This Week In Tech And Telco: Facebook Fiber To Rent

Good morning. Welcome back to Radial Path’s weekly tech and telco round-up. There’s a lot going on in fiber this week - from Facebook to copper closure to UK companies collaborating to encourage wider adoption.

But it wouldn’t be our tech and telco blog without mention of the infamous Huawei. Has the company emerged as the most controversial topic in tech right now? Perhaps. Read on for more.

Privacy-focused social is the future, says Zuck

Although this isn’t a telco-related story, it’s an important one.

In a 3,200-word essay on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg said the social network would shift towards "privacy-focused communications", claiming connections inside the “living room” would be more important than “the town square” – open social networks – in the future.

But the post was somewhat vague, lacking the substance of how, and if Facebook’s investors aren’t worried then we should take Zuck’s comment with a pinch of salt. Facebook already has all the data it needs, and will doubtlessly continue to do so.

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Facebook to dip its toes in wholesale network providing

...Here’s another dose of Facebook, one that you won’t hear in the mainstream press.

According to a blog post on Code.FB, the social network is building fiber connecting its sites in Ohio and North Carolina back to Ashburn, Virginia, which will be used by other telcos.

They plan to allow third parties, including local and regional providers, to buy capacity on those routes, which will pass through underserved regions.

There was also mention of a 200-mile route between Fort Worth and their New Mexico facility.

Unlike retail telecommunications providers, it will not be providing services directly to consumers but instead “support the operators that provide such services to consumers”.

The cable will be reserved for its own use, while making the excess available to others. A Facebook subsidiary, Middle Mile Infrastructure, will thus be operating as a wholesale provider.

Huawei fights back against US blackout with Texas lawsuit

Huawei has taken legal action against the US government. It has filed a complaint in a federal court in Texas challenging Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump in August, which bars federal agencies and their contractors from procuring its equipment and services.

At a press conference, Huawei chair Guo Ping said: “Huawei has not and never installed backdoors and we will never allow others to install backdoors in our equipment. The U.S. government branded our services a threat.

“The U.S. government has never provided any evidence supporting accusations that Huawei poses a serious security threat. The U.S. government is sparing no effort to smear the company. Even worse, it is trying to block us in other countries.”

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UK ISP Association Partners Openreach – Supports Full Fiber Ambition

The UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), which is a key voice for the UK internet industry and represents 200 members (broadband ISPs etc.), has announced an official partnership with Openreach (BT).

This will build on on their existing membership and reflect a shared “ambition to deliver full broadband coverage nationwide.“

Currently, ISPA’s members already “regularly collaborate with Openreach to promote competition, innovation, and self-regulation throughout the industry.”

But the new agreement, which will run until 31st December 2019, will also see Openreach supporting three major ISPA events throughout the year. For example, the ISPA Conference in May, the ISPA Awards in July and the Parliament and Internet Conference in November.

Telefonica closes copper exchanges in fiber push

Telefonica's domestic unit plans to close one copper network exchange per day over the next three years as part of its migration to fiber-based infrastructure.

The Spanish telco revealed that the scheme will see 253 exchanges this year shut down, followed by a further 200 per year in 2019 and 2020.

The project, named FARO, is designed to increase the migration of customers to fiber-based services and facilitate the closure of its old copper plants.

The move means energy savings and a smaller footprint: fiber access technology requires just 15% of the space taken up by copper, while energy savings can amount to as much as 60%, it claimed. It also noted that it aims to reuse and recycle elements of the legacy network.

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