Emtelle helps Scotland's first 'Next Generation' community gain access to triple play services

Next-generation network increases social involvement

(PresseBox) ( Hawick, )
West Whitlawburn Housing Co-Operative (WWHC), based in Cambuslang, Scotland, is establishing the first true next-generation broadband network in Scotland. The high-speed fibre optic network will provide triple play service (TV, phone and Internet) to subscribers in the community. WWHC has chosen Emtelle to provide a range of products for this project, which will serve 100 new houses being built by WWHC.

Digital inclusion reduces social exclusion

In recognition of the importance it places on providing its community with high-quality, high-speed digital access, WWHC has worked with the community to develop Whitcomm Cooperative, a pioneering organisation owned and managed by people in the community. Whitcomm is committed to bridging the divide that separates those who have access to state-of-the-art digital technology and those who do not. Such access allows people to participate more fully in civic society and to take full advantage of the telecommunications revolution. Without such access, communities are at a disadvantage – a national problem that has compelled Whitcomm to come up with this forward-looking initiative.

Financial and social benefits

Whitcomm is committed to providing services at a reduced cost when compared with major providers. One of the ways in which it can do this is through its status as a not-for-profit organisation: any profits will be directed back into the community. Once the infrastructure is in place, Whitcomm intends to work with the community to train residents in the development of a portal that will provide a platform over which they can access voluntary and statutory services in their homes, as well as produce their own content.

Emtelle brings unique expertise and proven products

Having been involved in many similar ventures for communities throughout the world, Emtelle brings a wealth of experience to the Whitcomm project. The company will provide the ducting, access chambers, closures and fibre unit for the project. In addition, Emtelle worked with C-Plan in designing the network and provided training for the installers, Fibre Options. The Whitcomm project provides an example of Fibre-to-the-Home technology, where fibre is used to provide high-bandwidth connectivity that is both flexible and future-friendly: it can adapt both to structural demands (for example, adding new homes to the network) and technological advances (for example, new applications). In addition, the extraordinary capacity of fibre (up to 100 megabits per second) ensures consistent service, no matter how many users are online at any particular time.

Making local initiatives national trends

While as-yet uncommon in the UK, communities with next-generation, fibre-based capability are to be found throughout Europe. One example is Nuenen, the Netherlands, the first large-scale project of its kind and an inspiration for similar ventures. In Nuenen, 7,500 homes were provided with high-speed triple play service using Emtelle technology. The project was, and continues to be hugely successful, with 96% of Nuenen residents signing up for the ‘Ons Net’ (Our Net) broadband services.

Since the Nuenen project, Dutch broadband penetration has become among the highest in the world, thanks to government and municipal investment combined with a range of local initiatives. This year (2009), 200,000-250,000 homes will be connected with, in many cases, Emtelle supplying its end-to-end passive fibreflow solution, as well as training and certification. With its noteworthy, praiseworthy project, Whitcomm will hopefully inspire other communities in the country to connect their residents to the 21st century’s digital world, triggering the kind of fibre-based broadband boom seen in other countries.
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