A major new report has been published arguing Britain should greatly accelerate the expansion of true fibre networks to meet growing needs for faster, more reliable internet connectivity. The report argues the UK has been fixated on download speed with its broadband overlooking other ‘quality factors’ which are going to be key in our digital future: low latency, reliability, lower energy consumption and the importance of upload speeds and more symmetrical services (closer upload and download speeds). The report is was produced by INCA (the organisation representing a new generation of digital infrastructure builders and internet service providers – the Altnets) and argues that their members have already exceeded the fibre to the premises (FTTP) of the big two – BT Openreach and Virgin Media – and could play an either bigger role in extending FTTP services. ‘Building Britain’s Gigabit Future’ also argues the UK is markedly behind other OECD countries with FTTP availability and needs an urgent National Gigabit Strategy in order to stimulate the fibre market. The report makes a series of recommendations for how 80% FTTP availability could be achieved by 2026.
In Bristol, altnets are active providing FTTP connections. CityFibre recently launched in the city and a concession was recently agreed between a consortium (B-Net Ultra) and the city council to use and expand a network of underground ducts the council owns for new fibre services. These two altnets, and others like Hyperoptic serving high density developments, can provide true fibre services.
Fibre business-grade lease lines are also available from BT, whilst Virgin Media use their network to also offer ultra fast business-grade services.