The poll results we published last week while not resolving any of the problems have shown that the broadband industry in the UK is largely meeting its '10% will achieve advertised speed' metric, but at the other end of the scale over 1 in 4 is experiencing speeds well below the personalised estimate given out at sign-up time.
"The result of this poll is another support for our demand for more transparency and trueness for broadband connections. How can an end-user imagine the 'wow!' feeling of a fibre connection that really delivers 100 Mbps when he only gets a disappointing 'up to'-experience on a DSL or cable connection? Nobody would buy an 'up to' 1 litre milk package at the supermarket – even when the producer gives an estimation that it will be up to 3/4 of a litre in it. So – why do end users still accept it on broadband? And why do consumer protection organisations still accept this habit?"FTTH Council Europe’s comment on poll results
With the start of the 2013 FTTH Conference in London now less than 24 hours away, the conference will hopefully help to show investors and others interested in broadband what is possible if the commitment is made to use the best available technology. While many may see the conference focusing on the UK as that is where it is based this year, the conference should allow those rolling out FTTH and those looking at rolling it out to meet colleagues from across Europe and learn from each other.
Oliver Johnson of Point Topic takes a clear swipe at the FTTH Council, over their promotion of FTTH as the solution to broadband problems and that the council needs to play a part in the wider picture.
"Once again the UK will be near the bottom of the list, with FTTH coverage and customers both well under 1%. The fact that Docsis 3 cable and VDSL both play a much bigger part than FTTH in delivering superfast broadband to European homes will not be mentioned."
(with respect to the FTTH Coverage announcement lined up for the conference)Oliver Johnson, CEO at Point Topic
While there is a lot of merit to the Point Topic comments, in the UK if there was not bodies pushing the boundaries we would end up believing the TV advertising that fibre optic broadband was available now, and it is this advertising that leads to a good number of the general public believing they have fibre optic cabling in the home now via people like Virgin Media.
The reality of FTTH is that if one takes the view that by rolling it out now, you are building infrastructure with a 25 year life span, rather than five to ten year life span that VDSL2 probably has. DOCSIS 3.x cable products are not dead yet, but without continued significant investment in local capacity, the new owners of Virgin Media may see market share shrinking.
When steam trains first appeared, many thought they were expensive and unreliable compared to a horse and cart, but some visionaries kept plugging away and while not all the rail projects flourished. Admittedly the last fifty years has seen a shrinking of the network. The question to ask is Fibre to the Home something that while not everyone needs it today, in fifty years time those countries that took the building of it seriously will be the powerhouses of a digital globe, with countries like the UK appearing in history books as where it all started, but is now just an also ran.
To answer the question posed by Point Topic 'Is the UK a failure or a leader in superfast broadband?' It is not a failure, roll-out of VDSL and the upgrades from Virgin Media have been extensive already but there is nothing wrong in wanting to do better, turn your back in the IT world for a week and you can find yourself out of date and out of a job.