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Full fibre to home could cost £28.8billion
Monday 08 September 2008 12:51:52 by John Hunt

A full fibre to the home deployment in the UK could cost as much as £28.8bn according to a report from the Broadband Stakeholder Group. The study titled The costs of deploying fibre-based next-generation broadband infrastructure (PDF) evaluates the different options available and include: a fibre to the cabinet deployment which uses technologies such as VDSL to provide the connectivity from the cabinet to the home (FTTC/VDSL); fibre to the home using GPON (Gigabit passive optical network) which deploys fibre to the home but uses shared fibre from the cabinet to the exchange (FTTH/GPON); or fibre to the home which has a dedicated (point-to-point) fibre from the exchange all the way to the home (FTTH/PTP).

The estimated costs of deploying each of these are as follows:

Technology Speed Cost (GBP)
FTTC/VDSL 30 - 100Mbit/s 5.1 billion
FTTH/GPON 80Mbit/s - 1Gbit/s 24.5 billion
FTTH/PTP 1 Gbit/s 28.8 billion

The variance in speed between GPON and PTP fibre deployments is due to shared backhaul from the cabinet of the GPON deployment. This uses a 2.5Gbit/s (gigabit per second) fibre to serve up to 32 homes, where as the PTP has a dedicated fibre from the exchange to each home. The VDSL deployment is significantly (between 10 and 30 times) slower than the full PTP FTTH. The £1.5bn fibre deployment announced by BT in July is set to use a mix of FTTC using VDSL and also FTTH with GPON.

The largest single cost component of the entire deployment is the cost of deploying and installing the fibre in new or existing ducts. Cost savings could be gained by using existing infrastructure of Virgin Media or the utility companies. Whilst the costs are fairly constant over higher density regions, rural areas increase the cost of deployment significantly. The BSG estimates that for a FTTC/VDSL deployment, the final 16% of households in rural areas would cost £1.8bn to connect up, accounting for 35% of the total cost. This is not too dissimilar to rural area deployments of ADSL which see a higher cost due to the lower number of users.

Unfortunately, once a VDSL based deployment is in place, the business case for upgrading to full fibre diminishes as there are, at the moment, few applications that would gain a significant advantage by being deployed over fibre to the home, and therefore less revenue to be gained when switching from FTTC to FTTH. One hopes that the deployment of faster infrastructure will introduce new applications that will require ever more bandwidth and generate the innovation that will see the need to go further to a full fibre deployment.

Comments

Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Amazing discovery in this report -

taking fibre to homes in rural areas costs disproportionate amounts of money - essentially the more isolated a home the more it costs to take fibre to it.
Posted by meldrew over 8 years ago
Looks like another self-interest group
telling us about the cost of something
we don't actually need!
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
'One hopes that the deployment of faster infrastructure will introduce new applications that will require ever more bandwidth and generate the innovation that will see the need to go further to a full fibre deployment.'

Why? Surely we want applications requiring less bandwidth?
Posted by whatever2 over 8 years ago
I wondered also what we were hoping for... I don't follow the need to hope for something we don't have a use for yet...
Posted by davidt67 over 8 years ago
Bloated Browser running on Bloated Operating Systems consuming ever more resources and bandwith. Do we really need more bandwidth intensive applications ?!
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
<commically hysterical voice>Won't /someone/ please think of the exchange Backhaaaaauuuuul!</>

Is the report assuming that will just grow to meet demand? It hasn't done that so far so why should it happen with FTTx?

Can you imagine the UK broadband world when everyone has 50Mb+ connections if we carry on as now? I wonder what IPStream will cost then?
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Nope, its just blind company talk...
"we need something that people will buy a lot of, so we can convince the big advertisers to 'get on board', and give financial support for more of the same"....

davidt67: the trouble is, they produce 'fancy flashy things' that the standard idiot user loves, and then later the company has to keep his complexity going because the user now wants more...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Somerset: so, how often do you get buses near you??
to paraphrase..

taking BUSROUTES to homes in rural areas costs disproportionate amounts of money - essentially the more isolated a home the more it costs to take them to it. - most routes have been killed off due to there only being 3 or 4 people using it per week... Unless you dont mind there only being one bus a day....
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
comnut - I'm pointing out that it's not news that it costs more to get to remote areas.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
Not surprised at those estimates but it does highlight why ipstream backhaul is expensive, it indicates it costs around 3 times as much to provide services to a minority part of the population. Currently on ipstream that cost is spread out between all users. So if ipstream was in LLU areas only it would quite possibly only cost 25-33% of what it costs now.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Somerset: of course, so answer th question...
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Sorry, youv'e lost me.

What's clear is that it's people furthest from exchanges that need a speed increase and that's where the costs are higher although to find out how much means a detailed read.
Posted by Frank22 over 8 years ago
What about the savings that can be made when the ancient copper wires are gone? If I get £1 for every BT van I spot from my house I would be a rich man! And with a fibre in the house, all services can be combined. I have seen that in South Korea, with broadband, HD-TV and telephone over 1 fibre. One person I visited there was living in an older part of Seoul and "only" had 50mbps up- and downstream!
Posted by therioman over 8 years ago
@Frank22

"What about the savings that can be made when the ancient copper wires are gone? If I get £1 for every BT van I spot from my house I would be a rich man!"

I assume you've checked how much of that is actually BT providing/upgrading services. I see an Openreach van regularly too, but they're more often than not provisioning new lines or services.

Fibre is also expensive to repair if it gets damaged, so it may not save the money you think.
Posted by rian over 8 years ago
There is another thing needs to be consider. It's about if the current computers and device can handle high speed connection or not. One of my friend living in Japan using 100Mbps connection. He concludes, the maximum speed is really limited by your hardware device. With wireless 802.11g, he could get 30 Mbps in avg. With power over ethernet, he could get 50Mbps. With CAT5E cable, he got 83 Mbps. Also, the accessing time of the hard drive is playing an important role.
Posted by whatever2 over 8 years ago
Shouldn't be. Unless he has something stupidly slow. 1000Mbps ethernet here and I can assure you, it's the bottleneck, not the drive.
Posted by mishminx over 8 years ago
"Posted by Frank22 about 13 hours ago
What about the savings that can be made when the ancient copper wires are gone?"

FTTC with every line being migrated offered both the biggest saving and biggest concerns for competition.

GPON and PTP still offered savings but they were reduced greatly by the need for battery backup at customer premises. Which the report assumed would need replacing every five years.

The conclusion was that for GPON & PTP the reduction in costs would be insignificant in terms of justifying the investment required.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
I would not be surprised if the BT vans were just doing general maintenance of cabinets, exchanges, etc... (more to do with phones, not 'net..)

Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"The £1.5bn fibre deployment announced by BT in July is set to use a mix of FTTC using VDSL and also FTTH with GPON."

Oh i see so rather than listening to whingers moaning they only get 2Mb and not 8Mb the same whingers in a few years will be moaning they only get 30Mb while someone else gets 100Mb. Lets see BT MAX and profiling = epic fail, BT ADSL2+ and its imaginary VASTLY cheaper costs for the customer and no throttles etc = epic fail and now this LOL, still looking at the positives atleast they are consistant.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
somerset not necessarily, there is a bad assumption been made all the long lines are rural, there is millions of long lines in city areas. That will be highly population density and hence lower cost per household.
Posted by Aqualung over 8 years ago
I hope i'm wrong but i can see at some point BT removing many exchanges this is where a cost saving will be.....the longer line lengths being offset by the higher available speeds.

At some point all our copper is going to be life expired this doesnt seem to be taken into consideration ie they would have to replace the copper anyway so its an additional cost on top that can be talked about for many people.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Good point aqualung, but lets be honest when have BT ever been able to think long term benefit?

The thing im finding highly ironic, is how BT have whinged about virgins FIBRE slogan on their TV ads, yet the virgin 50Mb service which will be coming soon has the benefit of running faster than BTs actual fibre service... Oh the irony.
(Oh and thats not kissing virgin bottom either IMO they are just as useless as BT)
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