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ITS Criticises Ofcom Over Claims the Final 5% Won’t Get Fibre Broadband

Friday, Jul 24th, 2015 (10:36 am) - Score 1,139

The Director of Strategy for ITS Technology, David Cullen, has said that the CEO of national UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, Sharon White, was wrong to tell MPs that those living in the final 5% of the country are “not going to get” fibre broadband style connectivity to improve their Internet access.

Sharon White made the controversial remarks earlier this week while speaking to a Culture, Media and Sport Committee in Parliament (here), although as we noted at the time her comments appeared to overlook all the work being done by alternative network operators (e.g. B4RN, ITS).

Heck even some of BT’s own FTTC/P and FTTrN deployments through the existing Broadband Delivery UK programme have arguably already entered some areas that might have otherwise been classified as in the final 5%. The picture is far more diverse than Ofcom’s comment suggests.

David Cullen, Director of Strategy at ITS, told ISPreview.co.uk:

I think the statement Sharon should have made is ‘the commercial model followed by incumbent operators does not make fibre deployments likely for the final 5%.’

It’s not the technology or even the pure cost of it that’s the issue; these can be overcome by different ways of funding and encouraging greater take-up. Many altnets are already successfully deploying Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) in very remote areas by using these and other innovative approaches. ITS included.

Where terrain, environmental factors, and of course premises’ density become a real challenge, we use a number of tried and tested wireless solutions that allow reliable superfast services to be delivered to residential and business end-users successfully. These stimulate demand, and when that gets high enough, there will be a natural and affordable shift towards FTTP – as long as affordable high capacity backhaul can be extended into these remote areas.

That’s what the regulator needs to be prioritising. A market that actively encourages new commercial approaches and the extension of affordable backhaul through actions such as sensibly-priced dark fibre from BT and the use of transport infrastructure (e.g. rail and highways) to provide rural backhaul.”


By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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