An idea whose time has come, and not before time

Ofcom has subcontracted to the NICC network standards body the development of a wholesale broadband “API”, the Active Lines Access (ALA) standard.

The Institution of Engineering & Technology has a long item on ALA here. The idea is that a broadband network provider such as Openreach or Cable & Wireless will be able to provide an ALA -compliant interface that will allow smaller, possibly community-based network operators, to connect to the nation’s big pipes. This will help overcome the crucial problem of neglible access to backhaul that effectively cuts off community networks from the mainstream.

It should also theoretically allow community networks to shop around between different backhaul providers, and to swop between them if one proves unsatisfactory.

Aiming to capitalise on this the JON exchange, whick aims to provide a clearinghouse for broadband connections across Europe at the network level. Adrian Wooster, CTO of the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) will head the UK branch.

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It would be good to get some sense of exactly what JON might be able to offer in concrete terms. Perhaps CW could interview the JON folks and publish an informative article?