back to article Fibre broadband uptake in UK lags behind OECD countries

Optical-fibre internet now makes up 32 per cent of fixed broadband subscriptions across the OECD countries, and is the fastest growing broadband technology. However, there is a mixed picture with cable still dominant in the Americas and the UK still predominantly DSL. These figures come from an update to the OECD's broadband …

  1. Abominator Bronze badge

    Can't get it, no roadmap, not expecting it for years in this country and I live in central London where a street over they are still on ADSL 1, god help them.

    World beating indeed.

    World beating costs perhaps.

    1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

      Where are you based? If you go on the Openreach website it will show you their current fttp build plan with dates.

      Thinkbroadband.com also has a map showing where all FTTP suppliers are active. In Central London you might be surprised.

      I'm over near Chiswick and there's virtually no FTTP in this area unless you are in a new build flat

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm about one exchange over from Chiswick and unless your Google-fu is better than mine, which I'd welcome, the BT fibre roadmap only shows exchanges *scheduled* for FTTP, rather than a date for every exchange. So if your area already has FTTC, and Virgin advertise their gigabit service (which ticks Boris's box for superhypermegafast broadband even if it barely works round here), you're lowest priority, yet to be scheduled for somewhere around 2030.

        And like you say, sites like Thinkbroadband and SamKnows may indicate CityFibre or Hyperoptic availability but only in substantial new builds.

        1. donk1

          Unbelievable, I am neear Bexleyheath and I have dual 1G FTTP (Virgin and BT)!.

        2. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

          You can get a rough estimate on whether BT is planning an FTTP rollout on the BT FTTP website. Generally you can see on a map roughly what state the rollout is in.

          Short version, no plans known for Brentford and Chiswick up to 2025 I can see. Richmond, Twickenham and Southall either already done or work in progress.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "53 per cent in Belgium"

    That figure is significant because, around 20 years ago, cable was 99% in Belgium if I'm not mistaken.

    So that's almost a 50% decline in two decades.

  3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    What is 'Fibre'?

    What exactly is included in the term "Fibre Broadband" here, just pure FTTP, or also FTTC? I know many people who have decent speeds (20-80+ Mbit/s) via DSL or FTTC, and see no reason to move to FTTP to get higher speeds which they don't need. That would certainly affect the figures for "uptake", even when the actual availability is much higher.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: What is 'Fibre'?

      FTTC is a just nice name for VDSL - often used by marketing to sell you a "fibre connection" when you still get a copper cable at copper speeds - with all the relevant issues (crosstalk, interference, distance attenuation, etc.).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What is 'Fibre'?

        Until the advent of FTTC, I could never get 76Mbits down. i.e.when it was analogue all the way to the exchange. Now the analogue bit is around 200m. Far less of the old evils you describe.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: What is 'Fibre'?

          The problem is exactly you just get 76Mb down (and far less up) when the technology in ideal condition could deliver far more. And many people get even less as soon as they are farer from the ONT (over 400-500m) or when crosstalk and interference take a great tall. Some people can't even get VDSL because they are too far and are stuck into ADSL.

          GPON-FTTH delivers the same speed at 20km and it's free from interference.

          I get too around 76Mb - it was about 90 when the ONT was installed, and I'm just a little over 100m, but a dead branch causes a big attenuation in some frequencies (reducing especially the upload speed), and then as soon as more lines were activated the overall speed started to drop. When it rains, the speed decreases even further.

          And that's because the evils of old copper lines designed for analog telephony and laid sixty years ago or earlier. Better than a 56k modem? Of course. Just, FTTH delivers a more reliable lines, with an upload speed that make some task, like off-site backups, far more appealing.

          I don't really care how much the fiber get closer - until it doesn't' plug into the other side of my LAN - it's still a workaround.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: What is 'Fibre'?

            The problem as I see it is that people can’t get less. I have the option of gigabit, but paying more for it would give me precisely nothing useful over the 110 mb/s I have now. I have 110 because it’s the entry level, I don’t need it. They won’t offer me a better deal, which would be 40 mb/s for half the price. I have to take all this unused pointless capacity.

            I work from home with multiple remote desktops, while other people in the house stream video, gets nowhere near 40 mb/s.

            Like having a 60cm diameter pipe to supply water to my home. Absolutely no need. So all this bragging or worrying about broadband speeds is idiotic, go and worry about something important.

            1. Jack435

              Re: What is 'Fibre'?

              You are wrong I'm afraid. The default speed of modern broadband technology is gigabit. On both sides their is a port and that port can do gigabit. I think you would even have a hard time trying to buy lower speed tech today if you are building a fibre network. Community initiatiaded fibre projects, that try to keep the technology simple and affordable, often just get everybody gigabit, for the same price, as a high port speed does not create higher costs.

              Commercial fibre networks have special devices to artificially limit speed per user, and the only reason for this is that by differentiating their offering commercial provivers can make more money of their customers. Technically there is no need for this limiting.

              If your home somehow has a 60cm pipe, that may be more than you need, but why then artificially limit the pipe capacity? Nobody is forcing you to use more data/water, and the usage is what actually matters. The usage generates the cost (financial and environmental), not the capacity.

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: What is 'Fibre'?

                The orginal comment wasn't wrong, just a customer of commercial businesses that see they can make money by dicing up a 60cm pipe for a premium. Once we get to a point where its say: 1Gbps up and 1Gbps down, unlimited data, for say £20 pcm and so dicing it up starts to cost more than is worth to the supplier, only then will we see them offering the 60cm pipe as standard.

              2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
                Holmes

                Re: What is 'Fibre'?

                > "a 60cm pipe, that may be more than you need, but why then artificially limit the pipe capacity? Nobody is forcing you to use more data/water"

                Because the fallout from a leak is much worse. Gallons of water flowing into your home, far more than the waste pipes could take.

                The same can be said for data connections. When a lowly user has their computer compromised and starts spewing spam or proxying hacking attempts, I'd much prefer that computer to be throttled like a 56k modem than saturating full gigabit fibre.

              3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                Re: What is 'Fibre'?

                Aren't contention issues a good reason for limiting?

                I have gigabit FTTP but I only pay A&A for 80Mbps, which is quite enough for three of us to do Teams meetings at the same time. Sure, I could pay eight times more for the full gigabit, but that would just be willy waving at the moment.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: What is 'Fibre'?

              "I have to take all this unused pointless capacity."

              Bastards!

              If you ask nice, I'm sure BT (or one of the other national disgraces) will be happy to sell you dial-up with an acoustic coupler. They might even throw in a Sinclair ZZ for free.

            3. LDS Silver badge

              Re: What is 'Fibre'?

              Here VDSL often costs more than GPON. VDSL costs more to deliver because you need to install a powered ONT in each cabinet - and it consumes a lot of power. If you enable vectoring to deliver better speeds offsetting crosstalk, it consumes even more power. GPON is a passive technology that is far better than VDSL - far larger coverage with less power. There's of course the initial cost of laying down the fibre cables.

              The fact it delivers 1Gb/s or more is after all irrelevant, because being a point to multi point technology means that under heavy load the maximum speed that can be achieved depends on the splitting factor.

              Still, most of the time the speed is there, and even if not always strongly required, it's there when needed - especially the upload speed, if you need to move a large amount of data upstream the difference between 20Mb/s in the better case compared to 100-300Mb/s (or more) easily achievable is clear. Especially since it is far more reliable and doesn't change over time.

              Anyway a 4K streaming alone can require a minimum of 25Mb/s. Add latency-sensitive traffic like VoIP or the like and you see that 100Mb/s could become quickly not enough. With sophisticated QoS maybe you can stay within - if one knows how to set it up and has the required hardware.

              If you're a plain internet "consumer" maybe 100/20 Mb/s is all you need. - when you start to produce more, they start to become a constraint. As long as you get 100, because most people get less than the nominal speed of each VDSL profile because you can achieve it in ideal conditions only.

              Since here you can find 1000/300 speeds at about 20 euros per month, I can't see why people would like to fight with copper issues instead of getting a newer fibre connection. Anyway I would have no problem paying mote than that - if I have to save I can really avoid 1000€ phones that really deliver nothing useful but status symbol state, and get a faster internet connection to ease daily activities.

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: What is 'Fibre'?

                > VDSL costs more to deliver because you need to install a powered ONT in each cabinet - and it consumes a lot of power. If you enable vectoring to deliver better speeds offsetting crosstalk, it consumes even more power. GPON is a passive technology that is far better than VDSL - far larger coverage with less power.

                Perhaps there might be some silver lining to the current massive price increases in UK gas and electricity...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What is 'Fibre'?

            The problem is exactly you just get 76Mb down (and far less up) when the technology in ideal condition could deliver far more.

            And why is that a problem if you only need 20? My Mum-in-law has an 18Mbit/s ADSL connection, and has just declined BTs offer to mover her to FTTP at a much higher price, because 18Mbit/s is all she needs to do email, online shopping, and occasionally stream BBC iPlayer to a 20" TV. Current takeup of FTTP in the UK is less than 10% of "homes passed" (potential customers) which suggests that it's still a technology looking for customers.

            I don't really care how much the fiber get closer - until it doesn't' plug into the other side of my LAN - it's still a workaround.

            A workaround to what? I have fibre terminated in an ONT under the stairs, but the rest of the home network is still copper. Sure, I could pull a fibre from there to my home office, but even if I had a fibre port on the PC it would still be copper on the motherboard. None of that matters, as long as I get the speed I need (and I pay for 150Mbit/s because I have no need for the 900+ that I could pay extra for) the physical medium is in most cases totally irrelevant. The only place I know where people have a justified reason to care is in the share trading systems, where one company built a microwave link down the US East Coast to Wall Street so that they could get share prices from the transatlantic cables a few mS faster than their competitors who relied on a wholly-fibre link. It's hardly a commonplace situation, though.

            1. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: What is 'Fibre'?

              I've got EE 4G BB and that seems to give me around 70Mps in the evenings and nearly twice as much during the day if I can find a server to feed me it. We have a couple of holiday cottages and I often see Xbox... or other gaming machines connected when I look to see what is slowing things down noticeably. I can only assume they swamp the upstream side of the connection somehow as the cottages are on 10mbps power line feeds!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: What is 'Fibre'?

              so that they could get share prices from the transatlantic cables a few mS faster than their competitors

              You seem to be confusing latency with bandwidth.

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: What is 'Fibre'?

          I was delighted to hear we were getting FTTC here. Then my cabinet 'moved' from about a mile from here back to the exchange 6 miles away. There is actually some fibre that goes past what used to be my old cabinet to a box with a TV aerial on it pointing down the hill somewhere but there is no company identification on it - though Openretch installed the cable.

          I now have EE 4G BB which seems sufficient for our needs - except when people turn up with gaming boxes but I doubt fibre would solve that particular problem!

          Technically I'm FTTC enabled even though I was getting 1,2Mb/s before I ditched BT for digital. We get 20 or 30 power cuts a year round here so we still need a land line in case of emergencies.

  4. LDS Silver badge

    Strange data...

    Italy has 62% of fixed broadband connections set as "Others". While there are some FWA connections they aren't 62% of all broadband connections. Most fixed broadband connection are xDSL.

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Doh!

    The contractors came down my street last September and did the work of laying in fibre to the poles. Oh good, I thought, FTTH soon.

    Since then... tumbleweed. Nada, nothing zilch despite me registering with BT that I'm interested.

    All this week, Openretch vans have been in the area doing god knows what with the kerbside green cabinets.

    maybe... just maybe this is a sign that the service will be activated this side of Christmas 2025.

    1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

      Re: Doh!

      Openreach are doing two things I believe. I understand that the cabinets may become unnecessary eventually when everything is FTTP.

      But also Openreach are now largely getting FTTP distribution pod things installed on a street. When a customer then orders FTTP an engineer will be sent to connect the last 10s of metres.

      Openreach have a great FTTP rollout map @ https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/where-when-building-ultrafast-full-fibre-broadband

      While thinkbroadband have an awesome map showing basically every internet connection possible by every supplier and technology https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/index.php?tab=2&election=1#6/51.414/-0.641/

      1. just another employee

        Re: Doh!

        If all BT can offer you is a Direct Exchange Line - there are no plans to upgrade. Ever.

        The most we can get is 0.4MB. for £29.99 a month. And only from BT. BT still try and push sky package as well. So we cancelled.

        Now use a 4G router in the loft. Not great. But better than any plans BT have.

        Then Cambridge 'County Broadband Ltd' took our pre-order for FTTP - it also helped them justify claiming the grant available.

        Grant in hand they then pulled out of actually installing anything. Because "it would cost them". No sh*t sherlock.

        So.. Back to our intermittent 4G it is - wait - seems its raining so only 3G today.

        1. Neil 44

          Re: Doh!

          We have an "XO" phone line, so no fibre to the cabinet as the exchange is about a mile away - but we have just had FTTP installed by OpenReach : so much better than 6Mbs/0.5Mbs!

          Only problem has been keeping our 25-year old phone number (Vodafone sales got it wrong and suggested getting a new number then porting the old to the line when its all working - which technically they can't manage to do) - but changing numbers will drop all the spam calls about our solar panels, insulation, domestic appliance insurance etc (not to mention unexpected internet activity being flagged up!)

          I started the project for the 42 premises involved in October 2020. We had the relevant number signed up by the end of Jan 2021 with vouchers issued. OpenReach came and strung the fibre between the poles and dug up the drives of the 3 houses that were fed underground by direct buried cables (including mine!) and a section of the verge to connect up a couple of poles that were again fed by direct-buried feeder... Just after Christmas they were pretty much finished (give or take one rotten pole that still hasn't been replaced - so the people off that pole still can't order!) and we could order. Order placed and installed and working on 20Jan2022.

          Not sure how the grant situation will play out as I'm pretty sure there were 2x voucher holders served by the "still not working" pole. It does have the fibre distribution hubs tied to the bottom of it, so at least when they replace the pole, it'll all be installed and good to go

    2. donk1

      Re: Doh!

      I had simliar - the poles were done.

      Apparantly there was a several months wait for them to get somone to check the poles.

      I think it was 3-6 months then I got my 1GB FTTP from BT.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Doh!

        Two days after fibre got to the pole in my garden I was able to order FTTP from A&A. Took about a month for a conversion appointment, though.

  6. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    Not much of a surprise. I've always said that one of the UK's 'problems' was that we had an excellent copper-based telephony network. That was why it took so long for an FTTP roll-out to start - the business case was just weak. Most people aren't even taking the fastest tier available to them now, let alone offering them even high speeds. The truth is that for most people FTTP just doesn't offer anything that they need right now.

    There are of course a few people who are ill-served by the copper network but unfortunately they are the people who are hardest to serve and the cost of reaching them with fibre ruins what would otherwise be an excellent business case.

    With the increases in living costs that are coming down the line I think FTTP is going to continue to struggle to gain traction. I think in a few years we'll start to see CPs actively pushing customers across the same way VM periodically have to remove their lower tier products and give everyone on them a free uplift.

    Lest anyone think otherwise I'm very much in favour of FTTP but I'm also a realist who has been following the UK internet scene since the days of 56k modems. Most people just want to browse the web, get a few emails and watch NetFlix. A family of four can do that adequately well on 40Mb/s, especially if they reserve the bulk of the bandwidth for the lounge telly. A decent VDSL connection of 60Mb/s is ample for most properties.

    Game downloads can be an issue but..meh. Teach the kids the value of patience or of planning ahead by kicking the download off before dinner so that it's ready for the evening's fun :)

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      >Not much of a surprise. I've always said that one of the UK's 'problems' was that we had an excellent copper-based telephony network.

      This study would seem to indicate this isn't a UK specific thing. In general, the early adopters will be the laggards for subsequent enhancements. As evidence look at the takeup of 3G. Because we had GSM we had to upgrade, countries that largely missed the GSM boat and didn't have a particularly well developed fixed line network simply went straight to 3G...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "In general, the early adopters will be the laggards for subsequent enhancements."

        Yep. Been saying that almost since the US first got touch-tone phones while we in the UK still had dials. There's been an almost leap-frogging effect for many years. Same happened when the US started with cable broadband. Cable was pretty much ubiquitous over there while here it took far longer to catch-up, but when we did, we used the latest tech while they were still sweating the "early adopter" assets. Also, of course, why we see some countries going from almost no hard-wired comms networks to full on, high availability, high speed fibre, massively "beating" many so-called advanced countries. After all, why would they even bother to install an outdated copper network?

    2. rg287

      There are of course a few people who are ill-served by the copper network but unfortunately they are the people who are hardest to serve and the cost of reaching them with fibre ruins what would otherwise be an excellent business case.

      It’d be interesting to know just how true that is, and what the typical cost differential is between urban/rural. Most rural properties get their phone line over a couple of miles of pole - as opposed to those in town where it’s buried in the street and either runs direct to each house (per Virgin) or pops up a pole and is fanned out overhead (common for BT).

      The major expense in FTTP rollout is digging up the road and installing it to the demarc for each premises. If that’s 99% hard digging then the metres-per-day for a crew will be quite low. Plus all your overheads for arranging road closures, permits, etc.

      By contrast, a crew can easily string kilometres of overhead fibre in a day if the poles are in place. The longer distances needn’t be in issue in-and-of themselves. It’s long distance but relatively easy work (in terms of man-hours-per-metre). The cost of the actual fibre of course is basically negligible compared with the daily wages of an install team and associated costs (van, digging/trenching gear, splice kit, etc).

      I assume the difficulty comes up in sheer density. A rural cabinet may only end up half-populated. The per-property cost might not be as much higher as you’d think, but they’re simply not going to end up installing to as many properties, so it’s not worth it.

      1. just another employee

        "It’d be interesting to know just how true that is"

        Totally true.

        "By contrast, a crew can easily string kilometres of overhead fibre in a day if the poles are in place. "

        Totally true.

        But they don't. Because BT declare the poles unusable. So fibre provider must plant new poles. And once they do - it has maxed out the budget so they do not follow through with the fibre.

        I know - we have a new pole along a BT pole at the end of our drive. BT won't use it and the fibre provider won't use it. Great.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      I have not idea how much openreach spends on installing fibre, I do know that BT had 2.4Gbps potential hardware in 1990 that could have drive 10km of fibre both ways at an error rate of 1 in 10**14. The cost of the fibre being pulled at Martlesham was around £10 for 10km according to the guy who pulled it and the chips would have been around $5 for each end and that was the price I would have had to pay to get the first masks and development slices made - in mass production it would have been down to pennies. OK there would have needed to be some protocol stuff added but at the time the internet had a global bandwidth of less than one of my chips and the initial idea was to fire 2Gbos of TV down the line and then maybe a bit of data!!

      At the time I think the annual cost of copper line maintenance was more than the potential replacement with FO. If Thatcher hadnt fucked all of that over Openreach would have very little to do today!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Openreach would have very little to do

        You wildly underestimate the black hole that is BT/Openretch middle management.

        IIRC Thatcher rejected BT's proposal for a national fibre roll-out because they wanted a 10?25? year monopoly on who got to provide services on that fibre. The only good thing to have come out of that would have been the total absence of Beardie net.

    4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Most people aren't even taking the fastest tier available to them now, let alone offering them even high speeds.

      I have domestic broadband connections at two premises, both with Andrews and Arnold. The rural place has FTTP because its too far from the cabinet to meet Scottish Government requirements and the village is too small to be worth another cabinet. So OpenReach gritted their teeth and fibre it is. I pay for 80Mbps and typically get 60 Mbps at my desktop, which is connected over powerline.

      The urban place has FTTC, data-only line, costs the same, more-or-less and gives me 76Mbps rock solid at the desktop, using the same powerline system

      Both systems work absolutely fine for everything I need to do. In the average month I download about 175GB (0.5Mbps average) of which 70Gb during peak hours (0.78Mbps average).

    5. I am the liquor

      While the kids are waiting for their game download, you could distract them by holding a torch under your chin and regaling them with spine-chilling stories about the terrors of R Tape loading error.

  7. GiantKiwi

    Nevermind Fibre, could I have copper please

    We had an OpenReach engineer inspecting overhead lines on our street after one got damaged, low and behold we're plagued with VDSL over aluminium, not even copper wire. Immediate explanation for why we pay for 76 and get sub 30.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Nevermind Fibre, could I have copper please

      Whoever thought Aluminium was a cost saving idea really needs a special place in hell!

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Nevermind Fibre, could I have copper please

        It was a cost saving measure during the 1970s, when there was a huge surge in copper prices. That's why my house had aluminium phone wires until ~20 years ago and why it has stainless steel central heating pipes.

      2. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

        Re: Nevermind Fibre, could I have copper please

        Whoever thought Aluminium was a cost saving idea really needs a special place in hell!

        At a time when Aluminium costs less than copper (when it was put in, I'm not talking about todays prices which I haven't checked), what is wrong with Aluminium for POTS?

        You've got to remember that when most Aluminium was put in it was only for regular voice traffic. I'd imagine at that time a 14.4K modem would have been considered fast and a 28K only a dream.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Nevermind Fibre, could I have copper please

          As I recall, when most aluminium phone lines went in the requirement for phone calls was 2 kHz bandwidth. No problem for a 1200/75 modem when they came along ...

        2. SImon Hobson

          Re: Nevermind Fibre, could I have copper please

          what is wrong with Aluminium for POTS?

          Actually, if the wire is sized accordingly, nothing.

          But, aluminium is renowned for its ability to turn into non-conductive white powder - ask any Land Rover owner ! So after a few years, what should be a bit of copper terminated into a joint ends up being a bit of aluminium not quite reaching the joint and some non-conductive white powder in the gap.

          At a previous job we had a site on the Isle of Wight - unfortunately fed by copper for part of the run. It was a regular occurrence reporting non-functional lines (we had 9 in all by the time we counted the voice lines, fax line, Kilostream line, and ISN-2 for backup to the Kilostream). Eventually they gave in (I suspect they ran out of ability to shorten and re-terminate the wires) and replaced the trunk cable with copper.

          So a cost saving at one point ended up as a massive cost sink a few years down the line - both from replacing the cable, and the massively increased number of faults occurring until they did replace it.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Nevermind Fibre, could I have copper please

          "what is wrong with Aluminium for POTS?"

          It fractures if you look at it sideways

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Laughable really

    Especially when you find out the Queen at Sandringham has only just (or is about to finally) be connected to the WWW via Fibre.

    Contractors were seen having fun last week running fibre through ducting up the side of the A148 to Hillington, West Norfolk from The QE2 Hospital a few miles away.

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    OECD?

    Oxford English Common Dictionary??

  10. frankyunderwood123

    FTTC is plenty fast enough for many...

    ... at least for now, that is changing quite rapidly though.

    It all depends on, I guess, your distance from the cabinet and the quality of the copper wiring infrastructure, plus, I would imagine, the volume of connections in an area!

    Anecdotally, having had 200mbs FTTP in my previous house, it was overkill, even for my usage.

    Sure, it was great having super speedy downloads, at the same time as streaming TV, but, hell, 100mbs wouldn't have made much difference.

    I'm now on FTTC and average 50mbs, which is workable - only two people in our house, me and the wife.

    It's only a problem when there's streaming TV and downloads happening - which tends to cause lags with Zoom.

    They dug up the main road outside over a year ago to install fibre, but still not date as to when I can get FTTP - it was supposed to be October last year, but is now set for March this year, I don't hold out much hope.

    But heck, for all of my neighbours, when I told them about FTTP coming to our road, they were pretty much "meh" - what's that?

    They are all extremely light users ... for now.

    Once pretty much all TV is internet based, they will soon notice that FTTC isn't quite fast enough.

    In other words, the UK better get a wiggle on rolling FTTP out - specifically to areas that don't even have FTTC yet!

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: FTTC is plenty fast enough for many...

      Your lags with zoom when people are streaming is more likely down to the terminal equipment than the actual 50mb/s feed. The broadband companies often use cheapo modems that get a bit overloaded.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: FTTC is plenty fast enough for many...

        I suppose there may be something adaptive going on but as I've mentioned previously we did lockdown with three homeschoolers (two Google, one Teams) and a remote-desktopping occasional homeworker on the end of ADSL syncing at around 8Mbps / 1Mbps. After school, two iPlayer streams works too, though I /know/ something adaptive is happening there.

        If there are glitches, it's not the abolute speed I look to first.

        But if I can get FTTC or FTTP at a price not too dissimilar to my ADSL I will be happy for the downloads - updating Tumbleweed gets tedious sometimes.

        M.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FTTP

    I get 69Mbps down 13 up. I work from home a lot and during lockdown I had huge problems with bandwidth and lags. I ended up moving a server from the office into my home office as the remote connection was way too laggy.

    I'd be quite happy to pay for FTTP but only upto a limit.

    I had an initial quote of 20k for a line with no way to recover the cost from all those openreach will connect on the way to my house...

    I'd have been tempted with a 5k cost.

    I keep looking at starlink and oneweb. However the pings need to come down quite a bit.

    I don't think any living where I live will see FTTP before 2035...

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: FTTP

      I get 69Mbps down 13 up. I work from home a lot and during lockdown I had huge problems with bandwidth and lags.

      What kind of work are you doing? 69/13 is way more than you need for a remote desktop connection. Heck in my previous job we had an entire office with three software developers working as part of a trans-Atlantic development team and managed just fine with 3Mb/s.

      The only time 69/13 might impede a home-worker is if they are frequently uploading huge data files.

    2. xyz

      Re: FTTP

      >>I keep looking at starlink and oneweb. However the pings need to come down quite a bit.

      Out here in Catalunya we've got fibre to every village which is great. My bolt hole in the forest (6kms out of town) though has nothing so I run skyDSL (40 down/ 5 up) but, but, but my Starlink dish comes next week!!! Hope my solar power set up can handle the load. Hello 21st century!!!

      Oh, remember OneWeb sats are launched from Russia, so that might bugger things up a bit.

  12. damiandixon

    HS2 or FTTP?

    I keep thinking that if the government used the HS2 money on fibre to every house the return to the economy would be significantly higher then the return from continuing with HS2.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Go

      Re: HS2 or FTTP?

      Maybe. But probably not if you include the benefits of the construction work. Right now there are thousands of people (maybe tens of thousands) in gainful, well paid, employment because of HS2.

      I'm not a fan of HS2 because of the environmental impact but I have to acknowledge that the benefits to the economy go beyond 'getting from A to B more quickly'. Just being able to build it and having all that entails is a benefit to the economy.

      1. rg287

        Re: HS2 or FTTP?

        Worth noting that the environmental “impact” is not actually well studied.

        The entire point of HS2 is to remove non-stop express services from the mainlines, freeing up space for regional and local stopping services (which can’t currently run because they’d get one of the afore-mentioned express services up their chuff). Near me there are a number of stations on the WCML which closed in 2004 when the Modernisation meant the new spangly 120mph Pendolinos took priority and forced out all the local services. There are also stations which now receive just one train every 60-90minutes.

        Reopening those stations (and running more frequent services to the ones which are notionally “open” but barely served) is the entire point of HS2 (along with reducing/obsoleting domestic aviation).

        Bizarrely however, all the business and environmental modelling has solely concerned the (intercity) services HS2 will directly replace. They have made no attempt whatsoever to model the economics of car->local rail modal shift (which would be massively environmentally beneficial, as well as socially beneficial- more public transport is a good thing), nor of all the additional trains being run on the main lines (HS2 will enable capacity increases of 250-300%).

        Long story short, beware the modelling. Webtag is garbage, the Green Book is flawed. Any impact from HS2 is far smaller than any of RIS2, RIS3 or LTC - all of which are individually more damaging than HS2 but on which HS2’s detractors are universally remarkably quiet.

        There’s also a legitimate question about whether saying “the business case is marginal” is a valid statement when made in reference to national strategic infrastructure projects which are supposed to the backbone for a broad range of feeder services (bus, local rail, aviation) and has more second/third-order dependents than can be sensibly modelled.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: HS2 or FTTP?

          >Worth noting that the environmental “impact” is not actually well studied.

          Maybe, however, in the first release of the HS2 route it was clearly stated that the proposed route failed to satisfy any of the government's mandatory environmental requirements.

          >There’s also a legitimate question about whether saying “the business case is marginal” is a valid statement when made in reference to national strategic infrastructure projects

          Trouble is HS2 was a vanity project (remember as originally conceived it didn't actually go into London or Birmingham, yet would cut journey times between the two...) relabelled as a NSIP to make up for the lack of economic and business cases. I suggest the economic and business cases are even more important if only to make it crystal clear what the expectations are. By having done this with a client, I was able to push back against their sudden attack of penny-pinching to remind them that fundamental to their board-approved strategic business plan was massively improved communications infrastructure which naturally came at a much higher cost (x5 increase in opex); cut back on the infrastructure and their plan becomes undeliverable...

          1. rg287

            Re: HS2 or FTTP?

            (remember as originally conceived it didn't actually go into London or Birmingham, yet would cut journey times between the two...)

            You might have to be more specific. Every document back to the DfT's January 2009 paper and the March 2010 High Speed Rail Strategy has assumed London-Birmingham proper. Perhaps a few people spitballing at party conferences conceived of some weird high-speed bit in the middle, but no serious design work ever proposed such a project.

            I suggest the economic and business cases are even more important if only to make it crystal clear what the expectations are.

            Well that certainly is a problem. Repeated failures by HS2 Ltd and the DfT to properly model the business case makes the project look weak or marginal. As I say, WebTag is garbage. Politicos and journos like to bang on about "Faster journey times" and "it only saves 5 minutes to Birmingham". Some have even labelled it a "vanity project" (for whom? Gordon Brown? Adonis? Cameron? May?).

            The truth is that Capacity has always been the underlying raison d'etre for HS2. Higher speeds (and sensible loading gauges) are just a byproduct of building a new intercity line in the 2020s rather than the 1820s. If there were any sense in the world, the PM of the day would inaugurate HS2 by taking a new local rail service between two reopened stations. But they won't. They'll pop champagne at 200mph on a train to Brum.

            From March 2010:

            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            The most significant capacity benefits of this network would be felt on the three principal rail corridors heading north from London, and particularly the critical London-West Midlands corridor, whose rail capacity would be more than trebled. This would address the substantial demand growth expected on these key strategic routes, which serve extensive long distance, commuter and freight markets, as well as providing the foundation for journeys to a wide range of destinations further north, on both sides of the Pennines.

            The very high capacity of the new line would be achieved both through its dedicated use for high speed operations, allowing an intensive service pattern, and through the use of longer (and larger) trains of up to 400 metres (compared to the current 207-metre Pendolinos currently in service on the West Coast Main Line).

            By transferring long distance services to the high speed line, significant amounts of capacity would also be released on the existing West Coast Main Line for commuter and freight trains, including services to key areas of housing growth around Milton Keynes and Northampton.

            A Y-shaped core high speed rail network yields similar increases in capacity on the East Coast and Midland Main Lines. Long-distance services to the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and Leeds would switch to the new network, as well as the southern portion of journeys to Newcastle and Edinburgh. All these lines are expected to experience significant capacity constraints over the next 20 to 30 years.

            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            As far as costs and OpEx go. HS2 will of course be one of the cheapest and most reliable sections of line in the UK. Modern tunnels that do not require periodic manual repointing of Victorian brickwork. Slab track that demands far lower annual maintenance than ballasted sleepers. Segregation from disparate services, reducing the knock-on of other trains arriving late to a platform.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: HS2 or FTTP?

          One of the "not well studied" parts is that no consideratioon has been given to how it will affect airline traffic.

          The USA East Coast experience is important: When Amtrak started running 120mph trains between Boston and Washington DC, most of the airlines running commuter flights between the cities involved ended up cutting schedules back by about 80%

          The benefit of HS2 isn't just for passenger trains on the east/west main lines. Freight traffic on those lines is being choked too. Getting more freight on rails means less on motorways

          The WAY that HS2 is being rolled out is Bass-ackwards. Starting at London and heading north is silly, when simultaneous buildouts from B'ham and Manchester would result in a useable northern section generating revenue in 5 years or less

          As for the "ancient woodland" being chopped down - it's almost entirely 16th century plantation forest - originally planted to provide planking and masts for the Royal Navy. The real objections are NIMBYisms

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: HS2 or FTTP?

            >One of the "not well studied" parts is that no consideratioon has been given to how it will affect airline traffic.

            There is no significant local within UK air travel - other than routes to Dubllin... - suggest you investigate if you don't believe me.

            >As for the "ancient woodland" being chopped down - it's almost entirely 16th century plantation forest

            Demonstrating your ignorance I see:

            "In the United Kingdom, an ancient woodland is a woodland that has existed continuously since 1600 or before in England."

            HS2 was, is and continues to be a vanity project, only those stuck in 1960 see it as being the future...

            The "capacity problem" can be solved a lot more cheaply and effectively, as lockdown has demonstrated. Universal FTTP gives greater economic benefit to more people significantly quicker than HS2 ever will; HS2 is of zero benefit to any one over the age of 50 and of limited value to any one over the age of 20...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: HS2 or FTTP?

      "I keep thinking that if the government used the HS2 money on fibre to every house"

      BT/Openreach would still find a way to introduce huge delays, over-runs on costs and whinge that they need more money to reach the remote villages, like Brentford, Chiswick etc.

      1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

        Re: HS2 or FTTP?

        BT had a major advantage (it's existing duct and pole network) and one major downfall (it's massive pensions deficit, billions and billions!).

        Therefore, it is no surprise they milked their existing assets for as long as they could. Until they basically crapped themselves during lockdown as Virgin started rolling out 1gbs, altnets started hoovering up their rural customers (key example, the debacle in Pembroke where BT massively overquoted and subsequently most of the business contracts went to small altnets).

        The situation has improved with the separation of BT and Openreach. Their rivals can now use their ducting and poles, resulting in the current pace of FTTP rollout at about 300,000 properties per month in the UK. The recent "100% corporate tax reduction for FTTP investment" has also turbocharged that speed, with pension funds ploughing hundreds of millions of pounds into it.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: HS2 or FTTP?

          Until they basically crapped themselves during lockdown...

          The Openreach FTTP roll-out started well before Covid, in 2009 to be accurate. It did languish for a bit though for which I blame the questionable dalliance with G.FAST. But it was well under way a couple of years before Covid appeared. Covid was a potential impediment not the driving force. In any case one thing Covid has demonstrated is that the UK has a very capable and reliable residential internet service and most connections are being provided by Openreach - although see my second point below.

          BT's problems have always been:

          * A large and struggling pension scheme.

          * A world-class telephony network that was providing most people with everything they wanted. It was harder to justify replacing that with something that was only 'a bit better' and that offered something that only a few people really wanted.

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: HS2 or FTTP?

          "Bt's massive pensions deficit, billions and billions!" Only because it took a pensions holiday and stopped paying into the pension fund which, before the holiday, was properly funded flush. You didnt hear the shareholders complaining then!

    3. rg287

      Re: HS2 or FTTP?

      Why not both? Ditch Trident (lifetime costs knocking on for £100Bn) instead?

      Apparently money isn’t too short for a strategic deterrent we don’t plan to use, but there’s “no business case” for strategic infrastructure (except roads. Always money for new roads).

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: HS2 or FTTP?

        "a strategic deterrent we don’t plan to use,"

        Without going into the ins and outs of whether the UK ought to have nuclear weapons or our obligations to NATO etc, the clue is the name. Strategic deterrent.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: HS2 or FTTP?

          Not working too well at the moment though is it?

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: HS2 or FTTP?

            The BBC has a news article headlined "Ukraine seeks meeting with Russia within 48 hours". I expect Mr Putin's reply will be "Sure. Your place or yours?"

          2. I am the liquor

            Re: HS2 or FTTP?

            As long as we're not all smears of carbon on the pavement, it's doing what it's supposed to... or, at least, you can't say it's failed. I hang old AOL CDs round the garden to stave off the nuclear apocalypse, and to be fair, the empirical evidence for the success of that strategy is equally strong.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          what strategic deterrent?

          Calling something a "strategic deterrent" doesn't make it so.

          For one thing, we only lease the missiles. Which means we have to ask for US permission to use them.

          Our so-called "strategic deterrent" doesn't seem to be working all that well on Mr. Putin or Rocketman Kim. It didn't deter the invasions of UK territory in the 1980s either. Or stop China from fucking over Hong Kong after we walked away.

          Which begs the question, why do we have a "strategic deterrent" and what does it actually protect us from?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: what strategic deterrent?

            For one thing, we only lease the missiles. Which means we have to ask for US permission to use them.

            Amon because ... err, I can't tell you.

            That is an old falsehood that won't die. The UK does NOT need permission from the US to use them. When the Polaris Sales Agreement was being drawn up all those years ago, AIUI the US did want to impose such a restriction - but it would seem our negotiating team held out and the US didn't get its way.

        3. rg287

          Re: HS2 or FTTP?

          Without going into the ins and outs of whether the UK ought to have nuclear weapons or our obligations to NATO etc, the clue is the name. Strategic deterrent.

          Well yes, I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek. I'm not entirely against maintaining our deterrent.

          My point really is that we can find the money when it suits us and the whole "Why don't we take the HS2 money and spend it on x?" routine is bollocks. Partly because there is no pot of HS2 money (just annual borrowing, as is common for CapEx) and partly because we can comfortably afford to do HS2 and the other thing if we actually wanted.

          That's the point of investment. It generates a return.

    4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: HS2 or FTTP?

      What would people do, economically speaking, with 1Gbps to the house that they can't now do with 80 Mbps? Order more groceries? Watch 25 video streams at the same time?

    5. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

      Re: HS2 or FTTP?

      I keep thinking that if the government used the HS2 money on fibre to every house the return to the economy would be significantly higher then the return from continuing with HS2

      I gotta disagree on that one. HS2 has people going into the office.

      When people are WFH they generally don't stop off at one of the major coffee chains in the morning, they aren't going out to similar for lunch. With WFH there aren't as many people working at those coffee and lunch places who would be doing likewise (but at different times of the day).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        HS2 or WFH

        The economic impact of commuters buying or not buying sandwiches and coffee is marginal at best. It's certainly not a credible justification for spending billions on HS2. Which doesn't even get as far "north" as Manchester or Leeds, roughly 200 miles south of the Scottish border. The case for HS2 didn't mention the boost for Costa, Starbucks the tax dodgers, etc.

        Bear in mind that those who WFH will have more disposable cash since they're not paying for train tickets, fuel, parking, frappuchinos and BLTs at the station and so on. That means they might have more money to spend elsewhere after they've paid their increased heating bills.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: HS2 or WFH

          The justification for HS2 was always the need to free up capacity on the WCML.[1] However, one effect of COVID has been bounce ahead perhaps 15 years' worth of working pattern changes, and it looks very likely that the commuter traffic for which HS2 was meant to free up space is gone and will never come back.

          A related consequence is that service industries for office workers are probably permanently stuffed too. Common cause, but not correlation.

          [1] I've just checked, and WCML at Lichfield Trent Valley in the evening peak is a total of 10 services per hour on all four lines, which matches what I used to see when I had a one hour change there after work. One train every 24 minutes on average is congestion? I believe that the fast lines there can work on 4-5 minute headways.

          1. rg287

            Re: HS2 or WFH

            [1] I've just checked, and WCML at Lichfield Trent Valley in the evening peak is a total of 10 services per hour on all four lines, which matches what I used to see when I had a one hour change there after work. One train every 24 minutes on average is congestion? I believe that the fast lines there can work on 4-5 minute headways.

            The railway is a network. If you connect a 10Mbps switch to a Gigabit switch you won't see any congestion on the Gigabit port, but anything on the 10Mb switch will be throttled nonetheless.

            There are four tracks on the Trent Valley line - only 10 trains-per-hour may stop at peak times, but many others will blow through the middle without stopping.

            Where do they go? Further up at Stafford the four lines from Trent Valley meet four lines from Wolverhampton. Yet there are not eight lines going up to Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent - those eight lines from the south condense to four lines north (two to Crewe, two to Stoke). It all bottlenecks. That bottleneck constrains the services running south of Stafford as well (unless they terminated/reversed at Stafford).

            HS2 takes those non-stop services, leaving the conventional lines free for frequently-stopping local and regional services. High frequency local services take the pain out of changes as your hour long change becomes a 15minute wait.

            The current mixed-traffic operation of our railways is why Stafford station (serving 122,000 people but 8 lines coming in) sees something like 3.5million annual entries/exits whereas Stoke-on-Trent station (serving 350,000 including Newcastle-Under-Lyme but just two lines) sees just 2million entries/exits. Stafford gets some useful services (southbound at least). Stoke just gets national trains to London/Manchester and nothing local because the two tracks are basically dedicated to express services.

            For completeness, south of Lichfield, the Trent Valley is nicely quadded all the way to Nuneaton (although there is still the weirdness at Polesworth which gets one northbound train per day - not terribly useful!). At Nuneaton it splits - with the main Trent Valley line continuing as four tracks, but a two track line to Leicester and another to Coventry spurring off - so eight tracks come into Nuneaton from the south with only four going north.

            It's not difficult to imagine why eight lines into Nuneaton condensing down to four, and then the same happening at Stafford causes some timetabling problems and makes it difficult to keep all the lines at capacity.

            Of course none of this goes away with HS2, but if trains are all travelling at around the same speed and stopping at every (or most) stations such that they don't catch up with one another, that allows you to timetable a hell of a lot more services (like, 3-4x more) than if you're squeezing in local services around the express services - which can blow through in places (where it's quadded) but not in others (when it drops to two/three) lines.

  13. Giles C Silver badge

    Well….

    I am using the open reach network (although I just switched from bt to ee and halved my monthly bill.

    I get around 65mb which is plenty for me.

    In Peterborough we have city fibre around the town, but the only companies supplying the service are talktalk and Vodafone. Neither of much fill me with confidence with their customer service management.

    Do I need 200mb + nope I can stream 4k Netflix, and work from home so I don’t notice the speed being an issue - why would I need a faster service?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: " I just switched from bt to ee and halved my monthly bill."

      I do hope readers are aware that BT and EE are part of the same PLC.

      Normally I'd post a link to definitive info at btplc.com but no luck with that today.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: " I just switched from bt to ee and halved my monthly bill."

        I just assume EE is, like PlusNet, still operated as a separate business. One thing I have found notable is how they seem to be able to get good OpenReach engineers out to customers.

        1. SImon Hobson
          Holmes

          Re: " I just switched from bt to ee and halved my monthly bill."

          It's worth knowing that OR offers different service levels based on how much the ISP pays for the line/services running over it.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: " I just switched from bt to ee and halved my monthly bill."

        But EE management doesnt seem to have been replaced by BT miss-managment yet.

      3. Giles C Silver badge

        Re: " I just switched from bt to ee and halved my monthly bill."

        I was, bt £55 per month EE £26, no difference in performance just more money in my wallet to spend on other stuff.

        Incidentally when it was switched over the bt router kept working on the ee network, but I swapped it for the ee one as it has better WiFi capabilities.

        1. rg287

          Re: " I just switched from bt to ee and halved my monthly bill."

          Incidentally when it was switched over the bt router kept working on the ee network, but I swapped it for the ee one as it has better WiFi capabilities.

          Yes, it's all interchangeable. When I moved from BT to Plusnet I was offered the same router I already had, but in plusnet branding. I declined and just changed the PPPoE/DSL credentials on the BT router. Less eWaste/junk in my cupboard.

  14. mark l 2 Silver badge

    With the mobile networks rolling out 5G coverage and you can get 100Mbps over that, (in theory 1Gbps) will there be much need for FTTP for a lot of people? Its a lot easier and cheaper to put a 5G modem in someones house than running fibre to everyone's home.

    I certainly wouldn't be paying significantly more for FTTP if a 5G service can offer me decent enough speeds at less costs. I still have a few devices supporting only 2.4ghz WIFI which wouldn't benefit from the speed increase anyway, so for my current personal usage VDSL is enough.

    Obviously the 5G roll out will be benefited by more fibre connections for the backhaul bandwidth, but if there is also FTTC in the area then 5G can hook into that.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      With the mobile networks rolling out 5G coverage and you can get 100Mbps over that, (in theory 1Gbps)

      Very much in theory. That assumes some very favourable conditions and ignores the consequences of contention. Real world throughput will be worse.

      1. Bitsminer Silver badge

        Don't forget rain

        We have a 50Mb/s 5g(*) link from the apartment to a cell tower about 1km away.

        When it rains heavily (this is tropical climate rain, not that wimpy first-world stuff) the throughput drops substantially. So much so that not even Whatsapp works.....

        (*) So the vendor says. It is radio, even if we don't know the details.

        1. Giles C Silver badge

          Re: Don't forget rain

          Yes in a previous role I had microwave and point to point laser links.

          The microwave always played up in heavy rain, and freezing fog stopped the laser beam as it was refracted in all directions as it bounced off the ice crystals.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        I've got a 30Mbps (IIRC) 4G EE link and during the day I can get downloads over 100Mbps and easily manage 30mbps in the evenings. The only problem I get is during silage and hay seasons when the rather large tedders seem to cut the signal off as they drive down the ancient trackway on the top of the hill!

    2. Neil 44

      5G is unlikely to ever reach rural areas!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uptake will be poor due to the public thinking they have fiber already, due to the use of "fiber broadband" being used for fttc. That was the worst mistake ofcom and the advertisement authority allowed as such we now pay the price.

    1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Totally agree. I sometimes get people to look at their phone socket and say “does this look like fibre?”

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        My fibre connection terminates in a small box with one BT socket and one RJ45 socket.

  16. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    It's of no interest to me.

    The copper line is quite fast enough. I don't do any on-line gaming (or any gaming come to that). I don't mind a download taking a while - I can always find something else to do while it's in progress. Streaming audio is quite fast enough, and mostly, so is video.

    ... probably like a vast number of other folks beyond their 20s.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: It's of no interest to me.

      I'm in the 'cant be arsed' box too

      Just tested... get 90 meg down, 10 meg up.

      And thats with vermin media... price :shit customer service :shittier speed : well ok you got me there

    2. itzman

      Re: It's of no interest to me.

      Yes, today's content is easily handled for a normal household with 20Mbps.

      I have fibre more for reliability and upload speed. - 10Mbps. The only time I notice the download speed is when software upgrades come along.

      1. rg287

        Re: It's of no interest to me.

        I have fibre more for reliability and upload speed. - 10Mbps. The only time I notice the download speed is when software upgrades come along.

        Yes, I'd have FTTP like a shot provided that it came with symmetric speeds. 50-100Mbps would be more than sufficient. No need for gigabit (though I wouldn't complain if they were offering it as standard for sensible money per altnet groups like B4RN).

        Vermin's obsession with 500Mb/Gig speeds looks a bit ridiculous when you realise you only get ~30Mb up. I rarely challenge my 30Mb VDSL (other than software downloads), but the 10Mb up can be a bit limiting.

        1. SImon Hobson

          Re: It's of no interest to me.

          I agree, this asymmetric rates business is ... annoying. There's a genuine reason with DSL services as you are trading off upstream rates (which people don't generally use as much of) for more downstream which people do use a lot. With ADSL-2 there is an option called Annex-M which changes this to give more upstream at the expense of losing downstream bandwidth - used to have customers using this to get better performance on VPNs etc.

          But on things like "real" fibre, its native capacity is quite a lot more than typically used, and there's no real reason for being asymmetric other than the marketing people who don't want you running any services on a "residential" connection.

    3. Neil 44

      Re: It's of no interest to me.

      We have noticed it when we have been trying to have 2x Zoom/Teams/Skype/Webex/... calls at the same time for work/volunteering/etc. My wife has spent A LOT of time on Teams calls for work in the last 2 years

      Up to now I've had to schedule round her meetings or participate on Zoom by phoning in (stopping my phone using WiFi). A single video-capable call uses 0.4 - 0.7Mbs upload and that's all we had and even then it wasn't very reliable.

  17. Dwarf

    BT replacing copper with fibre

    Wasn't there great pomp and marketing with BT a while back when they announced that they were going fully fibre and removing copper - presumably to sell the copper rather than have some scumbag do it for them

    So, I'll just wait for them to get to me and do the upgrade. My assumption is that my costs will not go up as I've not ordered anything else. Once its all in, I might investigate what the next bump in speed will be as you can probably predict that marketing will cap it to something stupidly low with a large gap and large price to the next best thing which nobody in their right mind would sign up for.

    Roll the clock forwards a bit more and prices will drop and they will "upgrade" as the competition are doing the same and it costs them to implement all the non-required tech to limit speeds etc.

    Same old, same old with the poor customer at the end saying why didn't they actually use the newer technology to impress customers.

    Please prove to me that I'm just old and cynical and therefore wrong, having seen these pointless limitations over previous decades.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: BT replacing copper with fibre

      Wasn't there great pomp and marketing with BT a while back when they announced that they were going fully fibre and removing copper - presumably to sell the copper rather than have some scumbag do it for them

      Yes and that programme is well under way. There's already several areas where BT do not sell copper based services and they have stated that in 2025 they will switch off all analogue services(*). Unfortunately it's just not something that can be done overnight. Customers and other communications providers have to be given time to prepare.

      Exactly when the actual copper will start to be taken out is unknown at the moment. Fibre is already being served from a reduced number of exchanges. I live in Brackley and have FTTC and some newer estates have FTTP but it's all served from Banbury 11 miles away. Our exchange will eventually be retired as will most I think.

      (*)This doesn't mean they are withdrawing the actual copper lines. Merely the service(s) that they currently operate on them. Everything is going IP based whether that be IP over fibre or IP over copper.

      1. Bob the Skutter

        Re: BT replacing copper with fibre

        My exchange started taking FTTP order almost a year ago, and stop sell issued for copper. However think there are only 3 house on the street out of over 50 that have upgraded.

        When go for walk around the neighbourhood at lunch time try to spot the fibre boxes outside houses and definitely less than 10. I'd say take up is well below 1%.

        You can provide FTTP but can't make people buy it.

  18. Bob McBobface

    Come on starlink

    Just signed up for MuskNet. 11km from an exchange with the "slowest" connection the installer had ever seen, fibre has been in "planning" for 5 years at open reach, and barely get 4 let alone 5g.

    You'd think it was the outer hebrides not teesside...

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Come on starlink

      The Outer Hebrides have FTTP or FTTC available just about everywhere.

  19. Krassi

    Why I'm spoiling the statistics

    My street has recently been fitted out with fibre, and FTTP is an option since the last few months. Why I'm not in a hurry to change

    1. FTTC works adequately (40 / 7 mbps - absolutely stable)

    2. Multiple calls from the ISPs in the last few months to push FTTP, showing the worst sides of salesmanship. Full of crap about all sorts of vague benefits, very reluctant to mention a price even verbally, certainly nothing in hard copy. After a longish conversation with one, I gather that the headline price is pennies lower than the current FTTC only because of a 6 month discount in a 24 month contract. Then for 18 months they turn you over and b-r you.

    3. You know it will be a bad experience switching over. It involves openreach after all. I don't want to be on mobile internet for days or weeks.

    4. I've a land-line. Don't use it much, but still would like to keep the number & willing to pay a fair price for that. I believe there is a technical solution, but the ISPs aren't interested.

    So I guess until the copper is ripped out, I'll stick on FTTC. By then 5G (or 6G ?) may be fast enough anyway.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Why I'm spoiling the statistics

      >3. You know it will be a bad experience switching over.

      What catches many out is the need for a double power outlet at the NTU so that the modem and router can be directly attached.

      Personally, I would prefer the NTU to be like the ones fitted by Glide, which are unpowered and have a socket for an LC fibre tail.

      I've hesitated on this as where the BT enters my house there is no power and no simple way of getting power to that location, so OpenReach will have to bring the fibre in somewhere else....

      1. itzman

        Re: Why I'm spoiling the statistics

        "What catches many out is the need for a double power outlet at the NTU so that the modem and router can be directly attached."

        Not for those of us who have a cat 5 wired house. No need for the router to be anywhere near the modem

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Why I'm spoiling the statistics

      >3. You know it will be a bad experience switching over. It involves openreach after all.

      If it actually involves openreach it will likely go ok. If they send kelly's, be terrified. Had one come to install my new VDSL line, utterly separate from the existing house line (which is in regular use by my mother and an alarm system). I caught him in the act of nicking the pair the existing house line was using!

    3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Why I'm spoiling the statistics

      4. I've a land-line. Don't use it much, but still would like to keep the number & willing to pay a fair price for that. I believe there is a technical solution, but the ISPs aren't interested.

      Some are. I have two numbers ported to VOIP with A&A: £1.20 per month plus 1.2p per minute for UK calls. Calls between the two are free.

      ISPs hate telling you that this is an option. When fibre reached the pole in my garden, BT and the Phone Coop both wanted me to keep on paying line rental for the copper and a phone package. It was A&A's people, bless them, who said "You can decommission the copper completely. Line rental for the fibre is included in the broadband package and you can do your phones by VOIP."

      Going to VOIP was a revelation, and I can't imagine ever going back to an antiquated system which only let me make one call at a time and only let me calls from a given number at one fixed location.

  20. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

    World Beating

    It must be world beating, Johnson said it was.

  21. breakfast
    Meh

    Why not tell people when it's planned for their area?

    I got a notification that BT were now offering FTTP here, which should be great but after years of 2 down and 0.8 up on our copper line (unless it was raining) we have moved to a radio system which is way faster but also quite unreliable and we're on a contract for that for a while. Maybe if they'd indicated that they were ever going to do anything to improve matters here, we might have waited a little longer but the first clue anything was going on was an Openreach van parked in the drive for a few days and even then it was ages before BT actually told us they were adding a more brisk connection.

    Unless that was an MI5 surveillance van, of course, in which case their job would have been even more boring than usual.

  22. Pete4000uk

    It's all about cost

    I'm getting between 60 and 70 Mbps over FTTC.

    I'm currently paying £11.99 with Plusnet who I don't think do FTTP and even if they did I'm sure I would end up paying more!

    1. Neil 44

      Re: It's all about cost

      Do you pay a "line rental" on top of that?

      My FTTP is £26 in total all in with Vodafone with a static IP and a landline number....

  23. Colonel Mad

    I live in an ordinary house in Milton Keynes, and City Fibre put the network in about 18 months ago, I have a large range of providers to choose from, but on 2 can be a***d, to send me junk mail. The box is 5 metres from the house, and I have no idea what happens if I order, will my front driveway be dug up, can they access the BT duct or the MKTV duct? So until one of them explains this on their website, I shall stay with FTTC.

  24. itzman

    UK is a crowded islannd

    That started the telephone revolution before anywhere else. It has a huge installed base of copper, and some very tight ducting.

    It also has high wage levels for skilled people.

    Its simply more expensive to throw fiber in, but it is coming.

    Just be happy you don't live in e,g., rural USA. Or Germany.

  25. Micky Nozawa

    I would love to be on fibre, but...

    I received a promotional leaflet from BT Openreach promising that fibre would be coming in 'Summer 2012'.

    Needless to say, I am still waiting.

    After my most recent enquiry in 2020, I was told it would be available within six months.

    Nope.

    As a further annoyance, I live less than 100m from my local exchange which has been offering FTTC for well over five years, but not to the cabinet across the road from my home.

    I don't really want to sell up and move just to get a decent connection.

  26. northernnoel

    Ah that pipedream of FTTP. Currently I get 20mb down and if I'm lucky 1mb up. I spoke to Openreach a while ago and the furthest I got was that they have no plans for our area. Mobile signal is a black hole around here as well. You'd think I'm living in the countryside somewhere? Nope, on the edge of a city. WFH is great fun when the missus saves her work into OneDrive. May as well forget about using the internet at that point.

  27. Neil 44

    Emergency phone connections....

    Something that has come up locally is the inability of FTTP to support an emergency phone in the event of a power cut...

    The area in question is in a valley and doesn't get mobile coverage (on any network) reliably - so that isn't a reliable alternative.

    There are stories that "someone" - don't know if it is the fibre provider or the phone service provider - has to provide a battery-backed solution (that's assuming that the fibre hasn't broken as well!), but I've not seen any evidence of it...

    (I admit our new ONT and router are both plugged into a UPS which will keep them running for a few hours!)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-59564480 has reported the issue in the North East with Storm Arwen

    1. SImon Hobson

      Re: Emergency phone connections....

      I don't know what the current situation is, but early FTTP setups incorporated a battery-backed NTU and analogue port so that your old POTS phone would continue to work with the power off. But it was only a short time (1 hour ?).

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Opposite problem

    I've got the opposite problem - I'm in a rural community that up until recently had options of <1Mb via BT or 20Mb wireless to a local tall structure a mile or so away (performance is more like 10Mb in the summer - when all the trees are in full leaf and disrupt the line of sight).

    Now however we've been "blessed" with Gigaclear. Full fibre to the door. My problem now is that it is truly extortionate. True "new customer only" prices, meaning at end of contract I've got the option of paying through the nose, or switching back to the alternatives. And because they're small enough, they sit outside the Ofcom regs for price gouging, or so it seems.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Opposite problem

      >My problem now is that it is truly extortionate. True "new customer only" prices, meaning at end of contract I've got the option of paying through the nose, or switching back to the alternatives.

      Well ...

      So Gigaclear 900/900 is £49 pcm for new customers and then £79 pcm.

      BT Full Fibre 900 guarantees 700/110 (ie. its asymetric) is £56 pcm.

      However, Gigaclear 500/500 is £25 pcm then £52 pcm, whereas BT Full Fibre 500 (425/73 guaranteed) is £46 pcm.

      So yes there is a premium for Gigaclear, but not as much as you are implying, if you go for the sweet spot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Opposite problem

        True - but I meant more in the world of "fast enough", then really basic FTTC is what a lot of people really need (80 up, 20 down territory), which is in the realms of £25 pcm. The slowest/cheapest Gigaclear will offer is 200/200 for £40 pcm. I'll get more bandwidth, but arguably nothing I need.

        Don't get me wrong, it's a nice problem to have in some ways, particularly considering where I'd be without it.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Opposite problem

          I suspect part of the problem Gigaclear have (in addition to their small size relative to the majors) is the relatively high fixed costs of providing a line, which are largely independent of line speed.

          Not sure about the £25 pc for 80/20 FTTC; EE are quoting me £28 pcm for 40/10, £31 pcm for 80/20 and £35 pcm for 100/25 FTTP. So that £40 pcm for 200/200 is looking not bad.

          I suspect given the way things are going, the FTTC prices will increase faster than the FTTP prices...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Opposite problem

            Ah, I was looking at Sky - moments before they put their prices up. To £28 like EE, but for what I believe is the 80/20 product (advertised at average 59/16).

            Still, 50% premium I'll pay for 200/200, regardless of whether I need it. And while I quite like the higher end, the majority of people don't need it (yet). The "fast enough" world for people is probably the 40/10 category, or maybe 80/20. My only broadband option realistically is a premium service. To your point, it's relatively high fixed costs, and so they only sell a high-bandwidth service to justify it.

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