It feels like we’ve been talking about Fibre broadband for a long time now, and I guess that’s because we have. It’s been 11 years since the first FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) circuits went live, but this in many ways was a false dawn.
At the time, FTTC broadband brought huge boosts in speed with 40Mbps and 80Mbps replacing 24Mbps ADSL broadband. It also brought a much more stable experience by removing a large part of the reliance on unreliable copper.
This was a big shift and a vast improvement, and the market quickly filled with ‘Fibre’ products. However, this is only partially true as FTTC only replaced part of the copper network, it took the recent rollout of FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) to give businesses a true full fibre optic experience.
The major difference between fibre and copper is that copper is much more susceptible to damage than fibre and can create interference, unreliable speeds and intermittent or total loss of service, leaving businesses high and dry when they need their internet connection most. The copper infrastructure’s main issue is that it was installed when Winston Churchill was still in office – now you can understand why it’s feeling a little shaky!
The drive to replace the copper network has meant huge investment in a full fibre FTTP rollout from OpenReach and an ever-growing range of independent network providers, who are busy digging up our roads to challenge BT Openreach’s monopoly of connectivity services.
But with all the digging going on, Ofcom reports that only 21% of the UK can get FTTP compared to 95% for FTTC. The 21% are very lucky. They can access speeds up to 1Gbps meaning businesses of all sizes that don’t have budget to sign up for a leased line, can take on the big boys with bandwidth.
While it may only be 21% now, the network providers have big plans to accelerate, with 98% FTTP coverage expected by 2030, so many more areas will soon be being ‘lit up’ at a pretty pacey rate. As capability becomes available, businesses will need to start making the critical decision about when to make the move to full Fibre and how. FTTP is installed alongside existing copper services so it will be easy to move over, but you do have some considerations to make:
FTTP brings to an end the analogue phone service, which means you’ll no longer be able to plug a traditional phone into your new line and will require an internet or VoIP phone system to allow you to make and receive calls.
As internet speeds ramp up, you’ll need to invest in suitable robust hardware, such as your router. Basic routers will struggle to deliver above 100Mbps throughput, so without an upgrade to manage an increased 1Gbps circuit, you’ll never see the incredible benefit of your shiny new connection.
While your business may not have coverage just yet, the national Fibre coverage is changing daily as more and more areas are switched on. It’s worth keeping a close eye to see when your area will receive FTTP coverage so you can take advantage.
Give us a call on 0800 160 1111 or leave your details below and we’ll check your coverage and help you plan the next move for your business connectivity and communication needs.