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Advocates of Fibre Optic Broadband Hail Gimme Fibre Day 2015

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 (12:14 am) - Score 960

Do you want to see the United Kingdom replacing all of its ageing copper telecoms cable with high-capacity pure fibre optic lines (FTTH/P), which can delivery ultrafast Gigabit broadband speeds? If so then you should probably lend your support to today’s annual Gimme Fibre Day 2015 event.

The event, which is timed to coincide with the birthday of Nobel Prize winner Sir Charles Kuen Kao (aka – the “Father of Fibre Optics“) who in 2009 won the Nobel Prize in Physics for “ground-breaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibres for optical communication“, is now in its third year and continues to be supported by the FTTH Council Europe and others.

Apparently the idea of Gimme Fibre Day is to help raise awareness about the benefits of the technology through special events in different countries, which in turn should help to drive adoption. It’s a good idea, although previous events have struggled to secure much in the way of mainstream support and the website doesn’t help to clarify if anything is even happening in the UK today (B4RN is listed as a supporter, but at the time of writing there were no event details online).

We find this to be a bit disappointing, particularly with TalkTalk and Sky Broadband being so keen to push the advantages of FTTH/P services via their respective deployments in York etc. In fact there are quite a few pure fibre optic ISPs in the United Kingdom now (e.g. Gigaclear, Hyperoptic and even BTOpenreach), although the vast majority don’t appear to be involved in today’s event.

In an ideal world we’d love to see true fibre optic connectivity become the norm, it would certainly solve a lot of age old performance problems, but first the issue of funding needs to be resolved (i.e. where do we get the needed £20bn to £35bn – figures vary depending upon which report you read) and then we’d have to be prepared for what could be a 10-15 year roll-out, where rural areas might once again be the last to benefit.

Some people argue that one way would be to scrap railway projects like High Speed 2 (HS2) and recommit a big part of the funding to rolling out fibre optic lines instead, although many of the big commercial operators fear that this could impact their private investments into existing networks (especially if BT were to end up becoming the prime beneficiary).

However BT’s rivals need not worry because the Government, which is still struggling under a huge mountain of national debt (around £1.48 trillion) that accounts for most of our GDP (Britain’s debt interest bill could rise to £1bn a week by 2018), appears to have no intention of making such a significant investment.

Meanwhile BT are happy to continue finding new ways (e.g. G.fast and XG.Fast technology) of pulling faster speeds out of ever shorter runs of copper cable, which is slowly bringing fibre optic lines closer to homes, albeit not close enough for Gimme Fibre Day to be even remotely happy about it.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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