Broadband News

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/ 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.


I think the first line has a little grammar and spelling mistake - "convestions" should be conventions and even then needs a little editing.
However, if we start talking about "part fibre" then surely ADSL can be described as "part fibre". We would also need to start talking about which part of the service is part fibre. The whole industry are responsible for this but as you say in the article most people just don't care as long as it works and is cheap. CityFibre only care because it is a differentiator for them - most providers get advantage from calling things fibre even if they aren't.

  • ian72
  • about 1 year ago

Floxed my mistake and prize for quickly highlighting it belongs to ian72

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 year ago

In my head without challenging the thought too much it'd make sense to call it by whatever the cable type actually connected to the building is.

It doesn't matter if it is fibre to the exchange or fibre to the cabinet, or fibre to a pod closer than the cabinet, the last section of cable is going to be the decider on the type of service if it isn't actually fibre directly into the wall of the building.

The problem then becomes copper cable can be how many variations of speed up to ~300Mb? So calling it 'copper' means nothing to the lay person.

Maybe just get rid of cable types and goby speed

  • fusen
  • about 1 year ago

I just HAVE to challenge the concepts here!

FTTP already has, as you've previously pointed out, Andrew, an overlap with FTTC. Especially if the cabinet is just outside your front door, but your friend's FTTP ends 50m away at the other end of their housing block.

So why not float the idea of FTTD: 'fibre to the device', and quote a length of copper run if that's not happening? Surely that makes the point clerarer to the average non-tech buyer? Plus, of course a warning about the perils of wifi as an attenuator...

  • davidinnotts
  • about 1 year ago

@davidinnotts - don't get what you mean by the overlap - what has a different FTTP deployment got to do with someone who has FTTC - there isn't an overlap. What is different between FTTD and FTTP? What device? What if the device is the BT FTTP termination and the users router is in a different room at the other end of the copper? There is nothing particularly wrong with the FTTP designation except that most people don't realise there is a difference between FTTP and FTTC - adding FTTD would just further complicate it.

  • ian72
  • about 1 year ago

With the hybrid vs full, it make quite a difference to the analogy whether you refer to a full petrol or a full electric.

  • brianhe
  • about 1 year ago

@ ian72: I'm thinking of the punter who 'knows fibre is best' but doesn't really understand what that is. As I said, FTTC, where the cab is only metres from your modem, could be closer to 'full fibre' than FTTP where the internal copper run is 50 to 100 metres. So we need (and don't yet have) weasel-word free terminology that makes the reality clear for all situations - clear to the non-specialist.

Your example makes the point: people tend to think that what their own kit is like, has no bearing on speed. So we want an Ofcom wording for all communications that spells out reality.

  • davidinnotts
  • about 1 year ago

@davidinnotts, what are you smoking? "As I said, FTTC, where the cab is only metres from your modem, could be closer to 'full fibre' than FTTP where the internal copper run is 50 to 100 metres"

So you have FTTP coming into the house, the ONT is connected by 100 meters of copper Cat5e to your network switch/PC/whatever, you still have 1Gbps at the end of that network cable or whatever package you signed up to, and you still have fibre going to the ONT.

Full fibre is full fibre, how could FTTC be closer when it involves a twisted pair of telephone cable going to a modem????

  • R0NSKI
  • about 1 year ago

How on earth can FTTC "be closer to full fibre than FTTP" when a FTTC line can be severely affected by crosstalk/noise margins/DLM/neighbour farting etc ?

  • baby_frogmella
  • about 1 year ago

The issue is that even in CityFibre's FTTP products the end user devices are at best connected via copper cable. Nobody is selling a broadband product where the fibre optic cable goes to a PC. As such some copper is *ALWAYS* involved and CityFibre are pushing an arbitrary definition of FTTP that makes their product look better and would preclude say a block of flats or small office block with Cat6a to each flat and fibre to the basement as being advertised as fibre broadband despite being able to guarantee 10Gbps speeds if required.

  • jabuzzard
  • about 1 year ago

@jabuzzard I think we can say that once it's on the EU network it's irrelevant, if its fibre to the ONT then it's full fibre broadband, simple as that. The copper you refer to going to the pc can typically handle 1Gbps, if using CAT6 then it can handle 10Gbps, both with the correct network equipment.

I have Fibre to the house, then a short length of coax, runs fine at 381/21 and will easily cope with faster speeds. Now whether you can call that full is debatable, but is far more full fibre than FTTC or coax all the way.

  • R0NSKI
  • about 1 year ago

Thanks for all the comments from experts to us ordinary punters.

So I seem to have got the point: the quality of the copper (pair, cat5/6 or coax) from the last fibre, is the crucial bit. And so is the link to the device within your system. In general, you're saying, FTTP is always good because the cat5 is high quality. I was saying that FTTC where the cab was very close can also give good signal (I am c30m from the cab).

The problem, then, will be the usual 'last mile' issue, and each provider massaging the language to favour their own options.

The public find this as clear as mud...

  • davidinnotts
  • about 1 year ago

Post a comment

Login Register