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UK Cable and “Fibre Broadband” Lines Overtake Pure Copper DSL Services

Friday, May 26th, 2017 (2:04 pm) - Score 1,518
copper and fibre optic hybrid broadband cables uk

A new update from Point Topic has summarised the latest data from ISPs in the United Kingdom, which found that faster Cable (DOCSIS) and “fibre” (FTTC/P/H/B) based broadband lines have finally overtaken older / slower pure copper Digital Subscriber Line (e.g. ADSL) services.

The analyst notes that the UK’s total broadband market stood at just over 25,834,000 lines at the end of Q1 2017, although for the first time older DSL broadband services accounted for less than 13 million (fewer than half of the total).

The news is hardly a surprise because older and slower ADSL / ADSL2+ (up to c.20Mbps) based broadband services, which were once the dominant form of Internet connectivity, have been in decline for the past few years as faster connection technologies have improved their coverage and cannibalised the base.

Report Statement

The UK broadband market looked very different in terms of its technology base headline at the end of March 2017 than it did just three months earlier at the end of 2016. Having been dominated by Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) infrastructure, the country now has more subscribers to the broadband services supplied over Docsis 3.0 cable modem and fibre-based networks.

Active DSL lines fell under 13 million for the first time as the technology continues its decline. Meanwhile customers using the cable modems of Virgin Media and WightFibre, the country’s only independent cable-based operator, have passed the five million mark.

Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) lines are now estimated to total 7,860,000 including those belonging to service providers using the Openreach [BT] network, Kingston upon Hull’s incumbent KCOM, and alternative network operators. With DSL lines at 12,812,000 and a combined cable modem and FTTx base of 12,861,900 lines, the days of DSL technology are surely numbered.

The analyst also reported that broadband household penetration in the UK now stands at 84.4%.

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Mark Jackson
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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2 Responses
  1. Avatar MikeW

    And all those statistics based on median speed will now switch to representing fibre-based, NGA-based speeds instead of exchange-based, ADSL-based speeds.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      But it won’t be the median of NGA performance. It will be the low end of NGA and that, initially at least, might not be so far different from the top-end ADSL which was, presumably, what was seen before the cross-over point.

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