No surprises as UK ranks last in European FTTH league table
To no one's great surprise, it was revealed this week that the UK isn't faring too well on the provision of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband when compared to the rest of Europe.
According to the FTTH Council Europe, a measly 0.05 per cent of British homes were connected to this pure fibre optic broadband infrastructure by June 2012, putting the UK behind any other EU nation in terms of subscriber penetration.
There's no doubt this is disappointing news, as FTTH is a truly future-proof broadband solution capable of delivering ultra-fast speeds to homes and businesses.
However, the number of UK internet service providers (ISPs) actually prepared to invest in rolling out fibre optic cables all the way to the property is pretty minimal.
In Hull and east Yorkshire, KC has committed to bringing FTTH to 15,000 premises by the end of the year, while further south, Hyperoptic is beavering away to deliver the technology to residential developments in London.
While these two ISPs should be praised for their commitment to FTTH, they're both pretty small players when compared to the likes of TalkTalk, Virgin Media and particularly BT.
Despite pledging to invest a whopping £2.5 billion in bringing fibre optic broadband within reach of two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2014, BT is spending just a fraction of this amount on FTTH. Instead, the company prefers to continue cashing in on its ageing copper infrastructure by concentrating on fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology.
There's no sign of BT changing its view on FTTH anytime soon. Although the company has been quick to talk up its so-called FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) on Demand solution, in reality this will prove too costly for most consumers to benefit from, with installation fees likely to be passed on to the customer.
And unfortunately it seems even the public sector isn't too taken with FTTH. Council chiefs in Portsmouth recently unveiled their plan to create a 'super-connected city', but rather than funding the rollout of universal FTTH, they're instead expecting to rely on FTTC to meet the future broadband needs of local residents and businesses.
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