The first seven UK regions getting fibre-to-home broadband trials have been announced
The government has announced plans to begin trialing “full-fibre” networks across the UK in a bid to improve upon the nation’s woeful internet speed.
Costing around £10m, the “full-fibre” cabling pilot will provide data transfer speeds of up to 1Gb/sec. With these speeds, you’d be able to download a Blu-ray quality film in under five seconds, or a PS4 game in around a minute. Currently the UK bottoms out at just 16.5Mbits/sec.
The pilot will focus on providing businesses, schools and hospitals with the technology and those who live in Aberdeen, West Sussex, Coventry, Warwickshire, Bristol, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester will be able to trial the technology before anyone else in the UK.
A full-fibre connection uses fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology to bring the fibre data cables usually reserved connecting to cabinets for copper to home connections. FTTP is not only a much faster connection because it provides a user with full, unrestricted access to the complete fibre data pipe, but also for creating a more reliable connection.
Currently only 2% of the UK has access to a full-fibre network. Most fibre connections in the UK actually provide fibre to a local cabinet, where the data is then transferred to home via older, and slower, copper cabling. It’s claimed that, via this method, 93% of the UK can access superfast broadband which only requires 24Mb/sec transfer speeds.
The switch to faster, more reliable connections should lead to a boost in the UK economy. It would allow for the creation of new jobs, along with growth opportunities for existing businesses.
Countries like Singapore have managed to boost their economy through the use of high-speed fibre networks. The UK government hopes the same will happen here with gigabit speeds allowing for improvements in both healthcare and education.
According to the BBC, market analysts don’t believe UK households will see much of an improvement if the scheme eventually rolls out to housing premises. It’s believed that gigabit-capable cables will simply be shared across many different premises, bringing internet speeds down from gigabit-to-home to something far less revolutionary. Still, it would allow for a more stable connection and improve upon current speed standards, which put the UK at 16.5Mb/sec in a recent independent investigation.
The money required for such a project comes from a £200m fund announced in the budget earlier this year. The government aims to spend the remaining £190m of the fund on infrastructure projects by the end of 2021.