How will the full fibre rollout benefit the population?
Superfast broadband was supposed to be the solution to all of our home internet problems but many have realised that, as it relies on the decades-old copper network, it simply isn’t fit for a future online world. Technological changes mean that moving forward, we will all be connected to Full Fibre broadband instead.
Full fibre broadband or fibre to the premise (FTTP) is the fastest and most reliable development in broadband connectivity. Installing full fibre involves installing completely new fibre optic cables from the home or business all the way back to the national network, The Government aims for Gigabit-speed broadband, which is largely facilitated through full fibre solutions, to be available nationwide by 2030. But why is a shift to full fibre so important?
A future-proofed choice
To determine why full fibre is key, it's important to look at what it is replacing and why. The first broadband internet connections were made on the asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), which uses copper wires to connect homes and businesses. These are the same copper wires that make up the telephone network and carried electrical pulses along the copper cables to connect to the internet.
The next progression in broadband connectivity was the introduction of partial fibre connections or fibre to the cabinet (FTTC). FTTC replaces the copper wires between the broadband exchange and the street cabinet with fibre optic cables. Despite still using the old copper telephone wires to connect to each individual premises from the street cabinet, FTTC offered significantly greater speed.
However, there's a deadline looming. The copper wire infrastructure has been in place since the early 1900s, the lines are degrading, and repairs are never-ending. Consequently, the national analogue telephone network is due to be switched off completely on 31st December 2025, meaning any network that uses the copper wires to make or receive phone calls including ADSL and FTTC — will no longer operate. This is one of the key drivers of full fibre adoption – to support voice calls in a digital world.
A need for greater speed
FTTP is an entirely fibre optic solution with fibre optic cables carrying pulses of light along threads of glass every step of the way — from the national networks to the street cabinet to each individual home or business.
In terms of internet speeds, an FTTC connection peaks at up to 80 Megabits per second (Mbps) if you are near the telephone exchange, whereas FTTP as standard can support 1,000 Mbps or one gigabit per second (1Gbps) for every connection, regardless of geography. However, FTTP is future-proofed, and its potential speed doesn’t peak at 1Gb. Many FTTP providers have built their network to support 10Gbps without requiring any significant changes to infrastructure.
Growing internet needs
Since the introduction of broadband, times have changed. How we use the internet has changed, and usage has surged. According to Ofcom's Communications Market Report 2022, average monthly data volumes on fixed broadband connections increased by six per cent throughout 2021 to 453 gigabytes per connection.
According to the Office for National Statistics 38 per cent of the working population work from home at least one day a week. So, having a good quality internet connection available to homes, businesses and any other premises is absolutely crucial to ensuring we can do everything we want to do using the internet.
Internet connection needs to be able to handle gaming, video calls and connecting a plethora of smart devices all at once on the same line. While handling such multiconnection demands was challenging with ADSL or FTTC, FTTP’s improved credentials make it fully capable of meeting the demands of the UK population now, and in the future.
While street works are a short-term nuisance, they're an absolute essential to give the nation future-proofed connectivity. FTTP not only provides industry-changing speeds, but also the reliability and consistency required for our connected future.