Research by CityFibre supports their fibre should be full fibre claims
The conventions say the conclusion should be at the end of an article but to keep things short, given the confusion that already exists around so much of the broadband world rather than fighting long legal battles providers should be delivering the promised levels of coverage ahead of schedule, i.e. we need less fibre to the press release (fttpr) and more fibre to the premises.
CityFibre commissioned a survey of broadband customers via Censuswide asking some 3,400 people who had broadband about the confusion over when is fibre actually fibre to the premises.
Almost a quarter (24%) think they already have fibre cables running all the way to their home (fibre-to-the-premises), despite this only being available to 3% of UK properties. What’s more, close to half (45%) believe that services currently advertised as “fibre” deliver this type of connectivity as standard, highlighting how confusing the status quo has made broadband for consumers.
Once the difference between hybrid copper-fibre connections and full fibre was explained, two thirds thought the advertising rules should be changed so that hybrid services could no longer be called “fibre”.CityFibre Broadband Survey
The exact wording used in surveys like this can be very important, but we don't get to see the questions asked, but if it is true that 1 in 4 who have broadband think they have a bit of glass already into their home then it begs the questions, when did people think this was installed? A likely issue is that people have no idea how services like DOCSIS are delivered (i.e. coax cable) and as it looks different to a phone cable they are happy to believe it is fibre.
CityFibre is not holding back, as they call the ASA 'backward-looking' and is calling on BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Sky, Vodafone, EE and Post Office (the ones it considers major broadband providers) to change how they name their products in adverts now rather than wait for the review.
Ultimately the reality is that for the majority of the public they care not one bit how the service is delivered, they just want just fast enough, at a low price and to be reasonably reliable.
Compared to the DSL products (ADSL/ADSL2+/VDSL2/G.fast) fibre to the premises has an immunity to drop outs due to radio frequency noise i.e. the random drop outs and the connection speed (which is now missing from adverts) is a fixed speed. When comparing fibre to the premises with the DOCSIS services there is often little to choose between the two, the differentiator is more about how congestion is handled and on that side full fibre is not immune to slow downs at peak times. Full fibre will usually win on latency, but we are willing to suggest that the majority do not care so long as packet loss and stalls of DNS lookups are not happening. For the geeks reading, yes we know full fibre can be symmetric Gigabit but DOCSIS 3.1 can do Gigabit connection speeds and symmetry on full fibre generally only happens on point to point deployments and the residential services via CityFibre are expected to be GPON based i.e. same as Openreach.
Hybrid services is an interesting way of describing VDSL2 and DOCSIS, but the simpler phrases part fibre and full fibre which are already often thrown around sound better, especially as a hybrid car is often considered the better vehicle in terms of emissions than a full petrol or diesel car.
To end CityFibre say "Any delay to the full fibre rollout risks the UK’s ability to compete in a global digital economy" and we say stop wasting time on this review and get on with rolling out the million premises promised and let the actual service do the talking i.e. if full fibre does deliver an ultra reliable connection in terms of uptime and speeds then it should quickly become the default so long as the price is right.