Consumers need to take the FTTH fight to their MPs

By Sooraj Shah
22 Feb 2013 View Comments
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Consumers need to reach out to local MPs to raise awareness of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), after the UK failed to even qualify for the FTTH Council's recent rankings.

Further reading

The FTTH Council Europe is a not-for-profit organisation set up to lobby for a rollout of FTTH. Its FTTH Market Panaroma records the number of subscribers in each country across Europe and ranks them according to the percentage of homes taking a direct fibre line connection. It does not include BT's fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) approach.

To be included in the FTTH ranking, a country must have more than one per cent of households or a minimum of 200,000 households connected to FTTH. The number of UK households using FTTH stands at less than 0.1 per cent.

Number one in the rankings, Russia, added 2.2 million new FTTH subscribers in the second half of 2012 – more than all of the 27 member states of the EU combined, to reach a total of 7.5 million homes. Meanwhile, Lithuania had 100 per cent coverage of FTTH and more than 31 per cent of homes connected to fibre, and Sweden has 22.6 per cent of homes with FTTH subscriptions.

Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle Central and shadow minister for the Cabinet Office told Computing that if the public wrote to their local MPs to find out more about the debate surrounding FTTH and FTTC, it would help to raise more of an awareness throughout government.

"Not only would [the member of the public] get a response but it would mean that the MP in question would have to look further into the matter and this in itself will raise awareness," she said.

"Clearly not all MPs have the knowledge but they will write to the minister responsible to find out more and that has got to be part of the objective."

During the official opening of the FTTH conference, Onwurah said FTTC, which is currently being deployed on a wide scale by BT, is not enough to help the UK's economy grow.

"I've heard we don't need FTTH because of vectoring the FTTC connections but the speeds fall off a cliff after 400m, meaning that this is a misuse of the message," she said.

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