Wireless providers ‘set to use Facebook tech’ to offer 10Gbp

Wireless providers ‘set to use Facebook tech’ to offer 10Gbps in UK

11 August 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Wireless internet providers in the UK are giving strong hints that they are considering offering 10Gbps services using Facebook’s Terragraph technology.

Members of their trade association, the UK Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (UKWISPA), have met Facebook executives plus people from equipment makers Siklu, Radwin and Cambium to discuss service launches.

They want to use this for licence-exempt fixed wireless access (FWA) in the UK from later this year, said the association. Radwin, Cambium and Siklu – all UKWISPA members – are all set to ship products this year, the association added. Terragraph operates at around 1Gbps but has the potential for 10 times that speed, said the association.

David Burns, chairman of UKWISPA, said: “At less than £200 per premises passed and under £900 per premises connected, with no disruptive duct digging, Terragraph equipment can bring multi-gigabit connections to the masses – quickly.”

He said: “Terragraph is set to revolutionise the cost and speed of roll-out for gigabit-plus broadband here in the UK.”

The project is part of Facebook Connectivity, a division of the social media corporation that is responsible for network investments, high-altitude platforms, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and other initiatives.

“Facebook recognised that new applications require high speed connectivity and, with data consumption growing at an ever-increasing rate, the demand for broadband cannot be matched by the current ability to build new high-speed networks,” said Neeraj Bhatia, product manager from Facebook Connectivity.

“With Terragraph, Facebook is creating an ecosystem to address this gap and serve under-connected communities. We helped assemble a technology stack with a range of partners, assisted with spectrum advocacy and the specification of 802.11AY standards, and built an industry ecosystem to realise the potential for this technology.”

Burns said “Terragraph networks are built on very high-speed resilient mesh equipment, where a small low power device is mounted on a building or street furniture and communicates with up to 16 other units on other buildings to form a mesh.”

He added: “This method perfectly complements fibre build out, where the Terragraph mesh fills gaps that would be expensive to install otherwise. As a mesh, data can pass in all directions at full speed, meaning upload and download speeds are symmetric and the mesh can tolerate breaks without stopping.”