Skip Navigation

DCMS publishes long awaited Digital Strategy
Wednesday 01 March 2017 09:25:46 by Andrew Ferguson

Digital underpins so much of modern life that the Digital Strategy document published on 1st March 2017 by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will over the next few years touch on many components of our daily lives, whether travelling, at work or resting at home.

The strategy was original due in 2016 but got delayed for various reasons and that delay means that certainly for the broadband infrastructure segment much of its contents are already well known, but still it is worth having them permanently etched into Government paperwork so that everyone knows what the aims are.

"Improved regulation of the consumer market will also play an important role in improving connectivity. We are working with regulators and industry to ensure that advertising for broadband more accurately reflects the actual speeds consumers can expect to receive, rather than a headline ‘up to’ speed available only to a few, and accurately describes the technology used, using terms like ‘fibre’ only when full fibre solutions are used. There should not be a gap between what is promised by providers and what is experienced by the consumer. The non-statutory Advertising Standards Authority has already made some progress in ensuring that broadband prices are made clearer and costs to consumers are not hidden, and we will continue to work with them to ensure that the advertising of communications is accurate and fair.

Extract from DCMS Digital Strategy

The above section has previously only being referenced by people like Ed Vaizey MP back in early 2016 when he led a call for better speed information in advertising, and forcing the hand of regulators be they Ofcom with statutory or the ASA/CAP with non-statutory powers over how words like 'fibre' is used is a great way to get people on board and supporting other work DCMS has in the pipeline. So the future of advertising looks like to contain less works like fibre, and to some extent TalkTalk are already there with their Fast (ADSL2+), Faster (VDSL2) product names, and there is one other provider that asked all those listing its services to tweak wording to remove the word fibre already (though their own site still carries the references). Our monthly speed test results are expanding again, as we will release today our first results from the tracking of the speeds of the actual product tiers from the major providers.

"£1.7 billion of public funding is already being invested in delivering broadband across the country. Over 90% of UK premises can now access superfast broadband, and we are on track to reach 95% of UK premises by December 2017. Through strong contractual value for money requirements, we have released additional funds to extend delivery, with 600,000 more premises expected to benefit by 2020."

Extract from DCMS Digital Strategy

The 95% target is now just 9 months away and with 2.6% which is around 740,000 premises still needed to be delivered to hit the target there is lots to do, and while it looks potentially on track a lot will hinge on how many new premises were built in 2016 and will be built in 2017 and whether developers do take up the options of pure fibre connectivity that now exist rather than defaulting to just a phone line. One would hope those new builds without decent broadband would not sell, but alas sales people are very convincing and promises are made that fall by the wayside.

The future of course is pure fibre or full fibre depending on your preference for wording and this means fibre to the premises. The pressures to roll-out better broadband so fast after a late start and value for money criteria mean that the UK has gone for its various hybrid solutions and nimby pressures are not helping some providers who are expanding their footprints.


Posted by Michael_Chare about 1 month ago
It would be nice to see BT stopped from using the term fibre to refer to their FTTC services. It is a great pity that the ASA have not addressed this issue already, despite the complaints they have received.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 month ago
ASA have addressed the issue. They just didn't give the answer you wanted.
Posted by JNeuhoff about 1 month ago
@WWWombat: No. It hasn't correctly addressed it, it made a wrong decision. It can't change the laws of physics for copper. How is a genuine fibre provider to call his fibre product as opposed to a VDSL provider?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 month ago
I didn't say they changed anything, nor whether it was right or wrong, but they have addressed the issue: the question was asked of the ASA, and they decided. More than once.

You might not like the answer they came up with. You might despise it. But they most certainly addressed the issue.
Posted by JNeuhoff about 1 month ago
@WWWombat: Decided:Yes. Addressed the question:No.

How is a genuine fibre provider to call his fibre product as opposed to a VDSL provider? VDSL is not fibre broadband, it's a form of DSL. Quite surprised that no one has appealed to a higher court. You couldn't market VDSL as fibre in places like France etc.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 month ago
"to address" = "to give attention to or deal with a matter or problem".

There's nothing in that definition that says the result of dealing with an issue must pass @Neuhoff's approval.

I make no judgement about whether ASA's decision is right or wrong. I make no claims about what any group can do with their marketing. I don't care what France gets up to.

The one thing that has indisputably happened is that the ASA has addressed the issue, and chosen to allow the status quo to continue.
Posted by JNeuhoff about 1 month ago
Longman Dictionary says "if you address a problem, you start trying to solve it." ASA has NOT solved the problem. You are basically tolerating a false claim. How is a genuine fibre provider to call his fibre product as opposed to a VDSL provider?
Posted by 10forcash about 1 month ago
Maybe 'fibre to the premises'?
I suspect you are being pedantic on behalf of those who you feel need your help. Or a weasely-faced accountant.
Posted by New_Londoner about 1 month ago
FTTC = fibre to the cabinet (or curb in US)
FTTP = fibre to the premises

Both can legitimately be shortened to fibre broadband, I don't understand why you think this is an issue? It doesn't help when you confuse matters by mixing up the medium (copper or fibre) with the transmission technology (e.g. VDSL).
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 month ago
Your fixation on this is a little alarming and entirely pointless Mr Neuhoff.

We are where we are. The winds of change are blowing but posting on here constantly banging the same drum isn't shifting them.
Posted by Michael_Chare about 1 month ago
@New_Londoner. By you argument I see no reason not to abbreviate FTTE (Fibre to the exchange) as Fibre, after all most of distance covered will likely be over fibre.

Posted by WWWombat about 1 month ago
You are working with *your* definition of "solve". Not everyone agrees with you.

Judges sit in courts addressing issues all day long. There is usually one winner and one loser once the issue has been successfully addressed.

The verb "to address" has to withstand the viewpoint of both winners and losers.

Posted by WWWombat about 1 month ago
Because you just invented the "fibre-to-the-exchange" term, whereas the other two terms have been in common use for years prior to VM starting, and BT following.
Posted by New_Londoner about 1 month ago
@Michael, Wombat
For starters, you'll find references to FTTC and FTTP in ITU documentation. Also, the fibre component does (positively) impact on performance, unlike "fibre to the exchange ", "fibre to the aerial " etc.

But primarily, both have defined meanings in the industry even if some poster on here can't or won't understand them. Just because you might want fibre broadband to only mean FTTP doesn't make you right, just as suggesting the use of VDSL instead of FTTC is nonsense too. Dumbing things down because some people don't understand them is rarely a good answer.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.