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Late UK entry into consumer fibre networks highlighted by FTTH Council
Friday 17 February 2012 11:42:41 by Andrew Ferguson

The UK may have missed the first half of the party, but hopefully if Openreach can scale its FTTH and FTTB roll-outs in the next 12 months, we may figure on the FTTH Councils' Annual Global Ranking of FTTH countries in 2013. To get onto the chart needs at least 1% penetration, which for the UK will be something like 220,000 signed up to a fibre to the premises or basement/building service.

Ranking of Countries with respect to FTTH/B penetration
Click image for larger version

Canada has only just crept into the chart with 1.24% of the total households connected using fibre. Seeing South Korea at the top of the chart is no surprise, but the actual penetration of full fibre is setting at 17%, the more popular solution being fibre to the building and then a LAN distribution around the flats in the building. In the UK there are operators such as Hyperoptic and Ask4 operating in what has been a niche market so far in the UK, but there is potential for these to grow significantly in the next year.

Beyond the usual complaints of Openreach acting to make FTTB deployments difficult, the UK with its 'my home is my castle' attitude means that large blocks of flats are a lot less common than in many other countries and this has also hampered FTTB adoption. Though it seems the niche operators have made Openreach wake up to the possibilities and we may see wider adoption of the delivery method. FTTB usually takes a bundle of fibres into the basement of a building, which is then converted to Ethernet, and network cables carry the service around the building. In flats where retro-fitting Ethernet cabling is difficult, then the copper telephone wiring can be utilised, in a FTTC style deployment.

In theory once Openreach completes its commercial fibre roll-out in 2014, there should be around 15% of UK homes with the option of FTTH or FTTB. How far that will push us up the league table depends on take-up of course, and adoption of the service by companies like Sky and TalkTalk in addition to BT Retail.


Posted by opticalgirl over 5 years ago
I think BT said FTTP would be available to order by 100,000 homes across 10 exchange areas this year. There are closer to 24 million homes in the UK, so to achieve 1% penetration we would need 240,000 customers - I think that's still further away than next year, don't you?
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
The inclusion of FTTB and "fibre on demand" in FTTC areas by Openreach might jhelp boost the numbers.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Yeah Fibre of Demand will change things, well if people buy it of course :)
Posted by nickkcin over 5 years ago
Noting that large penetration figure in Lithuania you can expect the UK Govt to claim Lithuania isn't part of Europe when we get to 2015
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
If FTTP on demand is available anywhere FTTC is, by 2015 FTTP should be available to at least 70% of the population. Whether any of us choose to use it when we can also get FTTC with speeds of up to 80Mbps (possibly faster still by then?) is another matter.

This wouldn't put us high up a league table from the FTTH Council (mainly equipment vendors I think?). I don't really see an issue though as long as we have access to very high bandwidth services when we decide we need them.
Posted by colrob over 5 years ago
FTTC has been promised in my area since 2010. The date just keeps being slipped back by between 3 and 6 months. So I take the joundiced view that all these BT forecasts are nothing more than pious hope.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
A lot of issues are local planning problems with councils that has hampered many areas
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
The main issue is scale and regulatory hampering.

OFCOM had prior to mid-2009 (only 2.5 years ago)had regulated that BT may operate any fibre based residential products.
Which means that there was no roll-out experience in that area. Hence, when OFCOM allowed BT to start there were trials (6mths). So the reality is roll-out is only 2 years old... BT quote ~10m homes passed (40%), which is fast for a nationwide infrastructure roll-out.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
And just like any national roll-out, there are easy areas and harder areas. My exchange has only just been FTTC'ed, it was one of shortlist exchanges for Openreach FTTC trials. This would make you think it's an ideal area for FTTC (assets in place, etc...) and would be included in one of the first roll-outs if it didn't get the trial.
Posted by mcompton69 over 5 years ago
"once Openreach completes its commercial fibre roll-out in 2014/around 15% of UK homes with the option of FTTx"
So if rest of the world stands still for 3 years, we still only rank 7/8th in terms of penetration?! Wow!
CLEARLY the government doesn't understand t benefits this new infrastructure would bring in the current economic climate, OR they r completely impotent when it comes to making the monopoly that is BT act, & in a timely manner. BT won’t move its arse a mm, unless it's for both massive profit & will clearly benefit its monopoly over competitors. Corporation 1, UK 0
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Indeed, in OFCOM had allowed everyone to build fibre networks from the start then the UK would be higher up the league table.

But consider this, VMs network is not be considered FTTH, even though it gives comparable speeds to 100Mbps fibre. And that will have 50% penetration of that product soon.

If the UK had taken the Lithuania route we would still have to wait a 15 years for decent coverage, simply based on scale of the job. However, Lithuania gets a sizable EU fund for rural roll-out (60% of costs), whereas the UK will not.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
mcompton69 you know that FTTH will be available on demand to all FTTC areas in 2013 don't you? That is millions of properties

Guess what.. roll outs of this proportion take time. Blame Ofcom for BT's slow start they handcuffed them to the railings for years on fibre.
Posted by colrob over 5 years ago
Further to my previous : the green boxes have been lurking on street corners for ages, so don't believe the delay is due to planning considerations.
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