» ISP News » 

UPDATE UK Government – No Consensus on Deploying FTTP Broadband

Monday, January 18th, 2016 (1:36 pm) - Score 1,942

The Central Government has disappointed those calling for ultrafast pure fibre optic broadband connections (FTTH/P) to be rolled out across the United Kingdom by rebuffing the idea as part of its response to a European Commission consultation on connectivity needs post-2020.

Last October the EC launched a new consultation that began seeking the views of all interested parties on their needs for Internet speed and quality beyond 2020, with a “view to ensure that all Internet users can take advantage of the digital economy and society“.

At present one of Europe’s existing Digital Agenda goals is to ensure that every home in the EU can access a 30Mbps+ capable “superfast” broadband connection (plus 50% subscribed to a 100Mbps+ service) by the year 2020. The UK is likely to meet or get very close to that target, although some countries will almost certainly fall way short.

However the European Commission has also been running a consultation in order to try and identify where to best focus their efforts after 2020 (here) and the United Kingdom has now given its response (here), although it largely mirrors their position from the earlier Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy (DCIS).

UK Government Response to EC Consultation (Extract)

To support this ever increasing demand, infrastructure that is high capacity, reliable, resilient, secure, affordable and fast, will be needed. A key point from DCIS consultation responses, which was repeated in the UK non-paper, was that what matters most is the overall quality experience enjoyed by the user, and not just the speed. Increasingly, once a minimum connectivity floor is reached, users will want to be confident about the reliability of the connection, its resilience, and the other factors which can impact on the user experience, such as the in-home network, or the ISP’s network.

Fibre is an important element of infrastructure, because it underpins not only fixed broadband access but also mobile and wifi networks. As data traffic over mobile networks rises and higher speed service become available mobile operators will increasingly require access to fibre infrastructure to make the best use of the finite spectrum available to them. Some DCIS responses suggested that this necessitates the extension of fibre to the premises (FTTP) to meet future demands. There was however no consensus emerging on this point. Equally many noted that demand, particularly for residential users, could be met by alternative technology solutions.

In future, while there is likely to be an expansion in FTTP deployments, G.Fast will allow ultrafast speeds to be delivered over copper networks. Cable will also continue to have a role to play in delivering ultrafast services and the capability of satellite communications will also grow, which will be particularly important in serving hard-to-reach areas.

The UK government considers that all these technologies will continue to have a role to play for some time in catering for evolving user needs, and that it will be important to continue to adhere to the principle of technology neutrality. This will allow greater flexibility and allow technology options and private investment to better reflect the varying market circumstances in Member States. The regulatory framework needs to encourage private investment in infrastructure and quality services as far as possible in order to meet these needs.

The UK Government’s current position remains that ultrafast broadband of at least 100Mbps (Megabits per second) “should be available to nearly all UK premises” and, given the current state of our economy, they’re more than happy for the private sector to use cheaper and faster to deploy hybrid-fibre solutions (e.g. G.fast and DOCSIS) instead of pure fibre optic connectivity. Mind you “nearly all” is rather vague and could perhaps mean anything upwards of 60-65%, which is roughly what the private sector will probably achieve.

Steve Holford, VP Products at Hyperoptic, told ISPreview.co.uk:

It is nonsensical that the UK Government has stated it believes that there is no consensus on extending Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) services to facilitate and enable the UK’s ever-increasing broadband demands. With the UK’s broadband data consumption doubling year on year, the need for a both faster and more reliable broadband delivery technology is a no-brainer.

The current Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) infrastructure is incredibly limiting in a number of respects; from significantly slower upload speeds, to peak-time slowdowns and distance attenuation. Similarly, once G.fast technology leaves the lab, it is subject to a number of similar issues; the bandwidth is still limited, so the performance isn’t reliable, and there is also the requirement to add more street cabinets to already crowded streets.

The future of broadband is FTTP, as is evidenced by the number of other nations that are investing in their countrywide FTTP programmes. The UK Government should be encouraging and supporting FTTP, so that its citizens can enjoy a broadband service that is future-proofed for generations to come.”

Meanwhile we’re perhaps more interested in seeing superfast (24Mbps+ or 30Mbps+) fixed line broadband or wireless based connectivity being pushed out to cover 100% of homes and business in the United Kingdom, although filling that last little gap of 2-5% is rather expensive and the debate is on-going about how best to tackle it. Hopefully they can come up with a better solution than Satellite.

UPDATE 4:08pm

Added a comment from Hyperoptic, which is rolling out FTTP/H services in a number of UK cities.

Leave a Comment
54 Responses
  1. Avatar Hate BT says:

    What a great idea!

    Lets continue to flog the ass end off crappy copper based FTTC and then in another 10 years play catch-up when the rest of the World leaves us in the broadband stone age!

    1. Avatar Noel says:

      The UK’s piddling FTTP network is already way behind France, Spain, Portugal, the US and even Russia and China, and they’ll have added hundreds of millions of new connections by 2020.

      Digital economy? Meet digital economy class.

      Google called their 1 Gbps broadband ‘Ultrafast’ in 2010. 300 Mbps isn’t ‘ultrafast’ – I’ve used it – your still have to wait quite a few minutes for large files to download. G.Farce’s upload speeds of 50 Mbps are little different to a good Infinity 2 connection.

      But even if you’re lucky enough to get G.Farce, you’ll almost certainly never see those 300 Mbps speeds. Meanwhile, the holiday home you rent in rural France in a few years will be getting 1 Gbps. What a joke!

    2. Avatar Ignition says:

      Best emigrate, Noel.

    3. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      Quote “The UK’s piddling FTTP network is already way behind France, Spain, Portugal, the US and even Russia and China,”

      You forgot to point out that the UK’s total fibre broadband network exceeds all of those countries, some by more than 100%. You could be waiting a decade or more to get FTTP to your French gite, or even town house. Meanwhile your English holiday lodge is likely to have FTTC already, should have G.Fast before 2025 with the option of FoD.

      A shame when the facts get in the way of a good story! 😉

    4. Avatar DanielM says:


      But FTTC is not fibre it’s copper so that figure is nonsense.

    5. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      What do you think the F in FTTC stands for, fish fingers?

      Of course FTTC is fibre broadband, as is FTTP. Both take fibre from the exchange towards the premises, one more so. I find it odd that fibre fetishists can’t cope with a number of options within fibre broadband, even though the industry standards clearly allow for this.

      So I stand by my earlier comments, will gladly stick with my FTTC (VDSL) connection over ADSL.

    6. Avatar gerarda says:

      @New_Londoner The UK holiday lodge has a less than 50/50 chance of having superfast now, will almost certainly be out of reach of G-fast in 2025 and FoD will only be available if the lodge owner takes out a second mortgage to pay for it

    7. Avatar Peter says:

      Indeed why don’t you emigrate – somewhere like South Korea where thanks to the high percentage of the population living in urban flats they have lots of superfast broadband – I’m sure you will love it there.
      What you might not like out there is that fact that ALL the hospitals and ALL the doctors surgeries are in private hand and are run privately.

      My wealthy friend with his French house gets a fixed rate ADSL service – not even ADSLmax while in the UK his village is on FTTC.

      Finally I’m on a Gigaclear FTTP connection, virtually all of my fellow villagers who have signed up are on the lowest 50Mbps connection: they have no need for anymore – very few mostly running businesses are on higher speed packages. Then there are the other 70% who did not sign up to GC and clearly do not give a monkeys about broadband – probbaly because they have better or more interesting things to do with their lives than spend it in front of a screen down/upload loading umpteen terabytes of digital data.

    8. Avatar GNewton says:


      Allowing this confusion of referring to FTTC as fibre-broadband to continue is also anti-competitive and detrimental to the providers that are offering Fibre-to-the-Home broadband services. There are a number of providers, including Hyperoptic, who are now offering true fibre services – differentiating the product and educating consumers is nigh-impossible when the industry monopoly is allowed to confuse the market.

      Do other countries use this misnomer on such a widespread scale?

    9. Avatar Chris Phillips says:

      terminology confusion is not new and something Virgin media are truly guilty off, advertising their fibre broadband service when actually it is similar in concept to FTTC, with fibre to the street cabinet and coax instead of twisted pair copper going to your home. the big advantage with Virgin is that their street cabs are always very close to the home meaning less distance on the copper which means less signal drop and enabling the fast speeds.

      Another note is that most peoples home network will probably struggle to deliver more than ~50mbps over wifi and so few will notice any broadband speeds above this, in addition the upload speed now has a more effect on internet interactions especially when sharing photos, video or other multimedia activities like video conferencing.

      will be interesting to see how much more bandwidth can be gained over copper once analogue voice is gone and the full spectrum can be used.

  2. Avatar Ignition says:

    Oh man the comments on this one aren’t going to be a good read.

  3. Avatar gerarda says:

    One again the Government is looking to fop off rural areas with satellite. Not even a mention of fixed wireless

  4. Avatar joe pineapples says:

    But at least we’ll have super fast trains, though sadly they don’t go to the premises.

    1. Avatar AndyC says:

      Or anywhere north of manchester

    2. Avatar MikeW says:

      Like Leeds?

  5. Avatar DTMark says:

    “G.Fast will allow ultrafast speeds to be delivered over copper networks.”

    That’s not really true, is it.

    The rebuttal that this makes implies that those speeds can be attained with the existing copper; that what we have now is capable.

    And, yes, it might be, provided that fibre was rolled out sufficiently deep into the network for G.Fast to hit those speeds. For example just installing it at the cabinet isn’t going to accomplish those speeds and coverage.

    So if you infer that “the networks” we have can deliver this, it rather understates the colossal amount of work needed.

    It needs the fibre to be run almost all the way to the premises. But not all the way (FTTP).

    1. Avatar Ignition says:

      Compared with FTTP the level of work isn’t colossal.

      A decade’s time cable will, at least in some areas, be FTTT and much the same depth of fibre for the twisted pair network.

      I agree though that it should state G.fast allows ultrafast over hybrid networks, just as cable does over hybrid networks.

      Whether there will be much G.fast is an unknown. If Sky and TalkTalk have their way probably not; still be on VDSL and MPF ADSL.

    2. Avatar Ignition says:

      Case in point regarding work.


      4-6 hours per FiOS install. Similar for FoD 2 I imagine, and considerably longer for the current FTTP delivery.

    3. Avatar DTMark says:

      We’re into 2016 and the fibre only runs as far as some of the cabinets.

      The proposition here would need the fibre to then be taken much deeper to within a few hundred metres of the end premises.

      I’m sure someone could do the math to calculate how many G.Fast nodes would be needed, but installing those would be relatively straightforward.

      However surely pulling the fibre through to them down full, blocked/collapsing ancient ducts barely touched in 50+ years is the colossal effort.

      Getting a nationwide “up to” service is the easy part. Getting a nationwide or near-as “at least” service doesn’t strike me as happening with the BT network at any point in the average lifetime.

    4. Avatar FibreFred says:

      What speeds are the government proposing for g.fast?

    5. Avatar MikeW says:

      I guess if the work for G.fast is considered colossal, then the work for FTTP is around 2 x colossal.

      Given the statistics of the UK access network, where the average exchange line is 3.2km long and the average D-side is 420m, fibre has already arrived to within 400m for the average line.

      To get a substantial “at least” ultrafast service of 100Mbps, using Sckipio’s figure from last year (150Mbps to 500m), you probably need to supply half of the UK’s lines from the PCP, and the other half need extra DPUs located about 500m further out. That’d be enough to cover 90%, and would move fibre to an average of 200-250m.

      To get a substantial “at least” ultrafast service of 300Mbps, using Sckipio’s figure from last year (350Mbps to 300m), you probably need to supply 33% of the UK’s lines from the PCP; the next 39% would extra DPUs located about 300m further out; the next 15% would need extra DPUs located about 600m out. That’d be enough to cover 87%, and would move fibre to an average of 150m.

      The number of nodes? My best guess for the first scenario would be 4x – 5x the number of PCPs. Best guess for the second scenario would be 8x.

    6. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      A really useful input Mike, thank you.

    7. Avatar GNewton says:


      “4-6 hours per FiOS install.”

      Where do you get that figure from? There is no mention of it in your given video link.

    8. Avatar Malcolm says:

      Ignition: Have you ever had FTTP installed? I have, and it took about 40 minutes including the engineer having a cup of coffee.

      The link you gave ( the 2nd one ) talks about the possiblity of installing Cat5 cable network, connection points for phone, network and TV. It then goes on to say the engineer will setup the router and TV set top box. Finally the engineer will check that the phone, TV and internet are working. If all of this is done then I can see why it might take several hours. I thought with FTTC you were just sent the router and told to get on with it yourself.

    9. Avatar Chris Phillips says:

      have you had FTTP or FTTC installed, they are different
      My FTTC took 2 days and 4 engineers at my home plus the time spent at the cab and exchange. They did pull a new cable across 4 lanes of road, new termination on my eve and new external cabling on the house, engineer was in my home for ~30 mins plugging in and commissioning the vdsl router, still only got ~19Mb. Previous house, less than 1 mile from our current house, adsl was 24Mb & was self install, different cab though.

      my point is that there was likely a load of work outside your home in the cab or exchange that you never saw that meant the engineer only spent 40 mins in your home.

    10. Avatar Malcolm says:


      I have FTTP installed. I was reffering Ignition who said it takes 4-6 hours to conect the house. Nothing to do with the rest of the network that had to be built.

      I certainly saw the rest of the work that had to be done in the streets. The difference is that the work done connected to every property in the village, not just the ones subscribing to FTTP. This means everything gets done at the same time for all the village. No doubt this is exactly the same as was done over 100 years ago when the copper telephone wires were installed.

      I think your experience shows that FTTC is not necessarily faster to connect to an individual property than FTTH.

  6. Avatar Andrew says:

    Governments don’t have a clue.
    Not a ******* clue.
    How do you build a strong economy, take this country forward and attract investment?
    Get everyone connected at the fastest possible future proof speeds or….
    Build a really fast train that most people won’t use.
    Yep, it’s a tricky one that……
    If your brain is the size of a freakin pea!!
    By the time that train is ready we will all be traveling in hired automated EVs at a cost of next to nothing and the roads will be half empty.
    By the time the Nuclear power station is ready we will have near 100% solar power and rapidly advancing battery storage solutions.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      You have to see the irony in someone complaining about HS2 with

      “Build a really fast train that most people won’t use.”

      yet extol the virtues of FTTP with

      “Get everyone connected at the fastest possible future proof speeds”

      The problem being that … you will be building a really fast FTTP network that most people won’t use.

      Most subscribers to FTTC choose a 40Mbps package, not an 80Mbps one. Most subscribers to Virgin choose the bottom tier. Most subscribers to KC’s Lightstream choose the bottom tier. And, right now, there are still more subscribers who stick to their cheapest ADSL tiers rather than migrating to either FTTC or to Virgin.

      Are you seeing a pattern?

      People don’t need faster FTTP, and certainly don’t want to pay for it.

    2. Avatar gerarda says:

      @MikeW – I don’t see the irony in someone suggesting that we put money into a future-proof technology instead of tarting up a Victorian method of transport which even its proponents can only claim a modest return on investment and may actually prove to be counter productive.

      It is only 12 years ago that BT were claiming there was no demand for nationwide ADSL. Now most people would not accept speeds 20 times faster than they were being offered then. To suggest they wont want 20 times faster speeds in another 12 years seems very short sighted

    3. Avatar GNewton says:

      @MikeW: “The problem being that … you will be building a really fast FTTP network that most people won’t use.”

      It’s about building a future proof network which can still be used 20 years later, unlike VDSL. You could of course argue that G.Fast and FTTdP will almost do the same eventually. But the amount of money you’d have to spend to make it avaivalble to nearly everyone quickly comes to levels of genuine FTTP costs. In fact, the longterm costs of a transition of FTTC to nearly full fibre might end up to be higher than building fibre from the beginning. It would be interesting to see some honest cost estimates on this.

    4. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Who should fund and ‘build a future proof network which can still be used 20 years later’?

    5. Avatar GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: I think it’s still worth considering your own proposal about government funded fibre which you posted a year ago on ISPReview. Any thoughts on my question about honest cost estimates between full fibre and transition from FTTC to widespread G.Fast / FTTdP?

    6. Avatar Ignition says:

      I’ve several thoughts for you.



      ‘Future proof’ investments

      The ‘future proof’ argument for FTTH acknowledges that immediate benefits may be limited, but makes the point that FTTH will have ample capacity for substantial future requirements, even if today we cannot identify what might drive those requirements. While this argument has merits, it also has limits. In particular:

      • The ‘future proof’ argument is less powerful if the alternative is ‘do nothing’. Doing nothing is future proof in that it is a decision which can be easily reversed if a strong case for FTTH becomes apparent. (Or, even if you knew for certain that FTTH was going to have substantial benefits starting ten years from now, the right answer could still be to wait to deploy, if– say – a widespread roll-out only needed five years). However, if money is spent on FTTH, it cannot be recovered if FTTH turns out not to deliver anticipated benefits.

      • Even if the alternative is to invest in another technology, because FTTH is so expensive delaying investment in FTTH even by a few years can bring substantial ‘time value of money’ benefits, outweighing the cost of deploying the other technology in the interim, as we have seen.

      • As noted above, given developments in copper technology, even if substantially more
      capacity than FTTC can provide is required, it is not clear that expensive FTTH would be the natural upgrade.

    7. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @GN – I did not publish a fully costed proposal, I might have said it would be OK to fund a rollout.

      I do not have the detail you request. Who does?

    8. Avatar GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: Back in January last year, you said:

      “The government should have found enough money to fund a full FTTP rollout across the UK.”


      “The government needs to provide long investment. All agree?”

      To which it was pointed out to you that your ideas need further clarifications.

    9. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Intended more as a question than a statement.

    10. Avatar GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: So do still believe that the government should have found enough money to fund a full FTTP rollout across the UK? If you changed your mind, what is your suggestion now on how to fund fibre broadband?

    11. Avatar TheFacts says:

      I am interested in the views of industry professionals. As technology moves on there are a number of solutions.

    12. Avatar GNewton says:


      Who are the industry professionals?
      Do they include some government members or BT?
      And what number of solutions do you have in mind now for a nationwide fibre broadband?

  7. Avatar New_Londoner says:

    The quote from Steve Holford of Hyperoptic made me chuckle, as did your explatory footnote that you’d “Added a comment from Hyperoptic, which is rolling out FTTP/H services in a number of UK cities”.

    As far as I know, Hyperoptic is not a network operator, and certainly isn’t rolling out FTTP services. It rents Ethernet lines from network operators to connect to buildings, distributing the bandwidth via cat 5 cable – I’m not sure if it installs and owns this or if the landlord does. So in reality it runs a WAN over third party Ethernet circuits, just like many large corporations, the only difference being that it resells capacity to tenants in apartment blocks.

    I’m not at all convinced this means it qualifies as anything other than an ISP? Nor that the service is FTTP given it is not fibre all the way to the apartment. Fibre broadband but not FTTP.

    1. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Hyperoptic say FTTC has ‘peak-time slowdowns’. Why?

    2. Avatar craski says:

      I have a Zen FTTC connection provided over BT Wholesale. It syncs at 80/20 and happily performs at 74/18 a lot of the day but from 2000 to 2300, it can slow down to 2Mb. It has been confirmed as a congested SVLAN and it various support forums have numerous posts with people having similar issues. My experience of FTTC over first 4 weeks has been pretty disappointing at times.

    3. Avatar TheFacts says:

      And would not affect FTTP?

    4. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Exactly, congestion is congestion regardless of the medium

    5. Avatar GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: Has Hyperoptic the same peak-time slowdown (congestion) issues than the VDSL services? If not, why not?

    6. Avatar FibreFred says:


      One of the main areas of congestion is when an ISP uses someone elses network (e.g. reselling a BT product) and they don’t buy enough backhaul to get from the BT network to their own network.

      Buy less circuits and ram more users into them = congestion

      Hyperoptic don’t wholesale so they can’t run into that problem

      I’m on FTTC and have never suffered peak time congestion since I’ve had it

  8. Avatar dragoneast says:

    These comments seem to have shown that the Government have called it right.

    1. Avatar Ignition says:

      The responses were as predictable as night following day.

    2. Avatar David says:

      It seems odd that the UK government is telling the Commission that there’s no consensus for FTTH in UK, when at the same time Gigaclear has just been given an £18M loan by the Commission to deploy FTTH.

  9. Avatar adslmax Real says:

    Tory is useless prat!

  10. Avatar GNewton says:

    Almost everybody can order this:

    FTTE (fibre-to-the-exchange)

    ASA wouldn’t mind if ISPs marketed it like that, so you can leave all the copper beyond the exchange buried in the ground. Problem solved, no big investment costs anymore 🙂

  11. Avatar Loredana Beretta says:

    I am Loredana Beretta a private loan lender who render different kind of loans to International Countries urgently with 3% Interest rate if Interested kindly Contact me Via Email: loredana_beretta@aol.com

    Motto: Your happiness is our Satisfaction

    We live by our motto,We Can Help You

Comments are closed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £22.00
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Onestream £22.49 (*29.99)
    Avg. Speed 45Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • xln telecom £22.74 (*47.94)
    Avg. Speed 66Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.99 (*35.98)
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £60 Reward Card
  • NOW TV £23.00 (*40.00)
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Dine Club Membership
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2770)
  2. FTTP (2760)
  3. FTTC (1785)
  4. Building Digital UK (1743)
  5. Politics (1667)
  6. Openreach (1624)
  7. Business (1435)
  8. FTTH (1341)
  9. Statistics (1241)
  10. Mobile Broadband (1228)
  11. Fibre Optic (1066)
  12. 4G (1059)
  13. Wireless Internet (1021)
  14. Ofcom Regulation (1015)
  15. Virgin Media (1006)
  16. EE (698)
  17. Sky Broadband (669)
  18. Vodafone (669)
  19. TalkTalk (663)
  20. 5G (519)
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact