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Fibre Broadband Uptake to Hit 4m British Homes by 2013

Posted: 29th Oct, 2008 By: MarkJ
The latest Point Topic research has estimated that there will be over 4m British homes and businesses on high-speed fibre optic broadband within five years, which would account for 20% of the 22m broadband lines expected in the UK by late 2013.

It's interesting to compare this estimate with BT, which predicted that its £1.5bn investment in next generation broadband services could deliver (coverage) fibre optic based connections to many as 10 million homes by 2012:

“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. BT has announced a plan – still provisional – to roll-out fibre to 10 million homes by 2012. “It’ll probably take a bit longer than that but there are lot of other players coming into the market too,” Johnson points out. “So we estimate there will be over 4.4 million fibre lines by the end of 2013.”

“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.”

The cable TV network (e.g. Virgin Media) is expected to stand up well against this challenge, holding onto 23% of the broadband market, because it is already going some way towards providing much higher speeds.

Sadly the proportion using basic DSL (ADSL), the telephone line technology which is the mainstay of most existing broadband services, will have dropped from over 78% today to just 57%.

The next generation of fibre optic broadband lines is expected to be dominated by Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology, which only takes the fibre to your local street cabinet and uses VDSL over existing copper lines to complete its "last mile" connection into homes.

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.
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