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Download a movie in seconds – megafast broadband coming to millions more UK homes

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Feb 23, 2018


More UK homes are set to get ultrafast broadband speeds under an Ofcom plan that will slash the cost of building “full-fibre” networks.

Full-fibre broadband is hugely faster – and around five times more reliable – than today’s superfast internet. It means a movie can be downloaded in a couple of seconds.

It also means huge improvements for businesses sharing massive amounts of data instantly, and it will play in major role in healthcare.

But it’s currently available to just 3% of UK properties. 

Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, has now announced a package of measures to boost  investment in this form of broadband.

This follows a raft of agreements between broadband companies and it’ll mean as many as six million households could receive ultrafast speeds by 2020. 

Cheaper and faster

Under the plans, BT has to make its pole and underground tunnels open to rival providers, making it quicker and easier for them to build their own full-fibre networks directly to households around the UK.

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Virgin Media and CityFibre are already taking advantage of this, but new rules will make it far cheaper for smaller players to enter the market, slashing their upfront costs by around 50%, from £500 a home to £250.

Regulators believe this will drive competition and make ultrafast broadband far more widely available to consumers.

It will also mean far less work to install ultrafast broadband – no more digging up streets. Whereas it currently takes weeks to bring a street online, it’ll happen in hours.

Boosting incentives

Competing providers will invest in building their own networks only if this is more attractive than buying wholesale services from BT, that’s why the price of installation has to come down. 

To prevent BT from snuffing out new investment by rivals as network competition begins, it will be banned from making targeted wholesale price reductions in areas where rivals are starting to build new networks.

Ofcom also says it will tighten rules on repairs and installations. Openreach will be required to fix 88% of faults within two days, up from 80% today.

Fibre broadband

Fibre broadband uses fibre-optic cables, rather than the old copper ones, to super-fast broadband speeds.

There are different kinds and which one is installed determines the broadband speed.

It can vary from a fairly bog-standard 30 megabits per second, right up to one gigabit a second – a high definition movie might will be around three or four gigs.

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