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Ofcom Pushes For Fibre Optic Broadband

Gordon Kelly


Ofcom Pushes For Fibre Optic Broadband

While Ofcom can be accused of being somewhat snail-like in its movements, those movements do tend to have the customer at heart and following its assault on roaming charges, promotion of High Definition terrestrial TV and crackdown on dodgy ISP speed claims it is now pushing for faster broadband for all.

Key most in this is the investment and eventual proliferation of 'Fibre Optic broadband' - a technology no doubt known to many, but for the uninitiated it could means speeds of up to 100Mbit in our homes and offices. Naturally this all comes at immense cost however since our existing networks would need to be significantly upgraded and it is expected to require between £10-15 billion to switch over 80 per cent of the existing infrastructure.

"Here as much as anywhere we need to ensure that there is a healthy environment for investment - which can support, in turn, competition and innovation," said Ed Richards, Ofcom CEO. "We want investment in a competitive environment. Our position is clear. Ofcom favours a regulatory environment for the next generation of networks and access that both allows and encourages operators to make risky investments, to innovate for the benefit of consumers and, if the risks pay off, for the benefit of their shareholders too. Superfast broadband will be central to the way we live in the future. Alongside mobile broadband, it will, in time, have a similar impact on our society and economy as the first generation of broadband."

Minions: we have a new industry darling.

So what of the time schedules in all this? Well, Sky is rumoured to be starting preliminary fibre based trials as we speak while Virgin aims to challenge this with its long-awaited 50Mbps cable service before the end of the year.

Still while 100Mbps-capable packages aren't likely to appear for some time, the current crackdown on P2P file sharing may curb the enthusiasm of its most eager proponents anyway. Though that's an argument for another day...


via Broadband Choices

Peter A

July 8, 2008, 7:50 pm

Of course, this is good news. Faster is better, but the fight over download limits needs to be won first. What good is all that speedy access to the ever more interesting (hello iPlayer) online content when you get booted / throttling from your ISP for using more than 40Gb a month - which let's face it, even just two year's ago was loads and is now hardly anything.


July 8, 2008, 8:11 pm

my money is on wireless/4g/5g for the mass market win.... there is a company making hardware (forget who) that will mean o2, voda etc will be able to deliver low cost 30mb down, 10mb up over mobile masts....next year

plug in one of those into your router/pc and your off..... no landline required...

wireless (wi-max) will be another solution.

ISP's would rather do that than dig up streets....

I'll go for whoever has the lowest latency.

or whoever let's me have broadband without having a landline telephone...at a reasonable cost of course ;-)


July 8, 2008, 8:16 pm

I would imagine the increased capacity of fibre will allow download limits to be relaxed somewhat.

But I'm sorry, what exactly are we being grateful to Ofcom for here? The statement quoted in the article doesn't say much more than "fibre is lovely" - where is the regulatory framework that encourages telcos to invest?

I don't see any mention of BT either. It's hard to imagine any worthwhile fibre optic broadband rollout taking place without them.


July 8, 2008, 10:53 pm

I wish Ireland's regulators were like Ofcom. Currently Eircom's plans for the future are 8MB broadband. I wouldn't mind but it will cost the same as 50MB in Paris...


July 9, 2008, 12:08 am

&#16310 billion? Hmm, that's what the London Olympics is going to cost...

Hans Gruber

July 9, 2008, 4:31 pm

"&#16310 billion? Hmm, that's what the London Olympics is going to cost..." or was supposed to cost (give or take a couple of billion)?

The transition to fibre optic could be funded from the defense budget instead. What would benefit the UK most, 2 new 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers equipped with 32 Joint Strike Fighters each (at a combined cost of c.&#16316billion) or super fast broadband for streaming high definition content to our homes? Hmm. Tough call. Maybe just scrap the Olympics...


July 9, 2008, 7:17 pm

Ooh, it's got political. Personally I'd just give all the money to the guys at The Pirate Bay, so they can afford a Johnnie Cochran of intellectual property law.

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