Category Archives: Mobile Communications Network

TfL to roll out high-speed mobile coverage across Tube network

Mayor fulfils commitment and confirms high-speed mobile coverage across Tube network

“I promised Londoners that if they re-elected me for a second term as Mayor I would deliver 4G throughout the Tube network. It’s already up and running on the eastern half of the Jubilee line and I’m delighted to announced today that I am fulfilling that commitment and full internet access will be available across the Tube, with key central London stations such as Oxford Circus and Euston set to benefit before the end of next year”
One of the platforms at Balham Underground Station on the Northern Line

 

Customers on London Underground will be able to access full mobile connectivity and internet access within every station and tunnel, the Mayor of London has today announced.

TfL has awarded a 20-year concession to BAI Communications (BAI) which will enable mobile coverage on the whole Tube network, helping to remove one of the most high-profile mobile ‘not-spots’ in the UK.

The concession will see a backbone of mobile and digital connectivity established across London.

Uninterrupted 4G mobile coverage has already been introduced on the eastern half of the Jubilee line and will be expanded in phases to ticket halls, platforms and tunnels on the Tube network over the next three years, with all stations and tunnels due to have mobile coverage by the end of 2024.

This will allow customers to check the latest travel information, keep on top of their emails and the latest news, catch up on social media, watch videos or make calls throughout their journeys.

London’s Tube tunnels will also be used to provide full fibre connectivity across the city, which can then be connected to buildings and street assets like street lighting and bus stops.

This will help to further increase mobile coverage through small mobile transmitters, as well as leveraging the power of 5G to deliver city-wide improvements and future growth.

The new high-capacity fibre network will bring fibre directly into London’s neighbourhoods, creating new opportunities to serve homes and businesses with gigabit-capable speeds and supporting digital inclusion.

BAI, who was awarded the concession after a competitive tender process, is a leading global provider of 4G and 5G connected infrastructure.

The agreement will build on BAI’s significant experience of deploying communications networks in highly dense urban environments across the world, including New York, Toronto and Hong Kong.

The neutral host network being delivered as part of this concession will be the most advanced network of its kind in the world and available for use by all mobile operators. The infrastructure will also be 5G ready, allowing for a seamless upgrade for mobile operators in the future.

Five million passengers a day

The London Underground network is one of the world’s largest underground networks and prior to the pandemic was used by more than five million passengers a day.

Once fully delivered, more than 2,000 kilometres of cabling are expected to be installed within tunnels and stations, all of which will be fitted outside of operational hours.

In addition to benefiting customers, providing 4G on the network will generate additional revenue for TfL across the 20-year length of the concession, as well as helping operational teams by providing better connectivity while underground.

To help reduce future disruption, TfL has already begun installing the necessary cabling within a number of stations and tunnels to help reduce the need for additional closures and ensure mobile connectivity can be introduced more easily.

This includes cabling already installed on the Jubilee and Victoria lines, as well as within the Northern Line Extension.

Work will now begin to prepare some of London’s busiest stations for mobile connectivity, including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston and Camden Town, ahead of them being some of the first to be connected by the end of 2022.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: ‘I promised Londoners that if they re-elected me for a second term as Mayor I would deliver 4G throughout the Tube network.

‘It’s already up and running on the eastern half of the Jubilee line and I’m delighted to announced today that I am fulfilling that commitment and full internet access will be available across the Tube, with key central London stations such as Oxford Circus and Euston set to benefit before the end of next year.’

‘Protecting jobs and stimulating our city’s economy is a top priority for me as London rebuilds after this pandemic, and investing in London’s connectivity and digital infrastructure is central to this.’

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL, said: ‘London Underground was born in the 19th century, and this concession to deliver mobile coverage to the whole Tube network ensures it continues to adapt for customers in the 21st century.

‘Providing mobile connectivity to customers within the tunnels and on platforms across London will help them stay connected more easily, and will both provide a long-term revenue stream for TfL and support economic growth across the city.’

Boost London’s economy

Billy D’Arcy, CEO of BAI Communications UK, said: ‘Our long-term partnership with TfL will completely transform the passenger experience, as well as helping to boost London’s economy and providing social benefits for years to come.

‘By building the most advanced network of its kind in the world here, we are helping London leapfrog other major cities in terms of connectivity and ensure that the capital remains the most attractive place for investment.

‘Across the length of this concession, we fully anticipate investing in excess of £1 billion across the Connected London programme.

‘We will also establish a new city-wide high-capacity fibre network throughout London and leverage the power of 5G and the Internet of Things to unlock new opportunities for technological innovation.

‘Our extensive credentials delivering large-scale connected infrastructure and networking solutions position us perfectly to capitalise on the fast-growing commercial appeal of 5G enterprise solutions and smart city applications.’

London First CEO John Dickie said: ‘This decision is great news for London and comes at just the right moment to give the city’s recovery a boost. The increase in connectivity and productivity this investment will bring is welcome news for businesses and passengers alike.

‘The new fibre backbone’s effects will go beyond transport, helping the whole of London to get high speed connectivity and supporting the capital in the race to harness smart city technology to improve urban life.’

Since March 2020, TfL has been running a pilot of mobile connectivity on the eastern half of the Jubilee line covering station platforms and tunnels between Westminster and Canning Town.

The pilot section will now be adopted by BAI, which will work to upgrade any assets to its proposed network-wide design.

The network will also help to create a smarter, safer London. It will host the Home Office’s new Emergency Services Network, which will replace the existing Airwave system currently used by the Police, Fire Services and emergency response teams across Great Britain.

TfL has ensured that the latest requirements for the Emergency Services Network are fully incorporated and addressed within the network design.

For more information about TfL’s telecommunications programme – please visit https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/business-and-commercial/creating-a-connected-london

Source: TfL

  • Company to provide standards-based push-to-talk broadband solution for ESN
  • Airwave public safety network to be extended through 2022

Motorola Solutions  and the UK Home Office have reached an agreement on terms for the new direction of the UK Emergency Services Network (ESN) as well as an agreement on terms to extend the Airwave nationwide digital radio network.

The ESN agreement supports the phased deployment of the ESN program, ensuring that public safety organizations will benefit from the new network’s capabilities as soon as possible. Public safety organizations across the United Kingdom will be able to roll out the capabilities of ESN at their desired pace while maintaining the Airwave network service to ensure uninterrupted service.

As part of its delivery of ESN User Services, Motorola Solutions will implement a 3GPP standards-based push-to-talk (PTT) software solution. This global platform uses technology from Kodiak Networks, which was acquired by Motorola Solutions in 2017. To allow for the new phased deployment strategy, the Motorola Solutions ESN agreement will be extended by 30 months through the end of 2024.

The Airwave agreement, which is expected to be completed later in the year, will extend the network on substantially similar terms for three additional years to Dec. 31, 2022, with the option to be further extended. The company will also upgrade this critical public safety network to ensure the requirements of public safety users continue to be met.

“We are proud to support the Home Office on its new delivery approach for ESN while at the same time ensuring public safety users have the Airwave communications network they need,” said Kelly Mark, executive vice president, services and software at Motorola Solutions. “We have been working closely with the Home Office to ensure that our services are aligned with this new phased deployment and timeline for ESN.”

Source: Motorola

Telefónica and Project Loon collaborate to provide emergency mobile connectivity to flooded areas of Peru

Within 72 hours, mobile internet connectivity was deployed to thousands of people in the most affected areas of the country.

loon

  • Telefonica and Project Loon have been in technical trials in Latin America since 2014 to bring internet to remote areas.

Lima, May 17th, 2017. Through a joint collaboration agreement, Telefónica Peru and Project Loon join forces to provide mobile internet connectivity emergency relief during the catastrophic floods in Peru.

During March and April of this year, a series of floods and rainfall known as “Coastal El Niño” caused serious damage to public infrastructure, including telecommunication networks. The events affected hundreds of thousands of people in a widespread area. In situations like these, connectivity services are particularly crucial and Telefónica Peru immediately focused on re-establishing communications services.

As part of this effort, Telefónica Peru and Project Loon agreed to expand the scope of our ongoing technical trials in the country to provide temporary relief to the affected populations.

In less than 72 hours, Project Loon’s balloons, which fly at 20 Km up in the stratosphere, started to provide mobile internet connectivity to tens of thousands of people in the most affected areas in the center and northwest of the country, the highlands of Lima, Chimbote and Piura.

This is the first time that balloon powered internet has connected tens of thousands of people. The joint trials in previous months had focused on integrating Project Loon’s technology into Telefónica’s network to connect people to the internet in remote areas but this was the first wide and successful scale trial directly to people’s phones.

This effort was an exceptional demonstration of the ability to collaborate between both companies during this crisis.

Telefónica and Project Loon provided basic Internet connectivity to more than 40,000 Km2 of the country, providing over 160 GB worth of data –enough to send and receive roughly 30 million WhatsApp messages, or 2 million emails.

This action was part of diverse initiatives that Telefónica executed to keep operating services and collaborate with authorities to alleviate the situation. Among these, the company gave free calls via public telephony and unlimited text messaging, and led the “TeleFon”, an initiative to provide aid to survivors with the participation of more than 110,000 Peruvian clients of the mobile industry.

Dennis Fernández, Vice-president of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs of Telefónica Perú, said: “The company focused on bringing the best connectivity support in these emergency situations, especially in the most affected areas. It was a complex logistical challenge to attend all the needs in those extreme circumstances”.

In addition to Peru, Telefónica and Project Loon have been in other technical trials in Latin America since 2014 to bring internet to remote areas.

Source: Telefonica

 

 

 

 

​3G in the jungle: The cheap femtocells at work in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon

amazon-rainforest

For sparse, isolated communities in the Amazon rainforest, the idea of getting 3G seems unlikely, but researchers have just proved it is possible, with low-cost tech.

Communication really matters to people, whether they live in a megalopolis or the world’s most isolated rural areas.

Yet in the past 15 years the huge increase in access to mobile telephony in developed countries generally hasn’t extended to remote areas inhabited by low-income populations.

These communities have mostly been ignored in terms of technological growth because conventional access and backhaul technologies can’t give operators a good return on their investment.

But now the European TUCAN3G project, led by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) is aiming to prove that situation can be reversed.

The project is using new wireless technologies for access networks based on 3G femtocell deployments, with the possibility of even moving to 4G, as well as WiLD (wi-fi for long distance), WiMAX, and VSAT satellite comms.

Femtocells are small, low-power cellular base stations, which resemble wireless routers and act as repeaters to boost signals.

“The great advantage of these small cells is that they work with solar energy. They’re easy to install, and their maintenance is quite simple because they can be remotely configured,” Josep Vidal, UPC researcher and director of the project, tells ZDNet.

“Moreover, they’re much cheaper. A classical station might cost up to €40,000 [$45,000] while a small cell is priced at €500.”

Vidal says this cost factor has been key in the economic viability of the project, funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union with €1.68m ($1.88m) and developed with the participation of 11 partners, including the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC), the Universidad Católica del Peru, the Peruvian Telecommunications Investment Fund (FITEL) for the provision of universal access, and Telefónica.

“Economic viability is crucial. It should be noted that in a rural area the return on investment is 1,000 times lower than in a city,” Vidal says.

Despite that financial disadvantage, he is convinced the project has met the expectations of operators and consumers.

“We’re satisfied with the results of the project as the demonstration platform was in a very remote area of the Amazon rainforest, with a sparse population,” he says.

“Yet, we solved three main difficulties: the backhaul capacity, the cost of base stations, and a business model adapted to the population. People now can get voice over IP for a $7 to $10 flat rate and pay for downloaded kB.”

Over the past three years, instead of a single platform to connect four existing populations in an area of 400 square kilometers, as initially planned, the project has managed to install two platforms supplying 3G telephony to six villages on the banks of Napo river and Balsapuerto area in north-eastern Peruvian Amazonia.

In each settlement, a couple of small 3G cells enable users to communicate with their relatives, coordinate health services or, for example, negotiate the price for their crops.

The femtocells link to a long-range 802.11n wi-fi network based on the one already used by the Hispano-American Health Link Foundation, with its 19m-high towers spaced 30km and 70km apart. Those signals travel to the operator’s backbone network.

Beyond this technological achievement, Vidal also believes that a crucial point is that they have been able to convince the local government to encourage the development of small mobile rural operators connected to the Telefónica backbone to ensure future connectivity in the region.

Things are moving forward, and now the project has entered its next phase, with which the UPC is no longer linked. The Corporación Andina de Fomento, a development bank with headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, is investing $800,000 in replicating the experience in another 15 villages of Loreto, Peru’s northernmost region.

According to Vidal, this new deployment will be crucial in fostering development and growth in the communities.

He says finding innovative solutions to connect these regions is an utmost necessity. In Peru, there are still 5,000 local populations without mobile telephony access.

TUCAN3G seems to prove that the development of sustainable and long-term self-sufficient solutions for communities with less than 250 inhabitants is economically viable. Since this system has been in place, users have been making 40 calls per day on average. The experience, Vidal says, is exportable to other rural and isolated areas, including those found in developed countries.

In Spain, there are already some initiatives, such as the Guifi.net telecoms network, that aim to provide quality access at a fair price where operators have failed to do so. It uses the best available technologies and offers internet connection up to 10Gbps.

Yet, according to Benjamí Villoslada, general director of technological development in the Balearic government, in five to10 years, we won’t hold data or process information at home and instead will use the cloud, so we’ll need the low latency provided by fiber and 5G.

In fact, wi-fi will not survive if it doesn’t evolve, he says. Still, for the moment in the Peruvian jungle, 3G networks are playing a vital role in expanding public access to essential communication.

tucan3g1.jpg
This graphic shows the various technologies used to send a 3G signal from Libertad to Lima.Image: TUCAN3G

 

Source: ZD Net. Anna Solana.IT Iberia