Businesses and consumers are still quite a few years away from being able to benefit from fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband, according to Alun Morgan, technical director at UK manufacturer Arcol.
Arcol produces resistors for the electronics industry, with customers including the Olympics and Nasa. It is one of the businesses to benefit from Superfast Cornwall, a project which aims to deploy 130,000km of fibre-optic cable throughout the area, bringing faster broadband to 95 per cent of homes and businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Nigel Ashcroft, programme director for Cornwall Development Company, which alongside BT, the European Union and Cornwall Council has funded the project, said that a large percentage of investment in Cornwall is for FTTH.
"It's about 30 per cent of the connections that are being built with fibre directly coming to the home or premise, and that's unusual in comparison with other rural locations around the country," he said.
Arcol is one such company that has connected to the FTTH broadband, enabling it to achieve download speeds of more than 90Mbps, and when asked by Computing at a BT event in London earlier today whether the jump from fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) to FTTH is a similar shift as that from ADSL to FTTC, Morgan claimed that Arcol could have had the same benefits, albeit at slower speeds, than it does currently with FTTH if it had FTTC.
"The biggest benefit is that we used to have 40-odd people working on one site; now we have a distributed workforce, with people who had to commute between 50 and 100 miles a day being able to use their home connection," he said. "Those people have a home connection [on FTTC] that has jumped from 1Mbps to 30Mbps, and its ability to interact with our [FTTH] 100Mbps service is absolutely incredible.
"Whether or not we actually need FTTH, I think we're quite a few years away from that. Most of us can do everything we want to do with about 20 or 30Mbps."
Morgan said that it would be "hard to determine" whether this would be the case for larger organisations.
He said that being involved in Superfast Cornwall has enabled the company to allow its staff to work from home a few days each week, increasing overall productivity at the firm.
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