- Laurence Russell
XtndNet launches UK network to connect forgotten broadband customers
The UK has been the bottom in rural broadband league tables for years, and the government estimates that more than 500,000 properties cannot currently reach the Universal Service Obligation standard of 10 Mb download. Recently, Openreach, a division of BT responsible for providing infrastructure to the majority of the broadband customers in the UK, has suspended community-based infrastructure improvements until an unspecified future date. More than half a million customers who have poor, unreliable broadband have no real solution to improve their connectivity.
Arabsat, Developing Infrastructure, and Forsway are pleased to announce the formation of XtndNet, a radically new broadband ISP targeting under-connected customers. XtndNet offers a hybrid service, combining ADSL, mobile Internet, and satellite connection -- the XtndNet 12 Gigabit Space Superhighway -- to deliver an affordable, fast, and reliable broadband connection. The service is available now in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and will expand to Germany, Scandinavia, the Baltics, and Africa in the next few months.
Powered by Arabsat's BADR-7 High Throughput Satellite, based on Forsway's Xtend platform, and designed and headed by speciality consultants from Developing Infrastructure, XtndNet will offer users typical speeds of 25 Mb download -- which may not sound like much, but many of these users are stuck less than 3 Mb, and have no other options available today.
Travis Mooney-Evans, Principal Consultant for Developing Infrastructure, designed the project and will serve as XtndNet's CEO.
"The key the XtndNet project was finding a satellite operator who could see the opportunity," said Mr. Mooney-Evans. "Most satellite operators are happy to do the same thing everyone else does, and it takes a visionary operator to take a risk on something different -- and Arabsat is that visionary operator."
Coverage is assured by Ka and Ku beams on Arabsat BADR-7, with both European and African footprints.
"We looked for a way to differentiate our satellite capacity, and the XtndNet project was innovative," said Dr. Badr Alsuwaidan, Acting President, and CEO of Arabsat. "Developing Infrastructure and Forsway brought something new, and we are proud to be the satellite operator to power the solution."
The XtndNet network offers several technical benefits, starting with an up to 20x improvement in download speeds, lower latency than traditional satellite broadband, greater resilience due to use of multiple network paths, and a simple installation -- not more complicated than installing satellite TV.
"There's a lot of talk about satellite's integration into 5G, which is great if you have deep pockets and want ubiquitous coverage," said Tobias Forsell, CEO of Forsway. "But for regular people who struggle with any sort of connectivity, that's a pipe dream. The XtndNet service provides something that makes their life better today, enabling the services that people depend on day-to-day."