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FTTH Council Europe welcomes UK Government initiative
Tuesday 18 February 2014 16:04:26 by Andrew Ferguson

The annual European FTTH Council conference is underway in Stockholm, Sweden (hashtag #ftth2014) and it will be a surprise to many given the small amounts of proper fibre in the UK diet that the council welcomed a Government Initiative last week.

"If the UK Government takes a closer look at the opportunities that FTTH creates in a wide range of public services such as eHealth, eCare for elderly and chronically sick people, eGovernment, eEducation, they will realise that fibre access is the best choice."

The FTTH Council Europe believes that public funds should only be invested in future-proof infrastructure. It is a waste of tax-payers money to spend it on short- and mid-term upgrades of existing networks, which results in an expensive multi-cycle upgrade path.

We hope that the British government builds its "Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy" as a sound stepping board for future-proof decisions. This should include strong choices and visions. The British government has the chance to lead the country into a strong digital future. The FTTH Council Europe hopes that it will not miss this opportunity and will support any effort in the direction of a future-proof fibre access infrastructure."

Karin Ahl, President of the FTTH Council Europe

The Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy was published last summer, but the DCMS are now seeking views on the strategy for a digitally wealthy United Kingdom. It is in this respect that the UK Government is at least making moves to listen to wider stakeholders rather than just the usual advisors who spend more time in the corridors of power than they do involved in actual broadband deployments.

The uphill struggle that all those who know that a full fibre connection i.e. FTTH or FTTB should be future proof for many decades is convincing the accountants that the long term benefits are worth the short term costs to implement.

The current UK policy on broadband probably makes some people weep as they see missed opportunities, but at least we do have a policy and one that has survived some pretty tough public spending cuts, just maybe as we progress through different Governments in the next decade and Internet aware MP's are more common it may prove easier for the sensible voices to be heard.

Comments

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
"It is a waste of tax-payers money to spend it on short- and mid-term upgrades of existing networks, which results in an expensive multi-cycle upgrade path."

Echoes of Peter Cochrane?
Posted by cyberdoyle over 3 years ago
The digital divide in the UK grows ever wider, as the incumbent gets all the funding to do cabinets and ignores the fact that longer lines won't get any benefit at all, let alone superfast. Also the low take up because they only serve areas that have a connection means they don't do all the customers on a cabinet, therefore once people do want to go faster there won't be the capacity in those cabinets for them, as has been proved repeatedly in several areas where tech savvy people keep an eye on things.
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
You mean once in one area ? The parish or whatever that expected a fully line carded cab from the outset? Doesn't work like that
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
Very funny quote "The FTTH Council Europe believes that public funds should only be invested in future-proof infrastructure. It is a waste of tax-payers money to spend it on short- and mid-term upgrades of existing networks, which results in an expensive multi-cycle upgrade path."

In other words, it thinks the money should be spent on equipment made by its members, funny that! And why isn't it called the "FTTH Equipment Manufacturers Council Europe", wouldn't this be more accurate?
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
"It is a waste of tax-payers money to spend it on short- and mid-term upgrades of existing networks"

Sounds great, if money isn't an object, oh but.. hey it actually is

So with a very limited pot of money you can:-

1) Only FTTH a small amount of the UK and the rest can whistle on ADSL2 for years
2) Wait until you've enough money to FTTH all of the UK and everyone can stay on ADSL2 for even more years
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
3) Spend the money wisely give as many people as possible better speeds and work towards full FTTH in the future which will be cheaper as you are bringing fibre closer to the home anyway using FTTC

Any takers on 1 or 2, or shall we stick with 3?
Posted by cyberdoyle over 3 years ago
All 3 are wrong Gman99, the sensible way is to take fibre to the hardest to reach places via altnets like gigaclear, and then competition would force the incumbent to stop pratting about with obsolete phone lines and build a proper network. FTTC isn't really bringing fibre much closer, its just extending the life of the phone lines. It isn't a stepping stone its a choke point and leaves many excluded due to line length.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 3 years ago
New_londoner, if we called the FTTC council the manufacturing lobby, we could call BT the dinosaur lobby or copper cabal, one is advocating the products of the future, the other is protecting the obsolete assets of the past, which due to years of under investment and neglect can hardly do today's work let alone equip the nation for the future. Copper is so yesterday. The talk is of gigabits now, not pathetic up to 80 Megabits with 'up to' being the key issue still. The digital divide grows ever wider.
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
"FTTC isn't really bringing fibre much closer,"

Priceless, do you know anything about the build that serves FTTC?

And what is stopping Gigaclear then? In fact what was stopping them bid for BDUK contracts?

You've said it before and you are saying it again, take fibre to the hard to reach areas, two fingers to the rest. Nice...
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
FYI

http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/the-big-build/

3million km of fibre to 3million dp's and its not bringing fibre much closer? Shame on your misinformation.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@GMAN99 FTTC is still not and cannot reach the long exchange lines - it may do more - though in rural areas the jury is still out -but it is definitely going to leave millions out of what the rest would consider a normal service
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@gerarda It all depends on cabinet to home distance, home to exchange distance is irrelevant.

Remember that fibre is perfect and ideal so it does not matter if that section is 500 metres or 15 km, other than the cost to install it.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@andrew -I know that - but a long exchange line means the cab has to be much farther from the exchange to reach - and BT show little appetite for enabling these let alone installing new ones
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
^ That is a financial issue not a technical one.
Posted by Saurus over 3 years ago
Reading the above arguments, which all seem to offer merits in their own right, it is abundantly clear that the people of this country deserve better from their politicians. By this I mean serious funding along the lines of HS2 for a world class BB infrastructure, not this lame £500 million pound small change nonsense or even the local government efforts. Then the whole country would benefit and reap the rewards. Yes it would cost tax payers money, but nowhere near as much as the current and previous governments have wasted on futile wars in foreign countries over the last 10-12 years!
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
The argument really is how much, who pays, when and where.

How much probably £10-15B now that FTTC is out to where it is.
Then who pays the money and how do they recoup the investment if needed?
When, what time frame to build in, usual situation is public want it all now so £15-20B or more sedate £10-15B.
Where, which network/s benefit and how it is all implemented.

However, infrastructure cash will likely be diverted to flood/sea defences and relocation of communities that simply cannot be defended.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@GMA99 So is FFTPvFTTC
Posted by Frank22 over 3 years ago
Why can FTTP be available to significant number of subscribers in other countries? No one here seems to ask that question.

Seems a joke to see a news article on this website with the title "Add another 10 premises to number of UK homes passed by FTTP".
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@Frank22

I guess there are lots of factors in the answer to that, but here's one...

In the UK, we tend to live in houses in the suburbs, at relatively low density. It is easier to get fibre to one apartment block (and so many flats) than to one house.

Switzerland has, in the official statistics for its cities, a "houses per 100 apartments" figure. For Zurich, there are less than 5 houses per 100 apartments. For Geneva, there is less than 1 house per 100 apartments.

In the UK, 18% live in flats; it is 58% in Switzerland, 62% in Germany and 72% in Latvia.
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