We are delighted to welcome 14 new Members of UKWISPA over the past 3-months. These include both WISPs and technology partners.
New Member List:
• Inifi Ltd
• Highland wireless
• Unify Wireless
• Cloudnet IT Solutions
• Husky Networks
• Broadway Partners
• Net1 (NI) Limited
• DiViNetworks Ltd
• Fibercast Ltd
• Ubiquiti Networks
• Rapid Wireless (awaiting payment)
• Emapsite.com Limited (awaiting payment)
• Back of Beyond Broadband (awaiting payment)
We will send more information introducing our new members shortly.
September Members Meeting
Our September 2017 meeting was our biggest yet, with nearly 60 attendees. We were very pleased to see Ofcom, DCMS and the CLA join us for this meeting too.
Highlights from the meeting: –
Our panel of Wireless Industry Intellectuals included Eamonn Cooney from Ceragon, Andrew McKeever, new member from Net1 in Ireland, Darren Kilburn from DCMS, Ian Bushrod from MS Dist and Andrew Gale from ASG Group. Several topics were covered including some interesting ideas about differentiation for WISPs who may be interested in offering more comprehensive indoor WiFi coverage services. The possibility of a UKWISPA mobile App was discussed that may help operators to survey and manage expectations of end users better.
Launch of UKWISPA’s new ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Scheme.
It is a regulatory requirement for WISPs to give its customers access to an Ofcom-approved ADR Scheme. We are delighted to announce that UKWISPA is launching our ADR scheme in conjunction with the Ombudsman Service from October 2017. More details will be posted directly and on our Members Area of the website, but we can confirm that access to the scheme is free of charge to WISP Members.
John Deering from RADWIN shared an incredible case study of the deployment of their JET product family with targeted beamforming in an extraordinarily high noise location. This allowed the WISP to dramatically improve the speeds and service levels available to its customers. A new engineer setup app was also launched, simplifying and accelerating CLE setup times.
Mike Ord from Skylinks, who are a new member and distributor for Ceragon gave us an update on the IP20 range of point to point radios. These include the same consistent operating platform from 5GHz through to E-band 80GHz, making engineer training simpler and less expensive than a mixed environment. IP20 is performance license and hardware upgradeable carrier-class across the range and is available from stock in the UK.
DCMS Voucher Scheme Update
Darren Kilburn is the Commercial Lead at DCMS for the new Government-backed Gigabit Connection Voucher Scheme that is about to launch. Wave 1 will cover selected parts of the UK and will be used as a proving and test exercise for the Scheme. Headlines are that UK SME’s can claim a voucher for up to £3,000 to install gigabit-capable broadband connections. A £500 voucher is also being tried in the Bristol area for residential customers. UKWISPA is seeking to improve the Scheme further as we actively participate in the Steering Group and will be updating Members in due course. A copy of Darren’s presentation will be made available once signed off.
We were once again pleased to see Richard Moore from Ofcom’s Spectrum team at our Members Meeting. Richard covered two areas, including access to Spectrum and inclusion in the Connected Nations Report. Richard updated Members on the 3.8-4.2Ghz band, which does have some users including 28 Satellite earth stations and 65 fixed links which are largely in London or the extremities of the British Isles. Whilst Members cannot use this spectrum for commercial use at this time, Ofcom is keen to consider further proposals in this space. Richard provided the following extract and links:
“Given the type and location of use in the 3.8GHz to 4.2GHz band, we think this band has potential for shared access between existing and future users based on geographically defined authorisations and are minded to develop proposals to facilitate this, including further consideration of database solutions for dynamic spectrum access.”
3.8 GHz to 4.2 GHz band: Opportunities for Innovation
Applying for Non-Operational Licences
e-mail us at: 3.8-4.2GHz.Sharing@ofcom.org.uk
Richard is also working on how WISPs can be represented properly in the annual Ofcom Connected Nations Report. This document is extremely well read by the media and politicians and UKWISPA is delighted to assist in information gathering. Ideally, a fully qualified Coverage Map for Fixed Wireless Access would be included, but this will no doubt take time to get right and resource effectively. First steps are in hand now to include information from selected WISPs in the December 2017 report and Ofcom will be writing to operators for information requests. Next steps are: –
• Issue draft information requests for comment covering both coverage and take-up
• Final information requests later in October
• Data collection early November
UKWISPA Regulatory Matters
Nigel King, who is the CTO for Cambium Networks and represents UKWISPA gave an update on current lobbying activities. In summary, these are: –
1. RTTT Spectrum obstruction in 5.8GHz band
• Progress is being made and we are expecting a relaxation of the rules in early 2018. This will significantly improve the efficiency of access to Band-C, as it removed an irritating 20MHz notch in this important frequency for WISPs.
2. National Auction of 3.4-3.6GHz in 2017
• The Auction is currently on hold due to legal disputes between Ofcom and a Mobile operator. UKWISPA is also unhappy about the approach to the auction and Ofcom’s approach and we intend to continue to press Ofcom hard about their statutory obligations to allow better access to this band.
3. National Auction of 3.6-3.8GHz in 2019
• This is planned for auction in 2019 and UKWISPA will press hard for this to be fair and compliant with Ofcom’s duties in respect of spectrum efficiency, access by all consumers and EU directive to include Fixed access in its use.
4. A first consultation into 26GHz for 5G the pioneer band
• We have submitted a response to the consultation, requesting that an area of this spectrum, which is over 3GHz, to be made available to WISPs on a light licensed basis. We have set out a case for urban PtPMP and rural PtP for backhaul.
5. USO Consultation October
• No plan to respond at this time, but open to input from Members.
6. Code Powers Planning Rights
• Currently, there is an extension to Code Operator Powers that allows telegraph poles and cabinets to be installed in the UK without the need for Prior Notice. This has been in place since 2012 and was set up for the benefit of BT. There is no mention of antennas in the legislation and the provision is set to expire in Spring 2018. UKWISPA will lobby for these powers to be extended if possible.
Member Presentation – Remote Site Power
Dudley Rees is one of the founders of Gigabeam, who are a relatively new WISP and have been learning to deal with the challenges of building and growing a successful WISP with excellent customer service. Dudley shared a presentation of the challenges and solutions they experienced in relation to remote mains power. Gigabeam have built their own UPS, which significantly outlasts and out-performs commercially available units that are designed for office use. Members shared their own suggestions for further refinement, including positive experience with the DC version of the Netonix WISPswitch. David Burns also showed Members a Methanol Fuel Cell that has been in use at Boundless Networks for around a year, which provides long term supplementary power to off-grid sites.
Member Presentation – Unequal Load Balancing across Wireless Networks
Hal Ponton from Buzcom showed how to use multiple disparate backhaul links to a site such that both connections can be fully utilised as well as providing resilience where the backhauls are of different speeds. Hal recently proved this using a mixture of multiple layer 2 connections split across connections, with routing protocols such as iBGP where ISIS is not available, as well as OSPF. This method is substantially more efficient than having spare redundant capacity running to a site.
CLA and UKWISPA Working Together
Libby Bateman joined us from the Country Land and Business Owners Association (CLA), which represents owners and managers of around half of the land mass in the UK. Libby set out the case for UKWISPA and the CLA to work together to build a voluntary code of conduct or Memorandum of Understanding that makes working together easier, less costly, faster and safer. We will be working with Libby to compose an initial draft of this in the coming weeks and we are hopeful that an announcement will be made by early 2018.
Dates for 2018 Members Meetings: –
18.01.2018 – London
22.03.2018 – Edinburgh
14.06.2018 – Southampton
20.09.2018 – York
We would like to prepare some standardised training for all WISP Members in the coming months. The purpose of the training will be to help UKWISPA Members get the best out of their membership, but moreover, to become good neighbours and to be aware of key rules and regulations to help you to operate lawfully. We will send further information on how you can access this training in due course.
We are also interested to hear your views on what other training would be interesting to you so that we can either develop our own courses (funds permitting), or work with professional training providers such as LinITX or MS Dist to prepare courses for you. We will send a formal survey about this in October, but if you would like to make any suggestions in the meantime, please email Dilya.
As ever, we welcome all feedback and suggestions on how we can improve UKWISPA for its Members. Please contact Dilya or David with any suggestions and ideas that will be of benefit to you and other Members.