What’s up with… Oracle & Dish, TIM, BT

  • Oracle lands key 5G core role at DISH
  • TIM signs green power deal
  • BT starts ripping out Huawei gear

A prime 5G core role for Oracle at Dish Network and a landmark green power deal for TIM top today’s news charts. 

Oracle has landed something of a plum 5G core functions deal at Dish Network, which is building an Open RAN-based 5G network in the US. Oracle is supplying a number of key elements for Service Based Architecture (SBA) in the 5G core, namely its containerized Policy Control Function (PCF), Network Repository Function (NRF) and Network Exposure Function (NEF) elements, plus its 5G Service Communications Proxy (SCP), Network Slice Selection Function (NSSF), Security Edge Protection Proxy (SEPP) and Binding Selection Function (BSF). You can find out more about these functions in this Ebook. “Oracle’s capabilities will essentially serve as the control tower of our network core, enabling our customers to consume software on demand and facilitating the advanced core functions required to power a truly automated network,” said Marc Rouanne, chief network officer at Dish Wireless. “While many carriers may claim to have 5G, there are certain attributes only possible with a cloud-based standalone network, and our working with Oracle will yield results that will unleash the power of true, fully-optimized 5G.” Dish recently announced that it will run its radio access network, 5G core and OSS/BSS functions on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure. For more on Oracle’s deal with Dish, see this press release

Italy’s national operator TIM (Telecom Italia) has struck a 10-year PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) for the supply of 3.4 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of green energy for the period 2022-2031. The deal covers the supply to TIM of 100% ‘green’ energy from ERG’s wind farms. Telcos are increasingly sourcing their power from environmentally-friendly sources as they seek to meet carbon footprint goals as part of their sustainability strategies. Read more.

BT has started the £500 million process of ripping out Huawei radio access network gear and replacing it with Nokia technology in the city of Hull, reports Bloomberg.

Transatlantic subsea network operator Aqua Comms and wholesale carrier Telia Carrier have successfully completed a trial with Ciena to offer 400GbE commercial services between New York and Frankfurt. Read more.

More evidence today, as if any more were needed, that Brits living in rural parts of the UK pay a lot more than their urban-dwelling cousins do for broadband and get a slower and less reliable service to boot (or not to boot, as is often the case). Broadband Savvy, a comparison website and analyst of the British broadband sector, has published results of a new survey on the cost and performance of broadband access in different parts of the country. The results, although in line with what might be expected given the dismally slow and long-drawn-out deployment of rural Internet connectivity, are nonetheless shocking, with rural households paying a whopping 76 per cent more than do city subscribers. What's more, those living in small towns and the outer edges of cities pay 22 per cent more than do the "metropolitan elite". Access speeds for rural customers are 28 per cent lower than inner city subscribers, while suburban neighbourhoods suffer a 19 per cent speed penalty. Where domestic connectivity is concerned and across all UK areas, those on 4G got speeds 61 per cent faster on average than those on fixed lines. However, 4G the proliferation of Emmental cheese-like "not spots" continue to make rural coverage a losing lottery. Taken region by region, the North-East, Northern Ireland, and Scotland have the UK’s most expensive broadband, paying £0.58, £0.51, and £0.46 respectively per megabit of download speed received. By contrast, London, Wales, and the South-East have the cheapest broadband, at £0.23, £0.28, and £0.35 respectively. Plus ça changeplus c'est la même chose, as they’d say across the water…

Elsewhere in what currently constitutes the United Kingdom, the Digital Connectivity department of the Scottish Government is using the latest cloud-based Geographic Information System (GIS), developed and hosted by thinkWhere, to help ensure 100 per cent superfast broadband is made available across the entirety of Caledonia. Using the portal, CSPs can identify properties that are not connected to superfast broadband and thus eligible for vouchers to contribute to the capital cost of connection on behalf of community groups or individual premises. Given Scotland's beautiful but undeniably challenging geography, the deployment of fast broadband is one of the most ambitious infrastructure exercises in Europe. It is hoped the interactive portal will encourage small broadband providers to identify eligible addresses in their local areas. Users can either view the premises on a map and select those in a given area of interest, or they can query the dataset by postcode or local authority area. For the selected premises, users can then export details including full address, geographical co-ordinates and other information.  

The digital haves and have-nots and the associated cost of services, of course, are not confined to Blighty… In the US, the end of the pandemic may be in sight now, but the broadband digital divide issues highlighted by the lockdown show no sign of going away. Industry groups and politicians are still arguing over fundamentals, such as how many households can’t get access to affordable or adequate broadband: And, if they can, does it meet the distance learning needs for children being schooled from home? According to public advocacy group, Free Press, it should be clear the main reason for the digital divide is simply that broadband costs too much. It reports that the ‘broadband costs too much’ theory, as espoused by President Joe Biden, prompted furious denials by the telecom lobby, sensing the danger of price regulation, and pushback from Biden’s political rivals, some of whom would rather the public believe that many people just “don’t want” broadband. Free Press explains why many ‘don’t want’: It shows that broadband costs are not only high, but the monthly broadband bill increased by an average of 19% in the first three years of the Trump presidency, more than four times the rate of inflation.

Meanwhile, back in TelecomTV's Graphene Groove, we bring you news that an Australian company has designed a new graphene aluminium-ion battery that charges 60 times faster than lithium-ion batteries and holds three times the charge of ordinary aluminium-based battery cells. It is also safer, because there is no upper ampere limit to cause sudden, spontaneous overheating. And it is very, very fast - able to recharge a top-of-the-range 5G smartphone in under 10 seconds! The Brisbane-headquartered Graphene Manufacturing Group (GMG) says the battery will go on sale by the end of this year or by the beginning of 2022. Although the new technology will have hundreds, if not thousands, of applications in devices and systems, it's greatest potential is expected to be realised in the field of electric vehicles. If the new batteries work as they should, all the current consumer concerns about the journey mileage that can be managed on a charge, and the length of time a re-charge takes, may quickly become a thing of the past. GMG says its automotive batteries will be available in early 2024. The batteries are based on breakthrough technology from the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology:  GMG's battery cells use nanotechnology to insert aluminium atoms through minute perforations in a graphene structure. The holes enable aluminium atoms to be stored closer together and the graphene becomes denser as a result. Australia has huge reserves of bauxite, from which aluminium is extracted, and the new batteries consist mainly of recyclable aluminium foil, recyclable aluminium chloride (which is a precursor of aluminium in the manufacturing process) and urea (with is widely used in fertilizer and animal feedstuffs and is quickly, easily and naturally broken down.) And that's it! Rare earths and exotic materials hardly figure. Then there's cost equation. The price of lithium currently stands at US$13,000 a tonne: Aluminium costs $2,078 per tonne. Furthermore the new GMG batteries use no copper, and copper costs £$8,470 a tonne. And last, but by no means least, are the geopolitical considerations attendant on an expansive and increasingly assertive China. More than 90 per cent of the world's lithium production is in the People's Republic and, were the authorities there to withhold supplies from the west, major economic problems would soon ensue, and reactions escalate. That's why the US is in process of rapidly increasing lithium mining and production: It is also spending big bucks on graphene R&D. For more on the potential of graphene, see By 2030 graphene will be as disruptive as silicon chips were back in the early 1960s and From copper wire to graphene: tomorrow's networks are several steps closer.

In 1980, a new physical messaging technology was introduced. Whilst it has since been superseded many times over by different electronic systems, it remains both popular and ubiquitous in enterprises and households the world over. It's the Post-it Note. It's inventor, Spencer Silver, has died in the US at the age of 80. At the 3M Corporation, while working on glues strong enough to stick aircraft parts together, he discovered that an adhesive called acrylate co-polymer microspheres, when applied to paper, allowed it to be stuck onto more or less any surface and then peeled off without leaving marks or a sticky residue. What's more, it was reusable. The rest is history. Mr. Silver patented the "repositionable pressure-sensitive adhesive sheet material" technology in 1972 and there are now billions of Post-it Notes in daily use around the world. Indeed, there are more than 3,000 variants of the Post-it brand on the market, and they continue to sell in untold numbers. Eat your heart out, instant messaging!!

The global public cloud services market was worth $312 billion in 2020, according to research firm IDC. Read more.

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