Broadband News

BT Openreach looking at fibre as copper prices increase

With Ebbsfleet being about the only location in the UK that looks set to benefit from Fibre to the Home (FTTH) for TV and broadband Internet, it is interesting to see Openreach talking about the use of fibre.

"The most significant change in the last 12 months has been the price of copper on the world market, ... It genuinely is now a cheaper option for new sites to build fibre networks from scratch" than copper-based lines."

Bob Cowie, chief engineer of BT's Openreach

The full quote can read at Cost savings in building a new local loop in an area with fibre will have to be balanced against meeting regulatory requirements in terms of providing equal access to wholesale providers outside the BT group. Hopefully, so long as Openreach can provide equality of access to a fibre network, competitors will not insist of copper loop access to new build sites.

Cautionary noises were made in the Yahoo article about investors worrying about the financial impact of the fibre roll-outs in France, and while there is no doubt fibre provides a much better technical solution, it is of no use if the company owning the network sees investors withdrawing money, stopping further roll-out, or worse forcing a company to fold. Virgin Media has a fibre/coax network in the UK, but there are no signs of new investment to increase the coverage of this network.


Good news at last. Lets hope copper prices continue to soar.

  • Dave2150
  • over 13 years ago

The complexity of the finances must be of a high order if fibre can cause such pain. Lets have more and more fibre; and not just into new-builds.

  • muymalestado
  • over 13 years ago

I find it amusing that BT are now considering the use of fibre-optic connections for the first mile*, not for the reason that they wish to start building a forward-looking, world-class communications network that will compete in the 21st century, and will allow the citizens of the UK to enjoy the benefits of true broadband internet, but for the rather prosaic reason that copper is now becoming too expensive? Perhaps understandable, but still rather sad.

*Not last-mile; I prefer the customer-centric view of the local loop.

  • amphion
  • over 13 years ago

But has anyone solved the power cut problem. No power no phone line with glass.

  • rjohnloader
  • over 13 years ago

Rjohnloader - who cares about powercuts? Who doesnt have a mobile phone these days?

Maybe people like you can request a copper line, and enjoy your wonderful adsl over it.

  • Dave2150
  • over 13 years ago

Dave2150- Ofcom require the Telco to provide 'lifeline' services to ensure 999 contact can be made. I'm not sure if this has been superceeded (it's an old Oftel document), but this says:

BC.6 All single line telephony ('POTS') and basic rate ISDN ('ISDN2') services must provide for line powering of customer premises equipment (CPE) and, where relevant, the Network Terminating Equipment (NTE) to ensure that access is maintained during any loss of mains power at the customer's premises.

  • john
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 13 years ago

In response to rjohnloader:

Yes! The metallic protective shielding on fibre cabling can be used to carry the typical 50V dc supply to the consumer end NTU!

As for your own equipment, well, you'll obviously need either a laptop with a good battery, or a computer with its own UPS! :-)

What's not quite so clear to me is how they plan to continue to provide the traditional telephone service, if they want to save the cost of copper in the loop to the consumer premises. Unless they plan to go fully VoIP, of course - which would be the obvious and desirable solution!


  • nige1h
  • over 13 years ago

FTTC would allow them to remove a lot of the existing copper potentially.

In the main the thrust seems to be that for new build sites fibre to the home is becoming more cost effective

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 13 years ago

All residents, companies and <a href="">hotels</a> at Ebbsfleet will have the fibre community of intranet VOIP and web services

  • Consultant
  • over 13 years ago

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