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True 100Mbps UK Fibre Optic Broadband to Overtake FTTC by 2015

Posted: 15th Oct, 2009 By: MarkJ
fibre optic cable Broadband analyst firm Point Topic has predicted that true next generation fibre optic broadband services, which deliver the cable directly into homes ( Fibre-to-the-Home/Premises - FTTH ) for even faster speeds, will eventually become more dominant in the UK than the halfway house of Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) technology.

FTTC delivers a fast fibre optic link to the operator’s street level cabinets, while the remaining connection - between cabinets and homes - is done using VDSL / VDSL2 (similar to current ADSL broadband but faster over short distances) via existing copper cable. FTTC is due to take the lion’s share of BT's fibre optic broadband rollout.

The FTTC method, while cheap, limits the best possible speed of your broadband service to a maximum of 40-60Mbps and also results in more varied real-world performance from around 15Mbps upwards. By comparison FTTH/P has no copper cable to worry about, thus it can deliver reliable speeds of 100Mbps (reaching up to 1Gbps in the future).

Under the original plans BT had proposed to reach 10m UK homes and businesses by 2012, with 9m being covered via FTTC and 1m by FTTH/P technology. This changed last week (news) when the operator increased its target of 1m FTTH/P to 2.5m at the cost of FTTC, which could be a sign of things to come.

Tim Johnson, Chief Analyst at Point Topic, said:

"Yes, FTTC will stay ahead of FTTP in terms of numbers for a few years. But our research and the BT announcement show that fibre-all-the-way is rapidly becoming the more attractive option. FTTP will catch up and overtake FTTC. I believe it will be the majority technology for next-generation access in the UK by 2015."

That's a bold prediction to make, after all the timeline is just five years away and by 2012 we already know that the gap between FTTC's significantly larger rollout and FTTH/P will still be a sizable one. This leaves 3 years for FTTH/P to overtake FTTC, which is a very big fence to jump; at this point we don’t even know how commercially attractive the product will be for consumers. The official rollout is not due to begin until January next year.
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