Labour Party has promised to give every home and business in the UK free full-fibre broadband by 2030 if it wins the general election. The plan would see millions more properties given access to a full-fibre connection, though Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “a crackpot scheme”.
There are three main types of broadband connection that link the local telephone exchange to your home or office: ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) uses copper cables to a street-level cabinet or junction box and on to the house. FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) uses a faster fibre optic cable to the cabinet, but then copper cable from there to the house. FTTP (fibre to the premises) uses a fibre optic cable to connect to households without using any copper cable.
Currently, the UK government defines superfast broadband as having speeds greater than 30 megabits per second (Mbps). Megabits per second is the standard measurement of internet speed.
Ultrafast is defined as a speed greater than 100Mbps. A connection using both fibre and copper (FTTC) can reach speeds of about 66Mbps. But a full-fibre connection (FTTP) – with no copper – can offer much faster average speeds of one gigabit per second (Gbps) – that’s 1,000Mbps.
Predicting what the future holds for technology is obviously difficult. But full-fibre broadband, where ultra-fast optical cables carry data right into your home or office, is currently the “gold standard”.
“There is no doubt that we need fibre connectivity, in particular all the way to the home. That’s something everybody is on board with across the industry and political parties,” said Matthew Howett, an analyst at Assembly Research.
While full-fibre connections can currently promise speeds of one gigabit per second, future upgrades could potentially offer speeds in terabits per second. (One terabit equals 1,000 gigabits.)
That could be made possible by replacing the equipment at either end of the cables – in the telephone exchange and at home – without laying new cables.
If, come 2030, there is a new emerging technology and countries are thinking about replacing their full-fibre systems, the UK would start on the same footing.―Nation