Tuesday, 25 September 2018

British business leaders call for copper network switch-off in 2025

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Wednesday 01 August 18

British business leaders have called for a copper network switch-off date to help drive investment in full fibre network infrastructure

A leading British business think tank has reiterated calls for the government to provide a firm switch off date for the country's copper based, legacy telecommunications networks. The Institute of Directors said that the country's copper network infrastructure should be switched off by the end of 2025, to expedite the move towards full fibre…

A leading British business think tank has reiterated calls for the government to provide a firm switch off date for the country's copper based, legacy telecommunications networks.

The Institute of Directors said that the country's copper network infrastructure should be switched off by the end of 2025, to expedite the move towards full fibre, gigabit capable connectivity. The call echoes recommendations laid out in the government commissioned National Infrastructure Report, which also called for copper switch-off to occur by 2025.  

"With an ever-changing world of work, business should be looking to enable employees to work flexibly. Unfortunately, firms are paying the price for the neglect of full fibre connectivity. We are jogging while the rest of the world is sprinting. We need a copper switch-off date of 2025 or soon after," said Dan Lewis, senior advisor on Infrastructure at the Institute of Directors.

Lewis also echoed calls for fibre rollout to be prioritised as a matter of urgency, particularly to customers living in rural and hard to reach communities.

"Where you live should not determine your ability to work, or even start a business, with flexibility. The internet should be creating a more level playing-field for businesses regardless of location, but uneven broadband coverage means the opposite is true. For many firms, particularly in rural areas, poor connections lead to lost business and missed opportunities."

The recommendation comes at an opportune moment for UK based fibre network specialists CityFibre, who yesterday launched their own "Coppersaurus" campaign to highlight the deficiencies of the UK's copper based network architecture. CityFibre intends to rollout 1 million fibre to the home connections in twelve cities across the UK, in phase one of its partnership with Vodafone. Phase two and three could see that figure scale up to 5 million premises by 2025.

Openreach's Fibre First campaign has pledged to deliver 3 million FTTH connections by 2020, scaling to 10 million by the mid-2020s, assuming investment conditions are right.

The UK government has said that it is aiming for 100% FTTH penetration across the country by 2033. However, with the clamour of voices calling for copper switch-off to happen by 2025, the government could be forced to bring that target forward, or risk a connectivity blackhole forming between copper switch off and ubiquitous fibre penetration.  

 

Also in the news: 

Ofcom raises concerns over out-of-contract broadband pricing 

78% of Brits left frustrated by their broadband

Openreach to rollout 25,000 FTTH connections in Greater London 

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