BT has announced 47 Scottish communities that are to receive an upgrade to their broadband which will see faster broadband for over 180,000 homes and businesses.
BT are to upgrade the 47 communities with next generation copper broadband which will see broadband speed up to 20Mb being made available to those whose exchange is upgraded. This upgrade is not a fibre broadband upgrade that is being done across other parts of the country but it will still see the broadband speeds of over 180,000 homes and businesses increase hopefully by over double!
Earlier this month the plans for 695,500 homes and businesses in Scotland to receive super fast fibre broadband were announced and should see this rolled out by the end of 2012.
The areas to receive the upgraded copper network are:
- Angus – Kirriemuird, Monifieth.
- Ayrshire – Girvan, Maybole, Stewarton, Alloway.
- Borders – Hawick and Selkirk.
- Clackmannanshire – Alva.
- Dumfries & Galloway – Stranraer.
- East Lothian – Haddington.
- East Renfrewshire – Eaglesham.
- Fife – Anstruther, Ladybank, Burntisland, Kennoway, Ballingry, Cowdenbeath, Newport/Wormit, Kelty.
- Grampian – Huntly, Kintore/TRS, Lossiemouth, Bucksburn, Banchory, Culter, Peterhead, Portlethen.
- Highland – Alness, Dingwall, Grantown-on-Spey, Invergordon, Fort William, Oban.
- Orkney Islands – Kirkwall.
- Perthshire – Stanley, Bridge of Earn.
- Shetland Isles – Lerwick.
- Stirlingshire – Bridge of Allan.
- Strathclyde – Maryhill, Springburn, Bishopbriggs, Busby and Stepps.
- West Lothian – Armadale, West Calder, Fauldhouse.
UK consumers are slow on the take up of superfast broadband according to Ofcom who have released their annual Communications Market Report.
Ofcom say that around 59% of the country has access to superfast broadband via either Virgin Media’s cable broadband or BT’s new fibre broadband network, yet despite this only 4% of households have taken up the superfast broadband option (as of June 2011) with most staying put on standard cheaper broadband deals. Ofcom rate superfast broadband speeds as broadband that is faster than 24Mb, this takes out ADSL2+ as users won’t be able to receive faster that the theoretical maximum that is offered by this.
The likely reason to this is the cost element. With the average broadband speed consumers in the UK receive coming in at 6.8Mb it is highly likely for many people (especially in these financially unstable times) that the broadband connection they currently have is more than sufficient for what they need for everyday use without needing to upgrade to more expensive yet much faster fibre broadband. For many the time to jump to fibre broadband will be when the applications and internet use they need requires faster broadband or that the cost of fibre broadband comes down to a level closer to what they are currently paying.
For the average Internet user currently most internet applications such as video streaming and general surfing perform well enough with the average broadband speeds we receive, however, going forward with more applications and more usage this could soon start to mean faster speeds are needed and will be when it becomes more of a need and requirement to upgrade to fibre.
Another reason might be because there hadn’t been too much advertising of fibre broadband services too, so consumers are unaware of what is available to them, especially as many broadband providers such as Sky have yet to start offering fibre broadband.
Fibre broadband take up in Japan is at 40% with 10% in America, Germany is slightly less with just 3%, Spain 2.2% and Italy 1.5%.
BT Openreach have announced a further 178 exchanges that to be upgraded to its fibre broadband technology.
The extra exchanges that have been listed will cover around 1.8 million homes and businesses with most of them being connected with FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) with most of them hopefully being connected during 2012.
Currently there are around 6 million premises in the UK that have access to fibre broadband via BT’s “BT Infinity” network and once all the exchanges on the current list and these new exchanges have all been enabled it will see BT having hit 80% of their target coverage of two thirds coverage across the UK by 2014.
BT have already brought forward the date by a year for when they hope to achieve their two thirds coverage by and along with this they also announced not long ago (read here) that they will be doubling their main 40Mb fibre broadband product to 80Mb next year too.
BT’s headline full fibre product (limited availability) will also be increased from 110Mb to a whopping 300Mb in early 2012 too, this is a huge difference that the current average broadband speed test result of 6.8Mb that the UK currently has. Unfortunately most of the UK will be connected by FTTC (the current 40Mb one) and not the full FTTH (Fibre To The Home) that will see the up to 300Mb speeds.
Although BT are investing £2.5bn in their fibre network to cover two thirds of the UK, they do believe that with extra investment and funding that around 90% of the UK could be covered with fibre broadband. This requires some of the money from the BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) scheme to help BT roll out fibre that bit further.
The full list of the 178 exchanges that BT have announced can be viewed at www.btplc.com.
90% of the UK should have fibre broadband connections in 5 to 6 years according to BT’s main man.
David Cameron visited BT’s Adastral Park research HQ near to Ipswich where they were told by BT’s Chief Executive, Ian Livingstone, that fibre optic broadband could be available to 90% of homes and businesses within 5 to 6 years.
BT are currently aiming to have two thirds of the country connected to its fibre network in just 3 years time (by the end of 2014). However, the final push will be a time consuming and expensive for BT hence why it could be up to 6 years before there is 90% coverage with fibre broadband.
BT are investing £2.5bn in its fibre network to upgrade from copper wires to fibre optic cable. The majority of connections people will receive will be FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) as apposed to full fibre to the premises (FTTP). FTTC has fibre optics being used from the main exchange to the streetside cabinets and then the standard copper cable to go from the cabinet to peoples premises, only a small number will receive full fibre to the cabinet and then fibre form the cabinet to their premises, although this offers far greater speeds it is also far more costly to do.
Other funding for fibre comes from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme that sees around £530m from the government to help fund rural broadband schemes where it is not as financially viable for the likes of BT or Virgin Media to deploy their improved services.
Sky Broadband have installed some new fibre technology into part of it’s network that which works at 100Gb and will result in a more stable and reliable network for Sky broadband customers although it won’t mean a speed increase for customers.
The Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) is 100Gb technology and will help future proof the Sky broadband network as it is able to transfer around 10 times more data than current networks. It will be able to transfer around 7Tb (Terabits) per second and Sky claim that the technology will enable 4.6 million users to stream HD movies simultaneously.
Currently this 100Gb upgrade to the network has only been done between London and Birmingham with a further 5 more locations across the country also set to be upgraded in the next year.
Although the speed of the network is increasing this won’t have an end result of faster speeds for Sky broadband customers, what it will mean though is that going forward Sky will be able to deal with the ever increasing demands for data across it’s network.
Sky broadband don’t manage internet traffic at peak times despite Sky having around 3.4 million broadband customers that have seen an average growth in data usage of 60% per customer. They also believe that by June 2012 that the average Sky data usage will double from 350GB of data per second to 700Gb per second.
The Commercial Director at Sky Broadband, Jon Blumberg, said:
“As an entertainment and communications company with a heritage in great TV and movies, our broadband network has been designed to handle exactly this kind of data-rich content.
With the rapid adoption of services such as Sky Anytime+ and Sky Go, our customers are streaming and downloading more than ever before, as well as watching record levels of traditional TV. Sky Broadband really was built with entertainment in mind and the network innovations we’re announcing today will make sure we’re in good shape to continue to satisfy the demands of our customers.“