jueves, 9 de marzo de 2017

Fast broadband for Scotland

Digitization and connectivity are improving following the Broadband Society axioms.The digital future of Scotland, analyzed in collaboration with Beattie Megan Merino, is being entirely reinvented at present with the introduction of a new program to make fast internet connection accessible in all parts of the country. 

Scotland, with its rural landscapes and scattered small towns, is one of the most challenging countries in Europe to install fast and effective broadband but the government have made it very clear that they highly prioritise the continuous advancement of technology and see it as an integral part of the countries’ evolution and economic growth. 
The UK Broadband Impact Study in 2013 estimated that an increase in broadband speed and availability will add 17 billion British pounds to the UK’s annual gross value by 2024, so it comes as no surprise that this exciting digital upgrade is being highly invested in and encouraged by not only Scotland, but the whole of the United Kingdom.
Scotland, throughout the years, has used coaxial cable and fibre optic cable, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and more recently, mobile broadband via mobile 4G networks, as means of keeping the country connected with broadband. According to British broadband comparison website, uSwitch, ADSL is the most commonly used method of providing internet as it functions through existing phone lines set up by British Telecommunications (BT), and is thus easily set up for the majority of Britain’s households. BT is the biggest telecommunications company in the UK not only for its role as an ADSL and fibre optic cable broadband provider but as a landline and mobile phone contract supplier as well an on demand television package provider. Other leading corporations include Virgin Media, TalkTalk, EE and Sky Broadband.
BT has been involved in many large scale projects in attempt to close the ‘digital gap’ we see among societies that puts certain communities, whether whole countries or rural areas, at both an economic and socio-cultural disadvantage.  In February 2016 BT announced their plans to connect over 500 Digital Kiosks around rural Colombia to allow people there to access of the internet and use of e-learning and e-training facilities. The President of BT Americas, Bas Burger, released a statement saying:
We share the same vision as the Colombian Government regarding the positive impact that information technology can make on the lives of individuals, local communities, and to society as a whole.”
Improvements can always be made closer to home as BT was also chosen to be the leading telecommunications company to undertake the plan to restructure Scotland’s internet sphere, through the replacement of copper cables and innovative technology to reach even the most unreachable areas of the Scottish countryside.The name of this project is The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme and its aim is to install fiber optic broadband to 95% of the countries’ homes and establishments by the Spring of 2018. The Scottish government hopes that the total 412-million-pound investment will “stimulate business innovation” in more rural areas of the country and in turn boost the countries’ international competitiveness and help achieve a world-class infrastructure.
According to audit Scotland’s progress report BT is replacing copper networks with more fiber as well as considering the possibility of using solar in more hard to reach areas in order to provide smaller communities with “basic broadband speeds”. In 2014 the company completed the Submarine Cable Project where over 200 meters of fiber optic cabling was laid out over 20 seabed crossings. This was said to be the most challenging task undertaken by the company in its history, with the director of BT, himself, saying “This underwater spider’s web of fiber optic cables is set to deliver a seismic shift in communications for Scotland’s island communities, bringing them in closer touch with the rest of the world than ever before.” This is just the first step of the 800km fiber infrastructure and 400km of which subsea cabling intended to replace the existing unreliable satellite broadband used in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
The Highlands and Islands are the most complex areas to install broadband due to the stubborn terrain and widely separated inhabitants. The project is split into two parts, with a special focus on the Highlands and Islands and the second on the rest of Scotland. A businessman living on the Argyll coast in the west of Scotland spoke to Computer Weekly about his reliance on satellite broadband through the inability to be connected via BT phone lines or any internet service provider due to not living within the UK National Grid.
“The biggest hassle is making sure the cows and horses do not knock the dish over - it has to be precisely positioned to aim for a gap in the trees to keep the connection… There's a delay… to the satellite, and so things like video conferencing would be difficult. There's not much demand for that at the moment, but I think there will be in rural areas in future.
The cost of the satellite dish itself was around 850 pounds and the monthly fee almost double that of an ADSL line, at 60 pounds a month. This in itself makes it extremely difficult for men and women living in rural areas to compete in any industry without having to move into a city. One can imagine that the contribution that these communities could potentially make within the economic sphere of the UK is considerable, and very much in line with the governments predictions.
The online platform for the project contains a lot of information about the plans, design, funding and the reasoning behind the digital upgrade. There is a specific How We Are Building the Network page that shows the various stages of the process and how long each of them takes to execute. They plan to use the ‘Openreach network’, a section of BT that looks after the local access network, and its records to plan and deliver the fiber optic cables to communities one at a time. From the project’s first signing in July 2013, The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme is hoping to make available to the public the option to upgrade their services and progressively turn Scotland into “a world class digital nation” by 2020.
We analyze international broadband evolution (here, the Scottish case) in this blog, in Research Group about Digital Journalism and Marketing and Broadband and in Research Group on Innovative Monetization Systems of Digital Journalism, Marketing and Tourism (SIMPED), from CECABLE,  Escola Universitària Mediterrani of UdGUPF and Blanquerna-URL, in Twitter (@CECABLEresearch), Google+, in the group of LinkedIn, in the page of LinkedIn, in the group of Facebook, in Instagram (CECABLE), in Pinterest and in this blog. We will go in deep in the XXII Cable and Broadband Catalonia Congress (4-5 April, 22@, UPF). 

21 comentarios:

  1. It is a good idea the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme. Improving broadband, improving competitivity!

  2. Certainly, more broadband, more competitivity! Thanks for your comment!

  3. It is clear the countries try to improve its broadband. Congrats for these articles!

  4. Muy interesantes los artículos sobre el entorno internacional. Os felicito.

  5. Podem observar que en l'entorn europeu la banda ampla és una prioritat. Interessants anàlisis!

  6. I think it's very nice that even rural areas get access to fast and efficient internet connection. They can stay more updated on what is happening in the outside world and indirectly, this is also an improvement for future education.

  7. For rural areas connectivity is a key factor. Thanks for your comment!

  8. I believe that United Kingdom has made a wise decisión in investing more money in technology since it is one of the most competitive markets nowadays and it is always a good idea to improve and stay connected at all times with the rest of the world.

  9. La banda ampla, certament, millora la qualitat de vida allà on arriba. Moltes gràcies pel comentari!

  10. La Banda Ancha se ha empezado a expandir a todos los núcleos urbanos de las grandes ciudades del mundo pero recientemente la empresa British Telecommunications (BT) se ha propuesto conectar más de 500 quioscos en Colombia para poder abastecer conexión a los habitantes con el fin de proporcionar e-learning y e-training.
    Además, la compañía ha empezado a sustituir los cables de cobre en Escocia por los de fibra, con el fin de que en 2018 se haya proporcionado fibra óptica en el 95% de los hogares y establecimientos. Para ello han tenido que establecer un cableado submarino de más de 200 metros para poder conectar todas las islas entre sí.
    Uno de los retos más importantes que ha llevado a cabo la compañía ha sido el de hacer llegar la fibra a las zonas rurales más altas del país, aunque en estas zonas la señal sea más pobre.
    Finalmente, cabe decir que uno de los inconvenientes de la fibra en Escocia sería el precio de la instalación de la antena (850 libras) y también el precio del ADSL al mes (60 libras).

  11. Es positivo que se mantenga la sensibilidad por las zonas rurales y por los países con un menor despliegue de infraestructura. ¡Muchas gracias por tu comentario!

  12. En Escocia, al ser una zona muy rural, es difícil poder instalar la banda ancha, por eso, estos último años, el gobierno inglés ha intentado invertir dinero para tener todo el país comunicado y que no exista este “agujero digital” entre unas zonas y otras del país. La banda ancha en zonas rurales como es Escocia, tendría un gran impacto positivo para el turismo, ya que, hoy en día la conexión a la red es un factor muy importante para los turistas de todo el mundo, el hecho de que la zona estuviese mejor comunicada en términos digitales, atraería a muchos más turistas y haría mucho más fácil y rápida la conexión entre el núcleo receptor y los turistas provenientes del núcleo emisor.

  13. Ciertamente la conexión entre centro emisor y receptor debe seguir unas pautas de equilibrio en caudal de banda ancha disponible. ¡Muchas gracias por tu comentario!