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UPDATE Slough Could Get “Virtual Fibre To The Home Gigabit Wireless” Network

Friday, July 8th, 2016 (2:25 pm) - Score 1,829

Apparently businesses and residents in the large town of Slough (Berkshire, England) may soon be able to benefit from the roll-out of a new “Virtual Fibre To The Home Gigabit Wireless” broadband network, although it won’t come cheap and faces competition from local fixed line ISPs.

The town of Slough is perhaps an odd choice for such a network considering that BT’s FTTC/P platform can already deliver better than superfast broadband (30Mbps+) speeds to the vast majority of local premises and Virgin Media’s ultrafast (up to 300Mbps) cable network also has significant coverage in the area. When combined, the two can deliver close to universal coverage.

On top of that the new network is being built by Neal Lachman’s (Group CEO) still relatively unknown Angie Communications, which has a history of attempting to attract investment by setting ‘interesting’ and sometimes questionable aspirations for future projects (here, here and here).

Under the plan local homes will pay just £30 per month for a “wireless Gigabit” connection (allegedly this can deliver a “guaranteed” symmetric 1 Gigabit per second) that they “can use all across Slough,” which will be “unlimited and unrestricted” and available via Angie’s new Wireless Extreme brand. However this is a “pre sale” offer and after at least 12 months (depending upon your contract choice) the price will shoot to £75 per month.

Sadly there’s very little information on included hardware, but apparently the network will use “the most recent 802.11ac technologies at the Access Level.” According to the video below, customers will also benefit from “guaranteed” Net Neutrality. Make of that what you will.

The press release states that an agreement has already been signed with Slough Borough Council’s CEO, Ruth Bagley, although oddly she hasn’t provided a supporting comment. Naturally we have asked the local authority to give a comment and are awaiting their reply.

Bob Snowden, Angie’s UK CEO, said:

“Angie is working closely with Slough to bring cutting edge technology to Slough and its surrounding area. Slough is strategically placed as a leading business hub here in the UK. We are working with Slough and partners to bring the latest smart city technology to the area. Angie will finance the entire project, ensuring that Slough will have all the benefits and none of the financial or operational risks. Slough got the best deal possible for its residents and businesses.”

Angie Networks also claims to be “in talks with several city councils in the UK” and to have already signed up Colt and Zayo to build fibre optic infrastructure “deeper into all Slough neighbourhoods off their existing infrastructure,” while “The last hundred feet and into homes and business will be done through wireless technology“.

Angie’s 4 Phase Roll-Out Plan for Extreme Wireless

1. By year-end 2016, Slough (targeted for end of October) and many parts of Greater London will be ready for Angie’s Wireless Extreme Gigabit service. Londoners can now already sign up, risk-free.

2. Several surrounding large cities following next.

3. Over the course of 2017, we will roll out in the rest of the UK.

4. By year end 2018, almost the entire UK will be “Extreme”.

As usual we recommend taking all of this with a BIG pinch of salt until the service goes live and we can see how those 1Gbps speed claims hold up when placed under real-world strains over a wireless network. Not to mention the pressure on uptake that will stem from deploying into such a competitive market. Angie still has a lot left to prove.

UPDATE 2:44pm

The council has responded to confirm that they are “speaking” with Angie and support what they’re trying to do, although they “can’t independently validate” what the company has said in its press release.

Apparently a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) does exist between the two parties, although the council says that there is “no formal ‘deal’ or contract” and they will not be investing any money into the project.

UPDATE 23rd Feb 2017

The CEO of Angie appears to have posted a somewhat bizzare rant on Linkedin in November 2016, which among other things seems to confirm that the above project will not go ahead. Oddly Neal Lachman places most of the blame for this on Ofcom’s delayed 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz auction, which Angie claims to have bet heavily on proceeding.

Betting your future on an Ofcom auction that starts on-time is perhaps one step away from crazy town in this market, where such things are frequently delayed as operators inevitably squabble over issues of spectrum ownership and competition. Delays are thus to be expected and should always be factored into any sensible business plan.

Otherwise here’s an extract from the update, but it’s worth reading the full piece for maximum puzzlement.

Neal Lachman said:

“Last year, December 3, 2015, Ofcom decided to postpone the auction they are now relaunching. This was a huge setback for Angie, because we had truly everything riding on us acquiring spectrum in the auction and to become a new player in the UK mobile industry. Until that day we had been riding high waves for the past 6 months.

* A third party expert valuation firm (Value Drivers) estimated our UK firm/project at a current value of €3 billion (yes, with a b for billion). This was not just a simple discounted cash flow calculation. No, this was the result of more than three months of vetting, scrutinizing and analysis. We had to show business plans, 5-20 year financial forecasts, contracts, proofs of partnership, financing, strategic rationale, marketing plan, retail plan, really everything you can think of. We wouldn’t have expected anything less, otherwise every guy and his uncle could get sky-high valuations.

* We had a preliminary US$2 billion financing agreement from one of the largest telecom firms in the world.

* We had multiple global strategic partnerships either tied up or under way.

However, that all came crashing down when Ofcom canceled its auction. We had worked two years almost day in, day out, to get to a satisfactory point, and then something like that happened. You should have seen my sad face that day! 🙁

I thought Ofcom would decide to delay the auction for years, which is why we canceled our plans for mobile in the UK and went the MVNO route, the same we’re setting up for the USA, the Netherlands and for some other markets.

There are some people/critics, who clearly state that I am full of hot air (or sh*t). I can’t blame people for not understanding our strategy, our work in the background, or appreciating Angie’s achievements. They don’t need to understand it, and we don’t seek their endorsement. What bothers me sometimes (not often, because I usually don’t care a f**k), is that some “critics” claim to be experts and then try to derail Angie’s projects.

I have studied psychology (wrote tens of articles on the psychology of hatred etc.), and it would be easy to write them off as envious haters/bastards. But there is something systematic about their approach. To be fair, I know I deserve some of the s**tstorms they blow my way, because I have been no kind person to claimers of grand things either.

I have had lawsuit threats from technology firms “for the loss of investment” due to one of my analyses. I had an “expert” ridiculing me in public (twitter) because they didn’t believe what I claimed was possible, only to completely ignore my challenge to write a rebuttal of my claims so that I could defend my position in a reply. And there are people calling me a fraud. I know of at least one blogger who is calling my business partners, feeding them gossip, and I know of one sour ex-contractor.”

Leave a Comment
13 Responses
  1. Dear Mark,

    Our Group CEO, at Angie Communications is pleased to answer any questions you may have by email, regarding our business and projects in light of the recent announcements. Furthermore, if you provide some time slots and a contact number, he could also call you and answer your questions over the phone.

    Kind regards,

    Kailesh Mistry
    Chief External Communications & Identity
    Angie Communications International

  2. Avatar FibreFred says:

     “Virtual Fibre To The Home Gigabit Wireless”

    What? 🙂

  3. Avatar TheFacts says:

    Angie Networks Ltd – 3 Directors, all appointed 12 Feb 2016, all Occupation – Entrepreneur.

    Contact address appears to be accountants. Holiday: July 5 – August 15

  4. Avatar Steve Jones says:

    The last 100 feet by wireless? That’s an awful lot of nodes. It’s also the potential for a lot of contention too. I’m not sure how this will fit with regulation of the 5Ghz channels.

    1. Avatar wireless pacman says:

      Might be that they are intending to use 60GHz kit.

    2. Avatar wireless pacman says:

      Though having just had a quick read through their website, I think I will disagree with my last comment. To be honest it sounds like little more than hype. They imply that your existing wifi enabled devices 《inside》your home will be able to get Gbps speeds from them as soon as their ssid appears in the list of available networks.

      Brown smelly stuff springs to mind 🙂

  5. Avatar Bob says:

    5GHz isn’t up to this quite yet. Any ISP trying to provide a high capacity and reliable service needs their own frequency!

    To provide 1 Gbit to a customer the AP/mast needs to supply a total of more than 1 Gbit… 2Gbit minimum per sector so a mast with full 360 coverage could/would need to provide a total of 6~8Gbits. So that is going to need a nice 10Gbit EAD leased line to supply that capacity, coz a 1Gbit EAD won’t.

    If we’re talking true Line-of-Sight then this could be possible but there is only one company I know of with something that is close to this, Bluwan. Problem is their CPE’s only deliver 125Mbps per customer CPE, but up-to 2.5Gbit per sector.

  6. Avatar TheManStan says:

    This the same company that promised a 10G network available to 3M properties and make 4.5G and 5G networks available to practically all the country last year?

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Yep, as linked in the article.

    2. Avatar GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: Just a quick reminder that your beloved BT doesn’t deliver either:

      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2013/04/bt-abandons-native-uk-fttp-broadband-rollout-for-fttpod-and-fttc.html

      It is quite rare in the UK for any telecom to deliver fibre broadband, or ultrafast broadband, except maybe for Virgin.

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Lol arr yes I thought this sounded familiar.

  7. Dear Mark,

    We have still had no response from you/ISP Review regarding our invitation for you to discuss our company and projects with our Group CEO, and help us answer any questions you (and your readers) may have – either by email or telephone. Furthermore, if conducted by telephone, we are happy to record the conversation and post it online for you and your audiences and commentators to listen to first hand.

    Regarding our announcement last year about 3M FTTP and 4.5G Mobile connections, we are waiting for OFCOM spectrum to be announced, and in the meantime will push on with our 1Gbps Wireless Service – which will go beyond 3 million connections.

    We have a team of 30+ highly experienced international telecoms experts – including team members who have worked for Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, Bell Labs, Colt, Ericsson, Orange, Zayo, and Vodafone, among others. Angie Communications International is a transparent company from all perspectives and trying to deliver mutual benefit to our partners and customers.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards,

    Kailesh Mistry
    Chief External Communications & Identity
    Angie Communications International

    km@ang.ie

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