What’s up with… AWS, Plume, Italian broadband

  • AWS attracts more residents
  • Plume hots smart home milestone
  • Italian operators tackle broadband not-spots

The growing influence of AWS on telecoms and other data-heavy sectors, how Plume is smokin’ and the ongoing effort to take broadband to the most remote areas of Italy by whatever means possible are the news queue-jumpers today.

UK MVNO giffgaff is migrating its entire IT stack and application development work from its in-house servers to Amazon Web Services (AWS), with the migration set to be completed by the end of this year. It will use more than 60 of AWS’s 175+ services to fulfil its needs. The move will make the MVNO, which is owned by O2 UK and (naturally) uses its network to provide mobile services, more efficient and speed up development times, according to the company’s chief operating and technical officer Steve MacDonald.

AWS is hoisting all of the IT infrastructure of the Star Alliance (the world’s largest airline partnership) onto its cloud for all the usual reasons – agility, lower cost of ownership, analytics and so on. This is a worthy networking ‘moment’ because airlines have traditionally been a lead sector when it comes to global, online, real-time, nonstop computing. These are all the technical network and IT capabilities they pioneered to support their global networks and the rapid 3 to 4 decades’ growth of the global airline industry. Now those capabilities have been blended into ‘the cloud’, hence the complete migration (Star Alliance is already an Amazon customer). Star Alliance is working with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to migrate all of its 26 members’ data, platforms, and business-critical applications to AWS and close its data centres. It estimates its infrastructure total cost of ownership will reduce by 25%.  Read more about it here.

Plume, which provides cloud-based smart home management capabilities to CSPs, has hit the milestone of having 20 million active households using its technology and 150 CSP partners. Plume claims it is now seeing more than 1 million new activations each month. For further details and a host of CSP partner endorsements, see this press release.   

TIM (Telecom Italia) says it rolled out its fibre access network to a further 263 municipalities, many in rural or sparsely populated areas. It says that takes the total number of municipalities reached by its fibre in just nine months has hit 3,250. See this press release for further details.

Meanwhile… Fastweb and Linkem are battling to connect the same kind of customers, though with a different technology. As part of their ongoing partnership to deliver broadband connectivity to less well connected areas, Linkem has launched 5G-enabled fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband services in three towns in southern Italy, reports MondoMobileWeb.

And still in Italy… Telecompaper reports that Italy’s ‘Wi-Fi Italia' project, which aims to provide Wi-Fi to Italy’s piazzas (squares), especially those acting as the social hub in small towns of just 1000 or so inhabitants, has now covered more than 3,200 localities. The rollout is managed by state-owned infrastructure agency Infratel and everyone (locals, out of towners and even tourists) can use the Wi-Fi for free, no snags... well almost. It appears that you must have a smartphone and an active cellular account, because the service relies on a download app to log a user in, but once in, the phone can attach automatically to the national service forever, as long as it is close enough to a hotspot. The project was launched in July 2019 and so far has 98,776 users of the app and 5,824 active hotspots, which is OK, but Italy has a population of 60 million… Perhaps the Italian social habit of congregating in the town square of an evening and chatting is so alive and well that hunching over a smartphone to message someone distant instead of engaging with someone beside you is frowned upon.

Orange and TF1 have struck two new agreements that will see Orange TV bring segmented advertising to TF1 group channels from January 2021 and also renew the distribution of TF1’s audiovisual services on Orange TV from September 2021, “enriched by an all-new premium catch-up service with no ad breaks during programmes.” See this press release for more details.

Vodafone has been showing off the capabilities of 5G by reuniting two “British Winter Olympic legends” – Robin Dixon, 85, and Tony Nash, 84 – in a “360 degree live-streamed, virtual winter sledging experience.” See this press release to find out more.

Open source initiative ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform) has reached its seventh release, dubbed Guilin after the Chinese city of the same name, with the demands of 5G and Open RAN architectures having driven the development of additional functionality for this new release. “The new functionality in this release was prioritized based on a set of requirements driven by Communication Service Providers (CSPs),” noted Samsung’s Ranny Haiby in an official blog published by LF Networking, which hosts the ONAP community. Haiby, who is an ONAP Technical Steering Committee member, notes in the blog that the Guilin release is “ready to tackle many real-life use cases” including 5G network slicing, Open RAN integration and cloud native network functions. “During the Guilin release we aligned the ONAP interfaces to be compatible with O-RAN Alliance specifications and the O-RAN Software Community modules,” Haiby adds. None of this will come as a major surprise, as the ONAP team announced the efforts related to 5G and Open RAN when it unveiled Frankfurt, the sixth release, in June this year. What’s key here, though, is that ONAP is being adopted by a large number of major players, a number of which are identified in this article, and many of the same operators are the ones looking to introduce Open RAN-ready technology into their networks during the next few years and will need a management and automation platform that can help make the integration and operations processes as easy as possible. For more details on Guilin, see Haiby’s blog

The Broadband Forum has a new leadership team after CEO Robin Mersh, who has held senior posts at the Forum for 14 years, stepped down to “pursue a new challenge outside of the industry.” Previous board member Ken Ko, who was a long-time Senior Staff Scientist at broadband technology vendor ADTRAN, has rejoined the Forum as Managing Director, while Craig Thomas has moved up to the new post of VP of Strategic Marketing and Business Development. The Forum announced the management team change in an announcement that highlighted the Forum’s achievements this year, and noted in a further press release that Mike Talbert from Verizon and Weiqiang Cheng from China Mobile have been appointed as vice chairs to the Forum’s Service Provider Action Council (SPAC) to “help the group continue to provide critical direction on standards development and operator engagement.” Read more.

Casa Systems is joining the Telecom Infra Project (TIP)’s Open and Disaggregated Broadband Network Gateway (OpenBNG) initiative, which is the “result of collaboration between Telefónica, Deutsche Telecom, BT and Vodafone, and sets important standards for equipment that operators deploy in current and future networks to deliver fixed broadband services.” Casa has been developing a virtual BNG for some time and has been witnessing increasing interest in such systems from operators around the world, the company’s CEO told TelecomTV recently.  For more on the decision to join the TIP initiative, see this announcement

In an effort to provide greater assurance to SD-WAN users, Versa Networks has integrated its Secure SD-WAN with AWS Transit Gateway Connect to enable AWS customers to connect third-party SD-WAN hubs and network virtual appliances with AWS Transit Gateway. “As a result, businesses can now benefit from AWS Transit Gateway peering connections for up to 5 Gbps of bandwidth per GRE tunnel, while continuing to leverage the high-performance, application and SLA-aware network via the Versa Traffic Engineered Protocol,” noted Versa Networks in this press release

- The staff, TelecomTV

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