Industry and Government should introduce better messaging around powerful fibre optic broadband services that are already widely available, and stop focusing on the protracted debate over building Europe’s best broadband network based on roll-out of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).
There has been increasing criticism at the lack of investment and lack of ambition demonstrated by key infrastructure providers and the Government in delivering fibre services extensively throughout the UK. This is leading business customers to believe that they must have superfast broadband, delivered via fibre directly to their premises, and anything less will not be satisfactory.
We know that the Government is working with the industry to try to deliver Europe’s fastest broadband network by 2015 and we hope that they succeed, but meanwhile the needs of businesses can be met right now from existing Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) options, and this is not being made clear.
Most business users want a fast, reliable broadband service that serves their requirements not just now, but in the future, but many organisations are using FTTC solutions today, and as a result are experiencing increases in download speeds of up to 10 times that of standard broadband.
Over half of premises in the UK can already access FTTC broadband, a solution which avoids disruption and guarantees high performance and reliability. Most organisations don’t need the 330Mbps promised by FTTP, and will find 80Mbps more than enough and large enterprises demand bespoke solutions, so for them the debate is largely redundant.
Recent industry figures suggest that where superfast broadband has already been made available in the UK (typically FTTC), only 13% of customers have actually taken it up. Our own customers’ take-up rate stands at 18%.
On the ground take-up is slower than expected, despite all the marketing and all the media coverage for superfast broadband. Whilst this could be because customers are experiencing what they believe to be fast enough speeds and lower prices from their standard broadband packages, I believe others are waiting for new all fibre broadband services. There are a range of FTTC options offering superfast, stable services, available immediately, and there should be a greater emphasis on how businesses can access these right now to benefit their day-to-day operations.
FTTC is …
Fibre to the Cabinet or FTTC describes a deployment where a fibre cable runs from a BT exchange to a street cabinet that contains the Broadband equipment. From here it is linked to business premises and homes via the existing BT copper network. This then connects the home or business to your Internet Service Provider’s Fibre Broadband service.
FTTP is …
Fibre to the Premises or FTTP describes a deployment where a fibre cable runs from a BT exchange all the way to the end-user premise. It terminates at a box (the CSP) which is fitted to the external wall. From here it is connected to a modem fitted internally which then connects the home or business to your Internet Service Provider’s Fibre Broadband service.