Researchers at MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics have tried to compare the estimated global data capacity of the four largest Low Earth Orbit (LEO) based ultrafast broadband satellite constellations – SpaceX (Starlink), Telesat, OneWeb, and Amazon (Kuiper). Interestingly, they end up closer than you might think.
We should point out that each network is at a different stage of development (e.g. Telesat and Amazon are still a fair way from commercial service) and the technologies they use, as well as the ground stations, are constantly evolving and expanding. As a result, the MIT study should be seen more as a ‘current’ estimate of each network’s expected throughput, or global data capacity, based on their technical specifications as reported to the FCC.
Likewise, the research doesn’t really consider the commercial model for each network, as well as how network throughput may vary between countries or how much network contention may be applied per user. As such, the report is only able to give a very general global overview of capacity, which is interesting if perhaps not as relevant for understanding future service impacts for consumers in specific countries.
Openreach has outlined plans to bring its full fibre broadband to 551 additional towns and cities. This covers 5 million homes and businesses and forms part of the company’s £15 billion programme to reach 25 million premises across the UK.
Planning work has already started, with further details and timescales to be published every quarter on the Openreach website as work progresses and detailed surveys are completed. The build will take place between now and December 2026, with work in these latest locations starting later this year. A full list of the new locations is available here.
Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach CEO, said, “Our engineers and build partners are working flat-out to deliver this life-changing technology to rural, urban and suburban communities all over the country and we’re delighted to be fleshing out our plans with more details about where and when we’ll be building.”
He explained that over one million customers are using the company’s FTTP solutions. He added, “It’s the next generation of internet that’s ready for anything. You can surf, shop, play, work and learn without skipping a beat.”
Following a competitive tender process, partners including Kier, MJ Quinn and Telent will work with Openreach to support the upgrades and will play a crucial role in building the new network.
The operator has switched on their standalone (SA) 5G network in London, Manchester, and Cardiff
Today, Vodafone has announced that it has launched the UK’s first commercial SA 5G pilots, setting the networks live in London, Manchester, and Cardiff.
As part of the deal, Ericsson will support Vodafone’s entire cloud-native 5G Core Standalone for packet core applications.
According to Vodafone, the pilots will focus on testing the various new technologies that SA 5G unlocks, such as network slicing, as well as allowing partners to trial various SA-enabled devices.
“Delivering 5G Standalone for the UK is an important step forward for our customers and our partners. The new features this delivers, such as new levels of reliability, latency and flexibility, are a gamechanger for customers and developers looking to create new applications,” said Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK.
In the press release, Dona also drew attention to Vodafone’s investments in Multi-access edge compute (MEC) capabilities, the Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile Private Networks (MPN) and OpenRAN, suggesting that all these network elements are complementary and will benefit from SA 5G.
“When we bring all these technologies together, we open up entirely new possibilities for customers, and move beyond being a core connectivity provider to being a true digital champion,” she said.
Vodafone UK first showcased SA 5G technology with a new network built for Coventry University last summer. Now, as part of this pilot launch, a dedicated network slice has been configured for use by Coventry University in delivering virtual reality distance learning.
Vodafone is also notably trialling a SA 5G core pre-commercial network in Spain, with the technology again provided by Ericsson
NHSX has unveiled new data strategy to provide patients with better access and greater control over their health and care data.
The draft strategy ‘Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data’ builds on the NHS’ work undertaken to provide treatments during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The improved access to data is expected to help people in managing appointments, refill medications and speak with required health and care staff.
Moreover, patients can safely access their test results, medication lists, procedures and care plans from across all parts of the health system. This can be done via patient apps, such as the NHS App.
UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “More effective use of data will deliver better patient focused care. It will free up staff time to focus on patients and allow clinicians to make better, more informed decisions on treatment and support.
“This strategy seeks to put people in control of their own data, while supporting the NHS in creating a modernised system fit for the 21st century which puts patients and staff in pole position.”
The draft strategy also proposes to provide easier access to the right information to health and care staff through shared records and simplified information governance.
The Covid-19 pandemic precipitated a huge change in working practices across the civil service, with nearly 90% of the 430,000 staff dispatched to their homes for months on end. At a recent webinar, experts from the Government Property Agency and Dell discussed what this mass remote working experiment might mean for the future of the civil service workplace
“In many ways, fixing the workplace and fixing the technology is easy. It costs money, but it’s relatively easy,” said Dominic Brankin, director of workplace services at the UK Cabinet Office’s Government Property Agency. “Supporting a change in behaviour and thinking and belief is much harder, and I think a longer road for us to travel.”
NATO Member states are concerned about Russia and China’s increasingly aggressive behaviour in cyber space
NATO has warned that the impact of significant cyber attacks against any member countries might be considered ‘as amounting to an armed attack’ in certain circumstances.
The group issued a joint communiqué at the conclusion of the NATO summit in Brussels on Monday. The note states that Article 5 of the organisation’s treaty can apply to cyber attacks. Article 5 states that an armed attack against any one of the 30 member states will be considered an attack against them all.
‘Reaffirming NATO’s defensive mandate, the Alliance is determined to employ the full range of capabilities at all times to actively deter, defend against, and counter the full spectrum of cyber threats, including those conducted as part of hybrid campaigns, in accordance with international law,’ the communiqué said.
The statement added that a cyber attack could lead to the invocation of Article 5. However, a decision as to when such attacks would warrant a response would be ‘taken by the North Atlantic Council on a case-by-case basis’.
‘If necessary, we will impose costs on those who harm us,’ the group warned.
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