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Welcome to:   Fibre Optic Broadband

Getting to the Future takes Time:
Fibre optic is supposed to be the 'next big thing' in broadband terms, offering super fast speeds according to the marketing blurb. However, it's not all hype because the principle of carrying light signals along glass fibres does ensure much faster transmission speeds than are possible with the normal co-axial copper wire. The other advantage is that there is minimal speed deterioration in fibre optic cable, unlike copper wire where speed can fall away quickly over long distances.

The current problem with fibre optic is its lack of availability. Cable supplier Virgin Media has converted its network but this is not available everywhere. Additionally, fibre optic is only installed to street cabinets, with copper wire still going from there into premises.


The Leaders are playing Catch-up:
The only other fibre optic operator currently is BT, which started a pilot scheme to 10,000 new homes in Kent in 2008 and followed up with trials for existing customers in London and South Glamorgan in 2009. BT aims to deliver fibre optic broadband to 10 million homes by 2012. Added to a claimed 9 million homes for Virgin, this suggests substantial inroads being made into the total number of homes with broadband.

Local loop unbundling means that BT's network will be made available to other ISPs and there have been calls for the Virgin network to be opened up in the same way. However, with copper likely to be used for the final connection into existing premises for the foreseeable future, (unless you're planning on spending the cash yourself to upgrade) the provision of a true, countrywide fibre optic network seems a long way off.



Fibre Optic Broadband News

Wales Economy Being Brought Down by Poor Broadband: A Welsh affairs committee has stated that the economy of Wales is being harmed by poor broadband and this could be leading to less investment. The committee has suggested that the Welsh and UK governments should join forces to ensure that there is better broadband access in Wales. David Davies, the MP for the Monmouth area has pointed out that there are still some parts of Wales where th...


Everything Everywhere Launches 4G for 16 Cities in the UK: Everything Everywhere officially launched their new 4G mobile service this week and announced they expect it to be available in 16 UK cities by the end of the year. Subscribers to the 4G service will have the advantage of being able to access the Internet at speeds which are five times faster than those currently available. In addition, users may have access to the new iPhone 5 with a 4G...


Customers Overpaying £1billion in Broadband Fees Because They Don't Ask: A study conducted by uSwitch has indicated that broadband customers could be overpaying by £120 a year because they have never switched their provider. The company estimates that half of the 21 million households in the UK have never switched and that this amounts to £1.1 billion wasted each year. One third of people are paying £20 a month or more for their broadband wh...


'Digital Divide' in the UK is Growing as Rural Areas get Left Behind: It has been suggested that the digital divide in the UK is getting wider as investment in broadband networks is still being confined to urban areas. Mark Jackson from ISPReview has commented that major towns and cities are already moving on to super fast broadband speeds while those living in rural areas are struggling with speeds which are significantly slower or they have no service at...


UK to be Fastest Broadband Country in Europe with 24Mbps to 90% of Customers by 2015: The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has stated that the UK will have the fastest broadband of any European country by 2015. He defined fast broadband as anything over 24Mbps and said it will be available to 90% of the country by then. His comments have been met with heavy criticism after they were made at a speech at Google's London campus this week. Mr Hunt was defending himself after a Lords repor...


CMA Suggests Opening the Dark Fibre Network: The chief of the Communications Management Association (CMA) has suggested that opening up the dark fibre network could reap rewards for the telecommunications industry and help to spread faster broadband throughout the UK. Dark fibre is a term for those stretches of network which are not used by any provider in particular and allow the user to choose which provider they want. David Harr...


Lords Communication Committee Says Government Focus on Speed is Harmful: A Lords Communication Committee has released a report which indicates that the government's broadband strategy is focusing too heavily on speed and is ignoring the fact that many communities are failing to receive a decent service at all. The government has said that it wants to have the fastest broadband service in Europe by 2015, however the Lord's report suggests that there is a risk...


Broadband Speeds in Scotland Are Falling says uSwitch: The comparison site uSwitch has released a survey which indicates that broadband speeds in Scotland have actually fallen this year and many UK households are stuck with slow speeds. The average UK broadband speed has actually risen by 16% over the past year, according to their figures, but almost 30% of the UK still has speeds of less than 3Mb. 21% are still dealing with slow speeds of l...


Broadband Providers Fighting it out by Complaining About Each Other's Adverts: Virgin has been told off by the Advertising Standards Authority after they brought a complaint to them regarding the most recent Sky ads for unlimited broadband. Virgin argued that Sky cannot claim to have unlimited broadband because the speed of their service was so slow. The ASA pointed out that this was not misleading because most consumers would be aware that the speed of their Inter...


New Free Mobile Broadband Service Available - Watch Adverts Then Surf Free: A new mobile broadband service is being offered by Samba and it will be free. The service will offer free, advertising supported data for mobile computer users. Subscribers will need to buy a sim card from Samba and an optional dongle. As long as they watch videos from advertisers, their credit will start to build up. However the service is tracked and users are warned that their interne...


UK Government Spends £3million on Broadband 'Consultants' - EU Investigates: The Government has been forced to put its broadband rollout on hold while the plan is investigated by the European Commission. The Broadband Delivery framework was designed to rollout superfast broadband across the UK by 2015, giving the UK the best broadband in Europe. However just two providers have been chosen to put in bids for the work - Fujitsu and BT. The European Commission feel ...


Talk Talk the 'Most Complained About' Broadband Provider: The latest figures from Ofcom have revealed that Talk Talk still receives more complaints than any other broadband or fixed line provider. Sky, Virgin Media and O2 have the lowest number of complaints. During the first quarter of 2012, Talk Talk received 0.56 complaints per 1,000 customers, while BT received 0.38 and Sky received just 0.15. It is thought that the failing of Talk Talk is ...


Broadband is like Water & Electricity - You Could be Wasting It!: Broadband provider Talk Talk has suggested that simple home maintenance could be enough to improve download speeds for some customers. The provider believes that as many as half a million broadband users could be losing up to 4Mbs simply because their in-home set up is poor. Dan Dowham from Talk Talk has stated that changing wiring, routers and phone sockets could be enough to speed up I...


Broadcasters & Broadband Providers Get Together for YouView - Download TV Programs: The chief executive of Virgin Media Neil Birkett has spoken to the London Evening Standard this week regarding the introduction of YouView which is expected to be launched this year. The service will be subscription free and will allow the downloading of television programs from the major channels. It is a joint venture between the major broadcasters and broadband providers such as Talk ...


Farmers Don't Need Fast Broadband, Surely? Posh Folks Problems Must Come First: A suggestion that people living in rural areas and in particular farmers, do not need high speed internet access has led to fury among farming populations. Graham Jones, the MP for Haslingden and Hyndburn has suggested that the funding for broadband is best spent in urban areas because investment in rural areas will not lead to more jobs. The Countryside Alliance has hit back at the comm...


Talk Talk & Microsoft Partner to Offer Low Income Households a Computer and Broadband: Talk Talk has joined together with Microsoft to offer broadband and a PC to those people who cannot afford to get connected. The scheme could see people offered computers for as little as £49 plus a Talk Talk broadband connection for just £5 a month. A laptop could cost just £149 with £30 off for those on benefits. The PC's will come with Microsoft software instal...


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