Sean Williams, group strategy director at BT, told a House Of Lords Select Committee meeting on Tuesday that BT’s FTTC (Fibre-To-The-Cabinet) and other copper-based technologies have sufficient speed and capacity for the future. He went on to say:
“Once you put an 80Mbps FTTC service into the premises the broadband network is no longer the speed bottleneck. The home Wi-Fi or devices can’t cope with the speeds, or at the other end, the servers serving communications can’t deliver the speed.”
There are a number of problems with this controversial assertion. Firstly it assumes that everyone will be able to get top performance from an FTTC service, whereas in reality the copper/aluminium cable from the cabinet has to be quite short, in good condition, and not suffering from interference. Secondly it ignores the fact that current equipment attached to broadband connections is designed to work at the speed of those connections. If you are lucky enough to be able to order a faster service, you will be supplied with appropriate equipment. Thirdly it completely ignores those who really and urgently need the national FTTP coverage in the first place; the small and medium size businesses who need to connect their systems together, and those working from home. To help get this economy back on its feet through innovation, and to be internationally competitive, people working at different locations need to connect as if they were all in the same office. Why should we not be able to work efficiently from anywhere, when the technology exists, is cheap enough for a bunch of farmers to be able to fund it themselves, and is the preferred solution almost everywhere else in the world? Who are BT to tell us that we must make do with the crippled stop-gap solution known as FTTC for the foreseeable future? And then to suggest that even this will take them another decade to finish? Please do read more about this at BT: Not all of the UK needs full fibre broadband and any comments added below.