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Over 10% of UK broadband counts as superfast
Thursday 09 August 2012 11:10:03 by Andrew Ferguson

The UK which already has Gigabit fibre, 300 Mbps, 100Mbps and other services is starting to look a much better place for business and social internet use. The scale of the changes are highlighted by data from Point Topic which revel that there are more than two million subscriptions to superfast broadband services, representing 10% of the 21,300,000 fixed line broadband services in the UK.

"As Virgin and BT continue to grow their superfast subscriber numbers they are being joined by other players. From traditional giants like Sky to the smaller alternative networks, the superfast technologies are on the way to supremacy in the UK market.

Copper isn’t finished, it’s still an important part of the UK’s broadband strategy, but the days of sub-superfast are numbered. Super high-bandwidth options whether delivered over co-axial cable by Virgin Media or over an hybrid copper/fibre network by other players are now where the consumer sees the future.

There are parts of the UK today that are on a par with the most complete coverage available anywhere in the world. Challenges remain though. How will we reach the millions still without any broadband at all? Where are the plans for measuring the UK against the rest of Europe and the world? And how are we going to make high-speed internet access affordable for all? Until we can answer all of these satisfactorily we won’t be parading a gold medal for broadband any time soon"

Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic

The bulk of the improvements are the upgrades and upsell activity from Virgin Media, but Openreach FTTC and FTTP products are helping, adding 150,000 subscriptions in the last quarter. Importantly the competition to BT Infinity at the retail level is increasing, as TalkTalk and Sky start to push their own fibre services, and of course there is the dozens of smaller providers also selling the GEA Fibre services from Openreach.

Point Topic may not have the answers to how to drive take-up for superfast services, or improve coverage, but its monitoring of the roll-outs and demand does provide a data source independent of bodies like the BDUK.

In the UK we are very good at being self critical, and broadband coverage and speed is one area where negative coverage is always likely to gain press coverage. To give an example, if Google Fiber was made available in for example Chelmsford, there would be complaints about the villages outside the city not getting the service, and the cost of the service at £50 per month ($70+sales tax), oh and the fibre tubes are an unsightly blot on the landscape when added to the telegraph poles. Of course on the price front, there is the option of paying $300 with Google Fiber to get a free 5 Mbps service, but why install fibre to get distinctly ADSL/mobile type speeds?


Posted by cyberdoyle over 4 years ago
If you install fibre you get a far better service at any speed, with no throttling, capping or high contention ratios. Its a good investment, rather than trying to get more out of copper. I think the free fibre offering is a great way to get people online, and when they see the potential and feel the need for higher speeds they will subscribe. If they don't, it doesn't matter, they have still paid their connection fee to help others get the service and if 5meg is adequate for their current needs then fine.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
"If you install fibre you get a far better service at any speed, with no throttling, capping or high contention ratios."

cd, with respect, do you actually think before posting? If you think by deploying fibre there's no caps or contention you are very wrong.

Take B4RN for example, you are deploying 1Gbps to the home. Are you telling me there is no management of that traffic and that every single home can use all of its 1Gbps concurrently?

So... say there's 1,500 properties , each one of those properties has uncontended simultaneous 1Gbps access to the net?

Of course not
Posted by KarlAustin over 4 years ago
lol, that did make me chuckle. The magic contention zapping fibre. Contention is there at retail level because without it you'd be paying £500/month for a 100mbit connection. Contention keeps the costs down to an acceptable level for consumers.
Posted by jchamier over 4 years ago
I think the article misses the point of the $300 one time payment for 5 Mbps. This ensures the property is connected. Increasing its resale value and allowing a future owner to rent a higher speed service.

With the age profile changing in the western world to a lot of elderly people there is argument they could fund a one off $300 install - and then Google know that road/estate/area is connected.
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
@cd: Oh not /again/! How many times have we told you? Contention and throttling is not caused by the last mile. It's caused by network provision within the core and the links between the ISP and that core.

If it has any impact on contention and throttling fibre will make it /worse/ not better by allowing end users to pull even more data even faster over the already straining core and ISP links.
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
(cont'd) all the throttling and contention you are talking about is occurring on the fibre. There is no contention or throttling applied to BT's copper pairs.

Ironically VM's local loop can/does suffer from contention since a single cable runs past several properties.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Absolutely ^ fibre will cause even more of a contention headache as ISP's will need even more core/backhaul bandwidth.

For illustration - A pipe that might have served 100 * 3Mbps ADSL users concurrently could be gobbled up by one 330Mbps fibre user
Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago
"Over 10% of UK broadband counts as superfast"

I wonder what the percentage would be if the term 'superslow' were in use? What would superslow be defined as? Sub-one meg perhaps?

If 'superslow' were incorporated into the day to day broadband lingo, perhaps the profile of such lines would be raised (and more readily addressed).
Posted by TavistockSFB01822 over 4 years ago
It is not looking any better from Tavistock which is not in any funding nor on any roll-out plan (but I live in hope that BT Investment will stretch here). BDUK does nothing for us. The largest Town in West Devon and the 'Gateway to Superfast Cornwall'.
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
Have you raised this with the county council? What does it say?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago

Read that PDF, and it has maps of planned commercial, and thus the areas the project will reach being the other areas.
Posted by Borisvon over 4 years ago
same woes here.
my local council (according to samknows) has 6 exchanges and only 1 (nearly 2) have fttc and again both in heavily viginised areas!!
there appears to be no plans anywhere i can find to fill in the blanks, i have searched for ever trying to find some answers...
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