2016 should be interesting! A&A have a lot going on.
I personally have a lot going on - I won't bore you with details (that is what Facebook is for), but I am pleased to see my daughter planning to get married.
We have the new terabyte services launching - and whilst these are initially very specific services, FTTC, 80/20 capped, with the phone line part (no calls) as a new 12 month service (see here), we really hope that over the coming months some of the restrictions will go away, and more services can start to be measured in terabytes of usage and not gigabytes. I remember ISDN dialup and the dream of megabytes, let alone gigabytes or terabytes. I am actually really pleased we can start to measure usage in such terms, even if only on these specific new services. DON'T HASSLE THE SALES TEAM (they told me to make this big and bold) as we won't have a proper ordering system for about 2 weeks at the soonest. If you want this soon - best to get on the irc channel as we'll be asking for guinea pigs next month.
Our data SIMs are expected to allow 4G real soon. I have seen this working, but there is a lot going on at our suppliers with this and a lot of testing and tweaking, but we know it can work and expect it any day. The only down side is no improvement on pricing - so 4G lets you spend a lot very quickly. However, there are plenty of good business uses of proper fixed IPv4 with 1500 byte MTU and no filters on a mobile device. And for occasional use, like my iPad, it works out really quite sensibly priced! We'd love to do the same on voice SIMs, but that will take some more work.
2015 was actually quite good for finally sorting SIM card printing - it is silly, I know, but getting printers that work properly was not easy. We print cards with artwork of your choice and our logo, and so on. It should be irrelevant as you throw that away but it makes all the difference in the presentation, and we can do proper corporate branding on SIMs now, either as a mobile telephony service provider or as a corporate network. We even do an ID card printing service now which is starting to take off with schools and even ISPs using them for staff ID cards.
We had been making progress on SMS and other related stuff, but that is stalled slightly. We are trying to kick start that and have some improvements to services and prices for SMS soon. It is odd, we sort of expected SMS to go the way of fax machines, and the dodo, but the universal nature of mobile SMS and the closed nature of things like iMessage mean it is still a "thing"!
We have some massive work on the core network, and scarily some 40Gb/s optics involved in a fibre ring. This is happening real soon (January I expect), and we have extra transit and peering and links to carriers going in. This is kind of important to handle expansion of our network, especially with terabyte services. We have a new member of the ops team with a lot of experience, and things are plowing ahead on this. As ever there will also be a load of work on our systems, and we recently launched https://control.aa.net.uk/ as a new https link for our control pages (clueless) which meets some of the latest standards for https properly. Much more to do. We also want to improve the way we handle signed and encrypted email with customers this year. Privacy is important and we should be on the ball on this.
We even have new hardware this coming year, with the next generation of FireBrick expected this year with a true fibre interface and faster throughput and IPSec. We are working on the next generation of the larger scale kit as well, obviously.
Of course, fighting the IP Bill is important. I have done a lot in 2015, including talking to the home office, actually talking to the Joint Committee in parliament, talking to a peer in the Lords, and next month talking again in parliament on the matter. I have been on TV a couple of times on this too. I have a petition at over 10,000 signatures on encryption. It is hard to get over the importance of this, and there is a campaign that ORG are running to try and counter the government spin/PR campaign on this - do consider contributing (here) - we have!
Even little things, like the way we post out routers, are changing. We now have the new Royal Mail Shipping API and so should be able to get their tracked services so we can send a router that does not have to be signed for, and can even have a pre-arranged "safe place" to leave it, but is tracked to confirm delivery. We'll know more on that next week.
We are set to grow and improve in every area of our services for a very exciting 2016 ahead.
There are also moves afoot to improve the A&A web site - we'll see how that goes.
Happy New Year to all of our customers from myself and all of the staff. We may be a small family business, but we really appreciate your continued support.
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