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 uk.news.yahoo.com. 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.