Broadband News

£25 billion boost to productivity with nationwide full fibre

A nationwide full fibre roll-out may seem a distant dream but the last year has shown the need for it. In terms of home working and moving forward home working will be less about balancing a laptop on some books for a zoom call but more about flexibility and firms embracing that flexibility too.

A new report from Cebr along with previous reports shows just how much an effect on the economy a truly nationwide full fibre service can have.

Cebr’s previous research explained the economic windfall in store for the UK with a nationwide upgrade – including a £59 billion boost to productivity. And this updated report highlights how full fibre can help to level-up the UK, bringing up to one million people back into the workforce. With the challenges we face as a country, this an opportunity we can’t afford to ignore.

Openreach CEO Clive Selley

In short some of the effects are said to be:

  • FTTP could bring one million people into the work force through remote working, previous research suggested a figure of around 400,000
  • Two million more people working from home compared to the number who did in 2019
  • Reduction in traffic volumes from less commuter journeys, estimated saving of 700,000 tonnes of CO2 annually
  • May help some 500,000 move from urban to rural areas for living and boost rural economic growth
  • Improved work opportunities for carers, older people and parents looking to return to work.

Flexible working was on the rise prior to the pandemic but where lots of firms paid just lip service or ignored it totally the pandemic forced them to embrace the new way of working and appears to have led to a good number of firms realising that it can work. Home working has been possible with ADSL and partial fibre technologies but the rise of zoom calls along with other demands on household connectivity means that what worked ok back in 2006 will be feeling distinctly frustrating.

Ultimately the goal has to be universal full fibre coverage but no one has committed to that yet. The Governments Gigabit programme which is planning to spend £1.2 billion by 2025 out of what is in theory £5 billion of available funding will largely deliver full fibre but the goal is just 85% Gigabit coverage with the other money potentially pushing coverage further in the 2025 to 2030 time frame. We say largely as it is possible in some urban areas where property density is sufficient that 5G using higher than 3.4 GHz frequencies may be what delivers the Gigabit connectivity - and while this will tick the box for speeds and should have better latency than current 4G Lte it is not going to match the reliability and ease of upgrade that full fibre brings.


What speeds are typically needed for home working, and how many don't have them available?

  • Somerset
  • 17 days ago

That depends on the work being done. If you have your own PC then for most people very little bandwidth is needed. Enough for email, chat client and cloud storage access. One of our software developers is doing fine with only 3Mb/s ADSL.

Many years ago on occasion we'd do development on PCs in the US via a 2Mb/s connection shared by half a dozen people.

I think reliability is more of a concern than bandwidth for most.

  • AndrueC
  • 17 days ago

As long as your work can be done locally and you only have to synchronize a few fairly small files now and again or if remote access to a PC is sufficient then an ADSL connection is adequate as long as other members of the household aren't simultaneously trying to stream video.

A typical office worker probably only needs 10Mb/s of bandwidth to be productive.

  • AndrueC
  • 17 days ago

Depends on whether you are working for an employer and their end-user device strategy.

If using Citrix / Remote Desktop all the real activity happens from a centralised location, locally your device is just capturing and sending user input and showing what's on the remote "display". You don't generally download and upload files to work on locally in this setup.

This only needs a few Mbps for typical office-like functions.
In online meetings if you can leave own your camera off except if needed for presenting.

If your work involves media-rich content requirements will be somewhat higher.

  • prlzx
  • 16 days ago

Fairly low speeds are OK so long as latency and packet loss are low, gets more complex when in a house with multiple people and that is when having lots of spare bandwidth becomes an advantage.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 16 days ago

I've been home working for the past year with a 20Mbps/1Mbps FTTC connection, it is adequate for my work (if I avoided uploading any large files!) but the issue was when my partner (a teacher) was working/teaching from home - screen sharing just hogged the little upload bandwidth we had available and slowed down much of my work. Now she has gone back to work things are fine again now.

Fortunately we have FTTP on the way (via a CFP!) in the next 12 months and this will undoutably resolve any issues we have with our connection.

  • SlimJ
  • 16 days ago

"Home working" covers a rather wide range of activities. I've worked from home for years - starting with dial-up with Demon. These days video conferencing is impractical with ADSL - one-to-one may work, but larger Teams or Zoom meetings become very erratic.
For software development on your local PC there isn't a problem, but if you need to access remote servers or download large amounts then a fast connection is necessary. Some datasets I download would max out my ADSL2+ line for over a week - I now use 4G which is much faster, but I'm looking forward to FTTP! (hopefully within a year or two).

  • sheephouse
  • 16 days ago

I am happy that Bracknell has access to VM - I work from home and have been doing it for over 4 years and I went from 17MB/s with Sky (ugh) to 200 with VM and there is more available if I so choose to go for it - even with more devices in my house with my wife and daughter using stuff, there is enough to go around and I love it :)

10 meg is nowhere near enough for home workers - not if you are doing videos calls etc!

  • sidman1324
  • 15 days ago

I have to agree with the last statement partly, I have a few devices connected to my network, a peek of 70 Devices however normally around 30-50 mostly light bulbs and smart speakers, however a lot of these are access points and switches to accommodate all the devices.
I have 100Mbps down 10UP and it's not sufficient, it struggles constantly with 4K remote desktop on Citrix RDP. The upload can barely do anything, I am currently in the process of moving a small amount of account data I think it is 217GB and its been going for days, the worst part is I am forced to wait before the next lot.

  • rrtheitguy
  • 14 days ago


It is your upstream causing the issues. Each smart speaker/control device constantly takes an individually small but accumulated significant part of your US bandwidth. 10 such devices doing nothing may consume 0.5Mb, make a loud noise and this can increase by a factor of 5. Think of it as feedback and your 4k remote desktop is always making a number of the devices use upstream bandwidth to see if they should be doing something!
If one of the devices is a doorbell on a busy street it is constantly streaming video of whoever is passing (Car or pedestrian) and may consume 5Mb.

  • jumpmum
  • 12 days ago


The IOT concept is like bitcoin in that it has unforseen costs in bandwidth and server capacity spending lots of time / effort doing nothing. ( Rather than electricity costs datamining). Practice for the internet being down and turn off all your smart devices and the upload will go in hours rather than days. ( You will also find out what you need to do to protect from loss of internet within your SMart device setup!).

  • jumpmum
  • 12 days ago

The problem is would it be adequate if the rest of the family is also streaming netflix/ playing games etc

  • Vladdy
  • 6 days ago

The problem is would it be adequate if the rest of the family is also streaming netflix/ playing games etc

  • Vladdy
  • 6 days ago

honestly in london i think £30 should get you from 30 down 10 up to 50 down 20 up,
broadbands need to have minimums instead of *up to 100mbps 5% of the time"
1gbit is too much id much rather have 200mbps at all times even with heavy traffic

  • Vladdy
  • 6 days ago

Worth monitoring your router's WAN interface via SNMP if you can - this will give you an indication on how much bandwidth you're using both up & down - especially times when you aren't knowingly doing anything.

  • killsta
  • 6 days ago

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