Wire in the mud: Dutch rural users offered LTE boost for slow copper
- KPN extends its hybrid DSL/4G access service
- From now 440,000 household will qualify
- Has The Netherlands nearly solved its rural broadband problem?
KPN has been hatching a hybrid DSL/4G access service for a couple of years now, progressively making it available to more and more rural and ‘out-of-the-way’ customers as the technology and the way KPN has deployed it, has proved out its worth (without over-burdening the 4G network).
Tranches of trial customers for the 'Sneller Internet Buitengebied' (faster internet in rural areas) have been steadily and carefully added over the past two years and currently total around 30,000.
Now KPN says it’s going to pull out the stops and make the hybrid solution available to some 440,000 households who are unable to get at least 30 Mbit/s over KPN’s DSL technology - basically by being too far away from the exchange.
That hybrid solution and the service it enables is designed to mostly solve Holland’s rural broadband problem.
What rural broadband problem? I hear you cry. True, Holland is characterised by a relatively large population (17 million) squeezed into a relatively small geographical area, but these things are all relative. It may not be the Australian outback, but the economics of broadband deployment mean that its rural population is still difficult to rope in using the standard telecom technology set and, importantly, at the same price and conditions of service as enjoyed in the towns.
DSL is highly dependent for its speed on the length of the copper line from the exchange (or remote DSLAM) and the premises. The longer the run, the slower the speed. So the hybrid 'Sneller Internet Buitengebied' is to be made available to customers in rural areas where copper run lengths are limiting their download speeds to less than 30 Mbit/s.
In those circumstances an LTE connection comes in to ‘boost’ the user’s broadband speed by up to 30 Mbps. So a customer with an 8 Mbit/s DSL can expect to enjoy 38 Mbps once the LTE link kicks in, and those on 28 Mbit/s can get up to 58 Mbit/s.
A 4G modem is included in the home router to make the two access technologies work together and the good news for rural users making use of the augmented DSL service is that they will pay the same as the fortunates on shorter copper runs getting more than 30 Mbit/s through the wire.
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