March 2018 Members Meeting Review

Warm thanks to all those who attended Our first Members Meeting in Edinburgh

22nd March 2018 at Radisson Blu, Royal Mile Edinburgh

We had a fantastic turnout, with over 70 attendees. Special thanks to the Scottish Government who helped fund this meeting.

The agenda was:

08:30 Arrival and coffee
09:00 Introductions in Room and welcome to new members – David Burns, UKWISPA
09:30 Panel Discussion and Questions from the Floor – David Burns, UKWISPA
10:15 Geospatial Planning – John Powell, Emapsite
10:40 Coffee Break
11:00 Independent Coverage Mapping – Oliver Johnson, Point Topic
11:15 INCA and WISPA Collaboration Opportunities – Malcolm Corbett, INCA
11:30 Building a Future-proof Scalable Wireless Network – Yaron Ziv, Radwin
12:00 Migration to Horns 101 – Jakub Sivak, RF Elements
12:20 Buffet Lunch
13:30 Spectrum Updates – Nigel King/David Burns, UKWISPA
13:40 Ofcom’s work with Wireless ISPs – Huw Saunders, Ofcom
13:50 The Scottish Government R100 Programme – Clive Downing, Scottish Government
14:15 Antenna Myth busting – Jim Syme, Commscope
14:40 Ubiquiti Airmax AC Product Update – Dallin Kauffman, Ubiquiti Networks
15:10 Wholesale Opportunities for ISPs – Steve Jagger, Quickline
15:30 Summary, Actions and Next Meeting – David Burns, UKWISPA
16:00 Coffee and Meet the Sponsors/Member Networking
16:30 Departure

This meeting was helped by the direct support of the Scottish Government, as well as help from our Gold Technology members; Cambium Networks, RF Elements, MS Dist, Rapid Wireless, Mimosa, Ubiquiti, Skylinks and Purdicom.

Firstly, we would like to welcome new members to UKWISPA: –
– Orbital/Vfast, Kent
– Village Networks, Buckinghamshire
– Ultrafast Networks, Aberdeenshire and Glasgow
– Wifi Scotland, Rothes Valley
– Wildanet, Cornwall
– Cromarty Firth Wireless Broadband
– Cloudnet Solutions, Highlands and Islands
– Back of Beyond Broadband, Argyll
– Legend Wireless, Bradford
– Airefibre, South Wales
– Bliss Internet, Treeton
– Lochielnet, Fort William
– Two new individual members; Steve Karmeinski and Kevin Titmarsh

As usual, our Experts Panel, featuring Duncan Nisbet (Scottish Government), Shaffin Jaffer (Kencomp), Steve Jagger (Quickline) and Malcolm Corbett (INCA) was a lively and interesting opportunity for members to discuss and debate issues of the day. Topics covered included access to additional bands such as 3.6GHz, whether and how the Government and Ofcom are helping the industry and what are the minimum speeds and service levels that WISPs should offer to clients to maintain sustainable relevance. In particular, the most active areas of interest were how to manage overbuild protection, whether WISPs should offer indoor Wifi support, that we should coordinate our approach to requesting spectrum access – especially with MNOs and requests for up to date BDUK contacts. (these now added to the members area).

Emapsite entertained us with an overview of what can be achieved and visualised with geospatial planning. Their presentation is available HERE.

Oliver Johnson from Point Topic showed progress to date with their independent mapping and coverage work, where UKWISPA and INCA have cooperated in order to build a coverage map for Altnets. Of particular interest is the latest estimate that over 2 million premises are passed by UK Fixed Wireless operators. Members continued support to this initiative is urged and we look forward to seeing the forthcoming Point Topic report. Point Topic’s presentation is available HERE.

Malcolm Corbett, CEO of INCA covered several initiatives and opportunities for UKWISPA and INCA to work on together. These include the mapping work with Point Topic, joint activity regarding access to spectrum and a potential Rural Broadband Summit in November 2018. Malcolm introduced an initiative funded by UKWISPA and a number of technology vendors to invite Plum Consulting to produce a report into the benefits of shared spectrum access in the 3.6 to 3.8GHz band. We will provide further information about this important initiative presently. Malcolm’s presentation is available HERE.

Yaron Ziv from Radwin showed some extremely interesting new technology building on their existing beamforming ‘Jet’ platform. Key new features planned for release in the coming months include multi-band support (5 and 3.6GHz) in the same box, as well as 5 and 60GHz meshing technology. This would allow extremely high speed local networks that can provide both access and self-backhaul across business parks and urban areas. Please contact Radwin for further details.

Jakub Sivak from RF Elements presented a really helpful set of guidelines and planning considerations for getting the maximum benefit from deploying their symmetric horn technology. The specific characteristics of these antennas can dramatically improve performance in crowded or noisy environments if deployed thoughtfully. The RF Elements presentation is available HERE.

David Burns and Nigel King on behalf of UKWISPA discussed four current and recent activities that we have been working on.
1. Responding to the recent Ofcom consultation into the future of fixed wireless spectrum access.
2. Lobbying with Ofcom and Government influencers in relation to Ofcom’s planned spectrum auction in the 3.6-3.8GHz band. This is a potentially important band for WISPs, as it is very unlikely that MNOs would use this band outside of urban areas but the attenuation through foliage is upto 30dB better than 5.8GHz. This could make a huge difference to WISPs’ ability to deliver NGA broadband cost effectively to more subscribers, as low cost equipment is likely to become available in this band within the next 12-months or so.
3. UKWISPA, with support from INCA and key industry stakeholders have commissioned Plum Consulting to prepare a report into the value of our industry and the opportunities for us to deliver greater value to the UK economy with appropriate access to spectrum (in particular, but not limited to the 3.6GHz band).
4. Lobbying for policy change in relation to allocation of spectrum. It is our contention that spectrum policy is lagging behind the needs of the UK economy. Ofcom shows some willingness to adopt dynamic spectrum, or shared spectrum licensing, but the pace of change will be too late to service the needs of the UK. Other countries have already recognised that spectrum utilisation is very inefficient if granted on a national basis. This limits the number of wireless services that can be deployed as well as potential license revenue. We will continue to lobby and argue for urgent changes to spectrum policy to accommodate shared or dynamic management by default.

Huw Saunders from Ofcom covered the extremely important progress being made to include WISP coverage in the Ofcom Connected Nations Report. The goal for Ofcom is to have a truly comprehensive and concise picture of broadband access by property across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To this end, Ofcom is now beginning to formally engage with WISPs to request coverage information. Huw’s presentation is available HERE.

Duncan Nisbet from the Scottish Government presented the latest update on their £600M plans to provide NGA broadband coverage for 100% of Scottish homes and businesses. The presentation is available HERE.

Jim Syme, our guest presenter from Commscope gave an enlightening presentation into the merits and differences that come from high grade Class 3 and Class 4 antennas. Jim’s presentation is available HERE.

We were delighted to have Dallin Kauffman from Ubiquiti joined us for the first time. Ubiquiti is one of the most significant manufacturers in our sector and Dallin gave an overview of their latest product developments and management software. Dallin’s presentation is available HERE.

Steve Jagger from WISP Quickline Communications and their owners Satellite Solutions Worldwide, presented an interesting opportunity to partner with them where WISPs get sales leads but have no existing coverage. Their presentation is available HERE.