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ANALYSIS & OPINION: FTTH IN EUROPE


FACING THE FIBRE FACTS


The UK needs to face some harsh realities in order to support full-fibre rollout


JAMES WARNER


IT MIGHT BE EASY FOR ISPs TO CALL ON MORE POLITICAL SUPPORT, BUT THERE ARE STILL SOME HOME TRUTHS PROVIDERS NEED TO FACE


I


t’s no secret that the UK is late to the table when it comes to full-fibre rollout. Government statistics suggest that, although deployment is improving, only


four per cent of premises have a full-fibre link, compared to 79 per cent in Spain and 95 per cent in Portugal. And just last month, the UK slipped even further down the global broadband speed league table, lagging behind 25 other European countries. To steer us out of the digital slow lane, the


government has pledged nationwide full fibre by 2033, and has hinted that a date be set for the ‘copper switch-off’, to enforce quicker deployment. With pressure being put on providers and regulators to make this a reality, this throws up some important questions about how full-fibre provision should be managed, to ensure not only that targets remain realistic, but that no one is leſt behind. To make full fibre a reality for all, we need


investment and cooperation between the government and industry. Tere are some harsh realities the industry needs to face in order to support businesses on the road to becoming a full-fibre nation.


14 FiBRE SYSTEMS n Issue 23 n Spring 2019


Why full fibre? Te majority of the UK currently runs on fibre- to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections, which use fibre optic broadband up to local street cabinets, and the remaining connection runs over copper wire. FTTC is oſten a reliable solution which can provide businesses with the superfast speeds they need for the day-to-day, but the capacity to support growing business needs in the future is not always guaranteed. Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), on the other hand, utilises fibre optic cables for the entire connection, and can offer speeds of 1Gb/s – far beyond what FTTC could hope to realise. Having a gigabit-capable connection


allows businesses to truly future-proof their organisations, and this is not just about performing the same old tasks quicker; ultrafast broadband can fundamentally change and improve the way they operate. For example, having the infrastructure to support a full transition to the cloud comes with a myriad of benefits, whether that be seamless co-operation with colleagues on the other side of world, the ability to virtualise servers, or painless remote working with the


www.fibre-systems.com @fibresystemsmag


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