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Thread: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Dribble View Post
    Ah ok, although it seems a bit of a meaningless technical distinction that doesn't matter much because Virgin offer 1Gb using it (in several cities planning to offer it everywhere by the end of 2021). A quick google also shows DOCISIS 3.1 can do up to 10Gb theoretically (although Virgin have only tested to 2.2Gb), and in the future there will be DOCISIS 4.0 that will offer 10Gb in real life.
    Ahh, things have moved on in the DOCSIS world, that's cool!

    It's still quite a meaningful distinction because Fibre using multimode lasers and Copper (whether cable or twisted pair) have very different "finite-ness". For instance, in copper using electrical signalling you have to combat attenuation, frequency bleed and oscillation as well as general drop off and other things someone well versed in frequency signalling across copper can wade in on. Whereas in Fibre Optics, you're limited by the reflective/refractive index of the fibre used, how much light is absorbed by the fibre and then the capabilities of the lasers themselves.

    Every time a standard fibre optic is stated as "hit the limit", some new laser technology comes around that leaps a fibre optic from being 100gbps to something stupid like 3tbps.

    Back in 2018, a breakthrough was demonstrated to replace 80 lasers with a single very clever laser which will reduce the price barrier for high speed core networking to support the 1gbps fttp home networking: https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.ph...ht-source.html

    Super cool some of the things that have come up.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by ilh View Post
    And yet the vast majority of people don't need it. I guess, like most things, people see the numbers and think that they must get it because 'bigger is better' and pay through the nose for bandwidth they don't touch.
    Oh god, I can saturate my connection without even trying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tabbykatze View Post
    I went from 300 to 72 mbps and I can happily say I hate every second of it.
    I went from 300 to 30. It's painfully slow when multiple users are trying to do things, even with network prioritisation in the background.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tabbykatze View Post
    It's still quite a meaningful distinction because Fibre using multimode lasers and Copper (whether cable or twisted pair) have very different "finite-ness". For instance, in copper using electrical signalling you have to combat attenuation, frequency bleed and oscillation as well as general drop off and other things someone well versed in frequency signalling across copper can wade in on. Whereas in Fibre Optics, you're limited by the reflective/refractive index of the fibre used, how much light is absorbed by the fibre and then the capabilities of the lasers themselves.

    Every time a standard fibre optic is stated as "hit the limit", some new laser technology comes around that leaps a fibre optic from being 100gbps to something stupid like 3tbps.
    I think that's an important distinction, upgrading fiber-optic connections normally only requires end to end point upgrades, not the cable being used. Anything that eliminates copper is a good thing imho.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Dribble View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tabbykatze View Post
    Cable to the premises is not the same as Fibre to the premises.

    Currently on DOCSIS 3 (or is it 3.1), maximum bandwidth is around 400-500mbps with fibre going to the cabinet.

    Fibre to the premise is technically 1gbps bidirectional.
    Ah ok, although after googling what you said about DOCSIS 3.1 is wrong - it can do up to 10Gb theoretically. Virgin offer 1Gb using it (in several cities planning to offer it everywhere by the end of 2021). In the future Virgin will have DOCISIS 4.0 that will offer 10Gb in real life. Hence I suppose the distinction between that and fibre to the premises is mostly a technical difference not something that's preventing higher bandwidth.
    We can get 1gig Virgin but at an increase of 40% monthly plus a £35 setup fee it's not worth it over our 600 meg service at the moment. Though a Hub 4.0 is a worthwhile upgrade with gogabit networking etc.

    Even for Virgin though to go full fat fibre to the home would require a mahoosive investment from hubs to actually fibre being laid. In the UK the cost so far outweighs the advantages for the majority
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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    yeah good luck with the price virgin is asking

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Virgin isn't in general fibre to the premises. The last bit is via coax cable. Having said that I do get over 600mbs with our connection, so maybe the Virgin cable should be included in the fibre numbers. Most of BT/Openreach is fibre to the cabinet as well, the last bit is copper and you only seem to get a maximum of 80mbs on that. Maybe it should be based on a minimum speed to the premises of say 250mbs. If it was the UK's numbers may well go up.
    All of this is of course down to us having an old and substantially mature system. Other countries quite simply didn't have the amount of old tech and could upgrade comparatively cheaply.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    As others have alluded to, the situation isn't really as bad as the headline suggests.

    There are vast differences in the existing telecoms infrastructure between countries, some having copper/aluminium telephone networks poorly suited to rollouts of technologies like VDSL, and little to no HFC (cable) infrastructure, meaning there was little financial alternative to fibre rollouts earlier on. Also, some countries that score highly on the list have a high percentage of FTTB as can be seen on this graphic (but is often left out of the details). Economically, FTTB is much simpler to roll out, run fibre to a building and fan out from there with copper - in many cases this is actually VDSL i.e. the same as we use from street cabinets in the UK.

    The second graphic shows FTTP availability which is substantially higher than the first one - showing not everyone who has fibre available to them is necessarily taking it up immediately, and nor would you expect that. If you already have 80Mb VDSL or 1Gb DOCSIS and are perfectly happy with that, there's no reason to rush the move to FTTP even if it is available. BT are beginning to retire their copper network in completed FTTP areas, but this is a gradual process with the POTS telephone system going first. The likes of VDSL (FTTC) will stay around for longer and co-exist with FTTP for some time.

    So, what's actually being compared in some cases, is the UK which has a mix of access network technologies for 'superfast' and in some cases 'ultrafast' speeds, against countries where the only option is FTTP/FTTB for anything above dial-up or ADSL (and in some cases they are no longer sold at all - so FTTB/P is your only option for fixed-line connectivity). If you look at the situation in a more technology-agnostic way i.e. pay attention to available services rather than specifics of how it is delivered, gigabit fixed-line connectivity is available to something like 35% of the UK now, largely through a mix of Openreach FTTP and Virgin Media HFC/FTTP, both of whom are building out rapidly, and in Virgin's case, the DOCIS 3.1 upgrade which enables gigabit can be very rapid as most of the change happens in the headend - the cable to your house stays the same.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    My local council (Tory) took up government funding to provide FTTP via Gigaclear and Trooli. So no you dont need to nationalise Openreach. Have found the FTTP provided from their competitor to be excellent.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Both Virgin & BT FTTP but due to the price difference we stick with FTTC @40Mbps. Once they replaced the drop wire on the pole we have a pretty solid connection 40/9.8, max down on package is in theory 38! 2 people remote working and on zoom, or one working one streaming is no issue, or one gaming one streaming. Not 4k and yes a large download (50GB game for instance) takes a little while but I can just do something else.

    Maybe if we upgraded we could never go back? Think the place we're moving to is currently just FTTC so hoping for a clean line and similarly perfectly suitable connection for a reasonable cost.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    I was upgraded to FTTP last week via BT. I live in a small village and was very very suprised to get FTTP considering we already had FTTC at 60mb. Lucky I guess? Although there is a massive FTTP rollout push across Scotland.

    Now I get 900Mb down (more like 1.1gbps) and 110Mb up. I have to be honest, I didn't need the download speed being offered. But I did need the upload and without going for the top package at £60 a month, I wouldn't have been able to get 110mb upload.

    For me, I would much prefer something like 300/300 but BT aren't offering faster upload speeds, even know they easily can as they just limit your connection at their end nd cap it at 110mb. I hope this will change in the future.
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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Its the patchy-ness of FTTP in the UK that gets me. Some properties in wealthy areas have 4 FTTP competitors (alt nets as they are called) now but a smallish town like mine has nothing but FTTC (not even VM). It not like there is even a public road map to know when we might get anything. Its something we really need to get a hold on if we're not going to end up with a big disparity of haves and haves not.
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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Instead of trying to do E-PEEN internet speeds that only a few can get,we need to target more consistent connection speeds for the whole of the country. The big issue is that many areas are still using very old infrastructure from the local box onwards,ie,40+ year old copper and aluminium wiring. The max I can get in my area is barely 70MBPS. Yet over the last few years we have had frequent issues,because the box at the end of our street is decades old and a massive mess of wires. It means frequently if an engineer is fiddling with it,then the internet for other homes can get affected - its not that hard when its a mass of bare wires in a socket and trying to get to one can slightly push the others out of alignment.

    Plus there has to be serious consideration on whether we need to use wired infrastructure for everything - wireless technologies have improved significantly over time,so it might be easier and quicker to use wireless systems in certain scenarios. Apparently in parts of Africa this has been done because it was far easier and cost effective than digger miles and miles of ground to lay cable into.
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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Instead of trying to do E-PEEN internet speeds that only a few can get,we need to target more consistent connection speeds for the whole of the country. The big issue is that many areas are still using very old infrastructure from the local box onwards,ie,40+ year old copper and aluminium wiring. The max I can get in my area is barely 70MBPS. Yet over the last few years we have had frequent issues,because the box at the end of our street is decades old and a massive mess of wires. It means frequently if an engineer is fiddling with it,then the internet for other homes can get affected - its not that hard when its a mass of bare wires in a socket and trying to get to one can slightly push the others out of alignment.

    Plus there has to be serious consideration on whether we need to use wired infrastructure for everything - wireless technologies have improved significantly over time,so it might be easier and quicker to use wireless systems in certain scenarios. Apparently in parts of Africa this has been done because it was far easier and cost effective than digger miles and miles of ground to lay cable into.
    The problem with wireless is it still needs good signal. I live the other side of a small hill near Southampton. There are major 4g antenna towers on the top of the hill but they are all just on the Southampton side rather than the slightly more rural side. It means if I go a few streets away I get good signal but naff all where I live and then only with a provider with another antenna some distance away. All the reception maps say I get good signal but I just don't - they gave up on a smart meter install for the same reason. If this can happen in a 500 property estate in a town of 10k+ with in a short distance of a major city how can they ever hope to cover everything with 5g?

    With regards existing infrastructure I also have 70s wiring and I'm at the edge of the estate so stuck on 35Mb on a good day...
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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    For the previous 3 posts there are several points...

    We are still a capitalist nation so unless it's deemed worthwhile then areas just WON'T get the infrastructure. That's not going to change - any company needs to ensure a return on it's investment unless the govt hands out grants willy nilly

    Again Cat me olde matey - if there isn't the demand (and quite often there just isn't) then the infrastructure won't be installed. And 70mb (or the 35 mentioned) is perfectly fine for the majority of people. Heck you probably only need 10 meg for Netflix 4k, and I have a mate who has just got 19 meg and is over the moon and it's perfectly fine apart from when a new Xbox or PS game comes out

    Wireless can never 100% replace a decent infrastructure - especially when even the weather can affect it. Add in the fact that it's also worse health wise and whilst it can be done, I can't see it. We have some alright infrastructure and replacing that with high power wireless seems counterproductive to me. It's easier to add to the wired infrastructure than start a new wireless one. In Africa et al there is NO infrastructure which makes sense
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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    For me, I would much prefer something like 300/300 but BT aren't offering faster upload speeds, even know they easily can as they just limit your connection at their end nd cap it at 110mb. I hope this will change in the future.
    Believe it or not, GPON, the technology behind Openreach's FTTP, is generally not symmetrical. The system is a passive optical network using separate wavelengths for upstream and downstream, with different bandwidths. For GPON, this allows for roughly 2Gb down and 1Gb up, but on many versions of 10GPON it is around 10Gb down and 1Gb up. However these are shared line speeds, not subscriber speeds.

    Yeah, in theory they could offer something like 300/300 packages, but cost wise there's probably not much point. As an example, some providers offer business connections through VDSL with a guaranteed rate of say 20/20 - at the access level this capacity is reserved from the cabinet back through the network. However, the service will generally still run at whatever it happens to sync at e.g. 80/20, they're just not guaranteeing that speed, and there's not much point capping it to 20.


    Regarding wireless, the issues of shared spectrum, interference and signal remain. What starts out as 100Mb subscriber speed on paper soon goes down the toiler when a street of people start using it like fixed line. It doesn't mean it's not a useful technology for rollouts in some areas but it's not a fixed line replacement, especially where the fixed line is HFC or FTTP.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by 3dcandy View Post
    We are still a capitalist nation so unless it's deemed worthwhile then areas just WON'T get the infrastructure. That's not going to change - any company needs to ensure a return on it's investment unless the govt hands out grants willy nilly
    Some areas are not financially viable for commercial rollouts, hence why we have Government-backed rollouts to ensure some areas don't get totally ignored. UK is not total capitalism and Government support is often used where it makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3dcandy View Post
    Wireless can never 100% replace a decent infrastructure - especially when even the weather can affect it. Add in the fact that it's also worse health wise and whilst it can be done, I can't see it. We have some alright infrastructure and replacing that with high power wireless seems counterproductive to me. It's easier to add to the wired infrastructure than start a new wireless one. In Africa et al there is NO infrastructure which makes sense
    Just... no.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by cheesemp View Post
    The problem with wireless is it still needs good signal. I live the other side of a small hill near Southampton. There are major 4g antenna towers on the top of the hill but they are all just on the Southampton side rather than the slightly more rural side. It means if I go a few streets away I get good signal but naff all where I live and then only with a provider with another antenna some distance away. All the reception maps say I get good signal but I just don't - they gave up on a smart meter install for the same reason. If this can happen in a 500 property estate in a town of 10k+ with in a short distance of a major city how can they ever hope to cover everything with 5g?

    With regards existing infrastructure I also have 70s wiring and I'm at the edge of the estate so stuck on 35Mb on a good day...


    Quote Originally Posted by 3dcandy View Post
    For the previous 3 posts there are several points...

    We are still a capitalist nation so unless it's deemed worthwhile then areas just WON'T get the infrastructure. That's not going to change - any company needs to ensure a return on it's investment unless the govt hands out grants willy nilly

    Again Cat me olde matey - if there isn't the demand (and quite often there just isn't) then the infrastructure won't be installed. And 70mb (or the 35 mentioned) is perfectly fine for the majority of people. Heck you probably only need 10 meg for Netflix 4k, and I have a mate who has just got 19 meg and is over the moon and it's perfectly fine apart from when a new Xbox or PS game comes out

    Wireless can never 100% replace a decent infrastructure - especially when even the weather can affect it. Add in the fact that it's also worse health wise and whilst it can be done, I can't see it. We have some alright infrastructure and replacing that with high power wireless seems counterproductive to me. It's easier to add to the wired infrastructure than start a new wireless one. In Africa et al there is NO infrastructure which makes sense
    I had 18 months of periods of unreliable internet connections because of the crap old box at the end of our street and local cabling issues. Until about 3 years ago,I was surviving on internet speeds which were below 10MB,ie,generally between 2~5MB. I only got to 40MB in 2018/2019 and even then the connection had reliability problems until the latter part of 2019. My 4G phone frequently had better and more reliable internet connections,since I had to use it hooked up to my PC at times! It is only this year my ISP deemed our local connection stable enough to get at least 40MB minimum and a max of 65MB.I am located in the south which is generally well served for internet especially as we are not that far from London.

    Even fibre to the premises is going to take years to reach us,and if its inconsistent here,then I really don't like to see how bad it is elsewhere,where the return on investment will be significantly less.

    The copper and aluminium cabling actually starts deteriorating over time and was made for phone audio not internet. It is very thin if you actually examine it,and some can be closing on 70 years old. The junction boxes in many places were not designed to handle the increase landline connections in this country,as we have far more houses now,and far more flats than 60 years ago. So the old junction boxes are jammed packed and this leads to increased issues of the wires touching each other.

    During the 60s and 70s due to cost cutting many places used even worse aluminium cabling. This is even worse than old copper cabling. The main issue is that our internet infrastructure is pigging backing onto telephone lines never made for it. So whether people like it or not,at some point 1000s of miles of phonelines and junction boxes will need to be replaced and that alone will cost billions of pounds,unless you want large sections of the country to have no functional phone lines,let alone internet in another 10~20 years. Even replacing the trunk lines to the cabinet and using phone lines for the last leg is more papering over the cracks,and not spending the money.

    Its bad enough where I am located and this is one of the more wealthier parts of the country. I hate to think how other parts of the country are managing!!

    In Africa they have been using wireless systems to overcome the lack of wired cabling,and it is far more cost effective,to build towers to get to rural areas. Digging up and installing large areas of cabling is very expensive and labour intensive. The advantage of having wireless infrastructure is that you can actually bring internet connections to areas which didn't even have internet.

    Its going to be cost prohibitive to dig up every single telephone wire and replace it - its not only the trunk cables,but every bit of wire right to the test socket which needs to be replaced. So that means replacing the cable on the poles,new poles,etc. Then there is the issue of the manpower and the time require to do this. As a result its mostly going to be larger towns and cities which are deemed cost effective even by governments to dig up and replace all the cabling.

    There are poorer countries which have managed to provide cost effective internet services by thinking outside the box. Things like mesh networks have a good chance to provide cost effective internet solutions to more and more of the world:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-africa-47723967
    https://blinqnetworks.com/rural-wire...e-third-world/
    https://theconversation.com/how-a-ru...perative-87448

    The emitters for the mesh network can be solar powered and self sustaining.

    Mankosi is a remote rural community in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. It is home to almost 6,000 people. The nearest city is Mthatha, about 60 kilometres away, as a bird flies.
    With the local authority’s permission, a cooperative comprising ten local and respected people was formed. This group designed the network layout, and built and installed a dozen solar powered mesh network stations. These are mounted on and inside houses around Mankosi. These are organised in what we call a mesh network and WiFi stations cover an area of 30 square kilometres.

    Zenzeleni constitutes a fully fledged Internet Service Provider (ISP), equipped with an Internet and Voice-over Internet Protocol gateway, and a billing system in isiXhosa run by community managers.

    The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), which grants licences to ISPs and collects fees where necessary, granted Zenzeleni a licence exemption; so it costs Zenzeleni nothing in fees to operate infrastructure and sell services. The community only has to pay for the backhaul Internet connectivity, which they can get at wholesale prices from companies like EastTel and OpenServe, and for educational use from TENET.

    Any device – even a low to mid-range smart phone – that’s WiFi-enabled can access the network. There are two dedicated wireless connections to “point of presence”, or POP, fibre in Mthatha.

    Zenzeleni’s voice calls and data costs are much cheaper than what’s offered by the big mobile operators. For example voice calls can cost 20c a minute rather than the standard R1.50 or more while data costs can be between 20 and 40 times cheaper.

    The solar powered stations also charge cell phone batteries less than what’s usually charged by spaza shops or shebeens. Those shops also tend to be some distance from the village, so people save time as well as money.
    The issue if we don't do something its going to lead to places outside cities becoming detached from the greater economy. Things are only going to get worse for more and more parts of the country as the infrastucture just wears out.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 14-05-2021 at 06:54 PM.

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