Feeds

Digital divide looms again over superfast broadband for all

Crunch time for next gen access

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

An influential internet industry group said today it would cost almost £29bn to deploy a 1Gbit/s new fibre optic line to every home and business in the UK, raising the spectre of a renewed digital divide if operators are able to neglect rural rollout in favour of more profitable urban infrastructure.

The finding comes shortly before a key government advisor on next generation broadband makes his recommendations.

The Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG), a policy body funded by a who's who of net giants, said the market could probably justify investing in dedicated fibre to about two thirds of the UK population who live in densely populated urban areas.

Alternative technology known as Gigabit passive optical network (GPON) could deliver fibre to the home via a 2.5Gbit/s link shared between 32 premises. The BSG estimates GPON would bring the cost down to £25.5bn. The short-term option of pushing new cable to roadside cabinets (FTTC), allowing for downstream speeds of between 30 and 100Mbit/s using VDSL over existing copper lines, would cost about £5.1bn.

Interestingly, BSG reckons the long term cost of operating a FTTH network will be 30 per cent less than BT spends running the existing copper lines. A FTTC deployment while cheaper in the short term would actually cost more to run than current infrastructure, it said.

The groups's sums have been given as evidence to Francesco Caio, the government's advisor on next generation broadband, who reports next week. He has already said in interviews that he doesn't believe the UK's lack of a coherent next generation internet strategy is causing it to lag behind competitor nations.

Caio also signalled he will likely advise against state subsidies for fibre, suggesting rural areas might be served by wireless technolgies.

The Ofcom Consumer Panel some pre-Caio report lobbying last week, arguing that country dwellers were neglected during ADSL deployment and must not be left behind again.

BSG chief executive Anthony Walker said: "The scale of the costs looks daunting but the report does shed light on how some of these costs can be reduced and what the likely extent of commercial rollout will be. It should focus minds of commercial players, policy makers and regulators on the potential solutions to these challenges."

Most of the extra expense of FTTH compared to FTTC is accounted for by digging up roads and other civil engineering costs, BSG said. It recommends that big savings can be made by sharing ducting with utilities companies, a policy that has proved successful in France and is currently under review by Ofcom.

The group's full rundown (pdf) is here. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.