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UK shares bottom place with Germany in FTTH table
Wednesday 19 February 2014 15:23:22 by Andrew Ferguson

The UK is falling behind in the race to roll-out full Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and Fibre to the Building (FTTB) networks, the FTTH Council Europe conference in Stockholm has revealed its latest set of figures that show that 23 European countries have more than 1% of homes directly connected with fibre. Unsurprisingly the UK is one of the countries with under 1%.

There is a nice chart available showing the rankings across Europe, but given the UK is not on it due to the minute take-up due to the low availability of FTTH nationally it seems daft to publish it.

2013 was a year of strong FTTH growth for four countries, Spain passed an extra 2.4 million homes, France 710,000, Portugal and Sweden both passing 550,000 each. Germany joined the UK in still only having FTTH/B available to under 1% of premises, and that is the minimum level to appear on the charts. If looking to move to get ultrafast broadband and none of the UK locations with FTTH grab your fancy, then apparently Lithuania has 100% coverage of FTTH or FTTB and take-up is running at 34% (21% FTTH, 13% FTTB).

"“We need to do more and I can’t help but feel that some policy makers underestimate the danger of not getting to fibre to the home networks quickly enough,” said Karin Ahl, President of the FTTH Council Europe, in her opening speech at the FTTH Conference. “Within the next 30 years, 70% of the economy is likely to be driven by firms and products we know nothing about today."

Karin Ahl, President of the FTTH Council Europe

The figures for the UK as of December 2013, was 234,000 homes passed with 24,100 subscribers which is at least an advance on the figure from the 2013 Conference of 199,000 homes passed. The growth from B4rn, Gigaclear, Hyperoptic and IFNL has boosted the figures, CityFibre is concentrating on business hence why not much has changed for them.

Operator No. of subscribers Homes Passed
BT/Openreach 10,000 100,000
CityFibre 100 24,000
Others 14,000 110,000

With the current UK plans it looks unlikely that we will feature in the 2015 charts either, but given the decade long campaigning in the UK about the digital divide maybe the politicians listened and have gone for a solution they know can be rolled out quickly to millions of homes at relatively low cost and thus keeping almost everyone just ahead of that speed where things just don't work.

Comments

Posted by otester over 3 years ago
The important thing is that it's available to everyone who can get BT FTTC, you just have to pay for install (usually £500), which I see nothing wrong with.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
Why do we care about this "race"? Clearly the so-called FTTH Council Europe members do as they sell the kit needed to deliver it, but why should we?

AFAIK fibre broadband is available more widely and at lower cost than any of the other big European economies, and ranks number two in the G8. Surely wide availability is better, let's not talk down what we have just because it doesn't play to the agenda of the manufacturers.

Does this self-appointed "Council" really warrant so much coverage? It's really only a PR vehicle.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 3 years ago
"rolled out quickly to millions of homes at relatively low cost and thus keeping almost everyone just ahead of that speed where things just don't work." spot on, the digital divide growing ever wider as funding is channelled into a quick fix bottleneck stop gap solution. It will come back and bite us. The whole job will be to do properly once realisation dawns that FTTC is not upgradeable.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 3 years ago
otester, if you check the openreach site you will see it isn't available to all, as many are not near cabinets, and those who want it face excess construction charges running up to thousands, and £99 month, so they are hardly likely to take that offer when 'upto superfast' is available for £7.50 a month now are they? if government want folk online to save billions they should help make it happen for everyone, not just those near cabinets. and from the sound of it most cabs are grossly underspec, so they can't serve all the properties on the copper let alone give them fibres.
Posted by Unknown101 over 3 years ago
Cyberdoyle -most of the cabs are grossly under spec - what do you mean by this? It isn't available to most yet because Openreach are waiting for the FTTC deployment to finish before allowing everyone to take the option of FTToD. Yes they'll have to pay however far they are away from the cab but that's expected surely not everyone wants super speeds the people who do want good speeds will have to pay.

Again if people don't want to pay huge EC costs then they can opt for FTTdp and bring the fibres closer to their property to achieve more decent speeds.
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
I think it pertinent to point out that Lithuania was chosen in the Soviet era as the telecoms research point. So almost the entirety of the country is blessed with ample quantities of soviet style bunker grade ducting. Hence, if you look at the costs of National/EU support to achieve the level of rollout is fractional to that of any other country. The much lower average salary helps too...
Posted by bartman007 over 3 years ago
We might be at the bottom of this table, but we are at the top of the immigrants table, Germany, sorry the EU, has made sure of that :p
Posted by adslmax over 3 years ago
I think UK will be stuck with FTTC until 2020. BT will not interesting bring FTTH/FTTP because they would lose 95% customers on line rental disappear!
Posted by cyberdoyle over 3 years ago
unknown101 lots of evidence in surrey if you care to look, cabs for 500 phone lines given 128 on the fibre cabs, and no room for expansion, no need because take up is very low, but come the time its needed there won't be the money, and by then bt will be totally into content and will throw their old phone network back at government and say 'you fix it'. Just watch. FTTdp isn't a goer either. another expensive stopgap patch.
Posted by chilting over 3 years ago
@otester
Not sure where you get your £500 from but the cost to me would be £3500.00, rising to £6,125.00 from the 1st May and that's just what Openreach call the distance charge. Mind you I haven't even got FTTC yet so its all just fantasy!
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
"ut come the time its needed there won't be the money, and by then bt will be totally into content and will throw their old phone network back at government and say 'you fix it'. Just watch. FTTdp isn't a goer either. another expensive stopgap patch. " - Anything to actually back that up or the usual hearsay.
Posted by Unknown101 over 3 years ago
@cyberdoyle think your incorrect when a cabinet starts to reach the maximum openreach install another DSLAM, that's what they've done in many cabinets in Cardiff where the Huawei dslam is maxed out. Some of which hold 118 some 256 and most huawei's can hold 288, yes they only have a 100 tie pairs but this can easily be upgraded to the maximum with another 200 pairs in less than half a days work.
Posted by jchamier over 3 years ago
Second cabinets do get fitted to FTTC areas when takeup is high:
http://beusergroup.co.uk/technotes/index.php?title=Diary_of_an_FTTC_Install#3rd_September_2012
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
More ill informed propaganda from cyberdoyle then /rolleyes
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
cyberdoyle has two things right...
After FTTC, there will be more investment required to get the next generation of tech deployed. That's inevitable, given that FTTC only gives us what we need now (and deployed faster) for one quarter of the cost of FTTP... and everyone gets faster speeds while waiting for FTTP to happen.
And FTTC isn't suitable for the longest lines. It is still suitable for around 90-95%, so offers good cost efficiency there. But not the final 5%
Posted by phoneticduck over 3 years ago
FTTdp represents the natural evolution of NGA, where spine cables have already been deployed, and the investors are seeing some return (healthy take-up unlike FTTH). Extending the reach of that is incremental investment, leveraging previous investment, with FTTdp or FTTH over time. This means we get the rapid coverage we are getting now, but it's sustainable, and not redundant. Vectoring will help those close to the cabs see further speed gains, and additional investment will solve the reach problem via FTTH/dp.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 3 years ago
Given BT face no real competition other than in the cabled areas they will not rush to roll out FTTH of FTTdp
Posted by Gadget over 3 years ago
Bob, before you think about investing in the next generation you have to cover the costs of deploying and running the current solution
Posted by Shempz over 3 years ago
FTTC/FTTH? lol...BT can't even be bothered to spend the money upgrading my exchange to ADSL2, because its not financially viable for their shareholders. Must be nice to be in a monopoly position, but one in which you are not a public company, and have no perceived morale/legal duty to provide improved services across your entire network.
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
What is the incentive to invest Shempz?

Viability to shareholders is due in a major part to how OFCOM regulates the market. If BT are forced to wholesale, then there is no monopoly as they cannot gain full ROI (which would likely make it viable).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Also the case that ADSL2+ from TalkTalk (and is wholesale) is available from more exchanges than the WBC product still.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Hmmm. Notice the takeup figures? They are about 10%, still rather lower than the corresponding FTTC takeup.

I wonder why?
Posted by Teasy1000 over 3 years ago
Wait, did the above article just describe FTTC as "just ahead of that speed where things just don't work"??....
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