The UK Needs Fibre to the Home Right Now to Stay Competitive in the 21st Century, Says Broadband Genie
CAMBRIDGE, England, October 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
Britain risks being left far behind Europe and the rest of the world without immediate
major investment in next generation communications infrastructure, says broadband
comparison and review site BroadbandGenie.co.uk [http://www.BroadbandGenie.co.uk ].
While many other countries enjoy widespread access to both fibre optic fixed line
services and high-speed 4G mobile broadband, Britain is only just getting 4G in major
cities and many parts of the country still suffer disappointing ADSL links with speeds of
just a few megabits.
Ofcom data shows that while the average speed in an urban area is now 10.5Mb rural
locations get just 3.5Mb.
Even where fibre is available it is largely fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) which relies
on outdated copper telephone lines for the final run into homes, limiting the maximum
speed. To ensure Britain has a telecommunications infrastructure which will be suitable
well into the 21st century fibre to the home (FTTH) is required but there is reluctance
from either the government or BT to invest.
“FTTC is certainly a welcome upgrade for anyone on ADSL,” says Broadband Genie editor
Matt Powell, “most of us aren’t going to turn our noses up at a 76Mb connection. But it’s
not going to be long before this proves insufficient.”
“We’re fully aware of the importance of the internet now so rather than trying to
extend the life of a network which was never built for this purpose there should be a push
to bring high speed connectivity to as much of the UK as possible using fibre so we can
ensure this country is prepared to go to 1Gb and beyond. Anything less is short sighted.”
The fibre optic lobby group FTTH Council Europe recently reported that the UK has the
worst FTTH coverage in Europe, with a tiny 0.05% of homes having access to the
future-proof technology. In Amsterdam 500Mb fibre is available to homes while Copenhagen
enjoys 250Mb links and Ireland’s Eirecom offers 150Mb. Looking outside of Europe, those
living in Hong Kong can get 1Gb fibre to the home for around $40 USD a month.
The government’s BDUK project has been plagued by problems and BT’s fibre programme,
while covering more homes than ever before, still leaves many areas stuck on ADSL. BT
Infinity is currently providing a maximum 76Mb and Virgin Media cable internet customers
can now get 120Mb in some locations.
Government targets call for a minimum of 24Mb ‘superfast’ broadband to be available
for 90% of the UK by 2015 but this has been criticised by former BT CTO Peter Cochrane who
says that this is “neither super nor is it fast.”
The only real progress has been made by small local firms such as Hull’s KC,
Bournemouth’s Gigler and the London based Hyperoptic, who have created real superfast
broadband using FTTH, often in areas which have been poorly served by the national
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Broadband Genie is the UK’s leading independent broadband, mobile broadband and
smartphone comparison website, providing consumers with an unbiased source of information
on prices and contracts and allowing them to compare providers in an independent
environment. Broadband Genie was launched in March 2004 as the first dedicated consumer
comparison site for broadband, while Mobile Broadband Genie was the first independent
mobile broadband comparison site, launched in October 2007. The sites were combined in
2010, with the addition of smartphone comparison. The site is one of the most popular in
its field, regularly featuring in the national press. http://www.broadbandgenie.co.uk
2. All queries and interview requests should be directed to Matt Powell at Broadband