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UK Fibre Broadband Connections Could Connect 4.4m by 2013
By: MarkJ - 02 March, 2009 (2:12 PM)

Point Topic has estimated that there could be over 4.4 Million British homes and businesses on high-speed fibre optic broadband connections within just five years time. That's about 20% of the 22 million broadband lines (currently over 17m) expected in the UK by late 2013.

The forecast finds that current DSL (ADSL, SDSL etc.) based broadband services, the most common form of high speed UK connections via existing telephone lines, will be the hardest hit and lose 21% of its market share (78% today to only 57%):

2013 UK Fibre Optic Broadband Lines Forecast

Most of the new connections will involve fibre only as far as the local telephone cabinet (FTTC, Fibre-to-the-Cabinet), with VDSL2 most likely being used to plug the final hurdle over copper wire into homes. Speeds of 20Mbps are anticipated, though BT hints that future improvements could push up to 60Mbps:

This is probably the first moment when it has been possible to make a plausible forecast for fibre in the UK, based on some real plans and activity,” says Tim Johnson, Chief Analyst at Point Topic.

There’s a lot of controversy about whether and why people are actually going to want such high speeds,” Tim Johnson admits. “I think they will, because they will be attracted by the offer of one single converged service, not lots of separate ones."

People will be able to mix video telephony, TV, audio, online games and virtual worlds, all high quality and high resolution, into the total experience they want at that moment,” he says. “In fact it’s what today’s teenagers are trying to do right now and in a few more years the technology will catch up with them.

Ofcom is widely expected to approve BT's £1.5 billion programme to rollout fibre-based (Fibre to the Premise/Cabinet) broadband services tomorrow. The service could potentially reach as many as 10 million homes by 2012, according to BT.

However Point Topic's projections suggest that over 1 million homes will be within reach of fibre by the end of 2010, increasing to well over 11 million 3 years later. In other words BT's estimates could be a little wide of the mark.

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