipment in the field often isn’t an option so it has to be rugged and reliable, and capable of lasting for long periods of service.

Topics: Design and Install

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PPC launches new Plenum PV range of pushable fiber products

Posted by Shaun Trezise

New York, 30 September 2013: PPC, the inventors and producers of the world-leading range of patented Miniflex™ fiber cables, today launched its new Plenum PV range of fiber cables and microducts. The innovative new Miniflex Plenum PV range enables the safe deployment of fiber optic cables within the airway/plenum spaces of buildings, providing a tough, lightweight, flexible and easy to install solution. This brings down the time and cost of fiber deployments by speeding up installations in buildings of all sizes,while meeting the strict safety criteria governing plenum deployments.

Engineered from toughened polymer to meet the tight specifications and exacting demands of the environment, the compact Plenum PV products all meet US National Electrical Code (NEC) specifications, and have received UL product certification after extensive testing on their low smoke and low fire hazard capabilities.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Mobile and Optical Fiber - the need to work together

Posted by Tom Carpenter

Over half of us now have a smartphone and we’re using mobile devices for more and more data intensive applications. It is predicted that by 2014, more people will access the web through mobile devices than PCs.

Little wonder that Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 78% between 2011 and 2016. That means they will generate over 10 exabytes of data every month. 4G technologies such as LTE and WiMAX will increase this even more – with sustained data rates of 100 Mbps (downlink) and 50 Mbps (uplink) already available on some handsets. Compare this to the 3G specification of 144 kbps in a moving vehicle, 384 kbps while walking and 2 Mbps inside and you get an idea of the scale of the approaching tsunami of data.

Coping with this information overload will be a challenge for existing mobile networks as they need to scale up their infrastructure. A 2G base station generates 1.3 Mbps of traffic, but an LTE version requires 80 Mbps capacity – 60 times more. Of course the vast majority of this traffic isn’t wireless at all – once it reaches the nearest cell it uses mobile backhaul, being transferred to fixed line networks to optimise performance and efficiency. This reduces the need to use expensive and scarce spectrum for anything but the smallest distances.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Broadband cabling – what are the options?

Posted by Guest Blogger

On the Making Light Work blog, we’ve talked a lot about the growth of high speed networking and the move to fibre networks around the world and in different industries. But what’s the situation in the UK and what are the choices? We’re going to cover this in a two part series, looking at the existing options and then comparing the UK against other countries around the world.

So, to begin, in this guest blog Matt Powell, editor for UK consumer comparison site BroadbandGenie.co.uk, explains what’s currently available for consumers.

If you were online during the early days of the world wide web your connection was probably provided by a sluggish dial-up modem with a per-minute charge that could quickly rack up a hefty telephone bill.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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The aggregation of marginal gains

Posted by Paul Ekpenyong

Given the overwhelming success of British Cycling, both at the Olympics and the Tour de France, businesses have naturally been looking at how such dominance is achieved. Much of the success comes down to the ‘aggregation of marginal gains’ philosophy that team principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, has instilled across both Team Sky and the Olympic programme.

Put simply, it means that rather than looking to gain one big advantage in a single area, the team looks at every process and procedure and how each one can be improved, even if by a small amount. And marginal gains stack up – in a sport like track cycling finding 5 seconds in a short race might be difficult. But finding a gain of half a second is much more likely – discover ten of these and you have your 5 seconds.

Topics: Market trends

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Withstanding the force of a baby elephant!

Posted by Dave Stockton

As part of our ongoing product development we’ve been conducting advanced crush resistance and impact force testing of our Miniflex protective technology. This has been replicated by independent labs who have verified our results and builds on our latest UL product certification for low smoke and low fire standards. We’ve found two vital advantages of Miniflex when it comes to protecting fibre cables.

Firstly, crush resistance. In combination our Miniflex cable and duct can withstand a force of 4000 Newtons over 100 mm without any damage to the fibre itself. Putting this in context that’s the equivalent of a baby elephant weighing 385kg (850 lb)standing on one foot on the Miniflex protective tube – and the fragile cable continuing to operate normally. In more everyday surroundings it shows that Miniflex can be stood on, hit with hammers during installation and survive being bumped by vacuum cleaners, ensuring reliability and guaranteeing a long and trouble free life

Topics: Fiber innovations

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