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UPDATE Marketing Fail – 6G Broadband Network Goes Live in Blackburn UK

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 (1:51 pm) - Score 15,979
6g_air_fibre

Sometimes marketing can be misleading (e.g. calling FTTC or cable lines “fibre optic”) and the same could perhaps be said of 6G Internet, which has just launched a new wireless broadband network in Blackburn (Lancashire, England) and for added confusion fun they’re calling the technology “Air Fibre” (they’re not the first to use that).

ISPreview.co.uk have been aware of ‘6G‘ for a little while but we’ve avoided reporting on them due to a lack of information about the technology, coverage and prices. Not to mention the decision to name the service 6G, which will no doubt cause some confusion with the naming conventions for Mobile Broadband technology (i.e. the 5G standard has yet to even be defined).

Similarly their website is full of general information but it’s quite vague and merely suggests that the apparently “pioneering a new communications technology” is unique because the wireless connectivity happens to be fed by a fibre optic cable, which is actually fairly normal for a lot of Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) providers. Otherwise it’s unclear which technologies and spectrum bands have actually been employed.

The website also makes some bold claims, such as by suggesting that customers should be able to get top speeds of 300 Megabits per second and that’s apparently regardless of how far they might reside from their existing local telephone exchange.

6G Air Fibre – Explanation

6G Internet is pioneering a new communications technology: Air Fibre is a signal delivered through the air allowing you to receive your broadband connection using radio-style technologies rather than typical old underground wiring. The result is faster, more secure and direct.

A 6G transceiver installed on the rooftop of your house sends your request to connect to the internet through the air to your local transmitter, which could be on a nearby lamp post or tall building, therefore not relying on underground cables or a protracted journey over wires, to a congested local exchange.

The local transmitter then communicates with the 6G Central Hub, 15 of which are located across the UK, which sends your request to our National Fibre Network.

According to the local rag (Burnley Citizen), 6G has just opened a new store at The Mall in Blackburn and apparently the technology, which is said to have allegedly cost millions to develop, could soon be rolled out across the rest of the United Kingdom over the next 12 months. Now that’s quite a statement and one that should perhaps be taken with a cup full of salt (we’re not quite so trusting as the newspaper clearly is).

The broadly unknown company, which claims to have offices in Hong Kong and Dubai, expects to complete its deployment in Blackburn over the next 8-10 weeks and at that rate it will take a lot longer than 12 months to cover the United Kingdom (math.. we can do it). We suppose it’s possible that 6G could come out of nowhere to solve the UK’s broadband woes but for now sceptical cat is still sceptical.

Funnily enough, and somewhat despite the bold headline speed claims of 300Mbps, the actual packages on offer are rather less impressive (note: these are for now only shown on their blog page). The most expensive Option 2 package offers 20Mbps broadband speeds for £43.48 per month with free evening/weekend calls on a 24 month contract (plus £49 installation). It’s also suggested that the price could rise after the first 18-24 months when various line rental and calling discounts come to an end. Yes, line rental, on a wireless link.

Suffice to say that 6G has a lot to prove and for now we’ve been left with considerably more questions than answers.

UPDATE 9th December 2013

It’s been noted by several of our readers that 6G Internet appears to share the same address as Time Computers (Time Group UK and Time Group AE) and now Supanet, which is an ISP that we no longer list due to a history of questionable business practices / service quality and the fact that they don’t meet our basic listing criteria.

As well as coming under the same group the FWA system being used appears to make use of Ubiquiti Networks point-to-point and point-to-multi-point gear on 2.4GHz and 5GHz, which is a similar setup to Metronet UK’s hybrid fibre optic and wireless broadband network.

Caution is advisable.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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