How to win the race for the top of the UK’s silk road with a smart business plan
Posted On July 1, 2021
Business owners around the world have been scrambling to plan ahead for the next few years as the UK prepares to leave the European Union, but the next best thing to a real estate deal is to get involved in the race to become the world’s first nation to build a high-speed fibre optic network.
The UK’s biggest companies have taken advantage of the Brexit-induced uncertainty to take on the race, with some even launching a campaign to woo their local communities with the promise of fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) access to the country’s main arteries.
For those unfamiliar with the UK, FTTN is a technology that allows internet service providers to offer fast speeds to their subscribers, allowing them to access more of the country than before the Brexit vote.
This is why a lot of businesses around the UK are already looking into their fibre optic infrastructure plans, with the government set to release a fibre-optic network strategy on Thursday.
But what about the race itself?
“The race for this infrastructure is actually pretty simple: the best network is the best fibre optic,” said Paul Chaney, managing director of FibreOptics UK, which works with large companies such as BT and Vodafone to create fibre optic networks in the UK.
“And the fibre-based networks that are going to be the best for us as we move into the next 10 years are going get better and better as time goes on.”
So that’s the most important thing, to be able to have good connectivity with all the existing infrastructure around the country.
“And I think we’re in a position to do that.”
It’s a race that’s already started, with local councils in London, Bristol and Birmingham launching fibre-backed fibre optic lines, while in the south of England, the Bristol-based National Broadband Network (NBN) is currently testing the feasibility of deploying fibre to the premises (FTTP) networks in areas that have been traditionally excluded from the fibre optic broadband network (FoBN).
“In the south, we have a very small population, so there’s been a lot less investment in the FTTN network,” Chaney said.
“[There has been] a lot more focus on the FFTN, which is where the big companies are getting the most investment.”
There’s lots of competition out there, so you want to be in the position to have the best connection.
“The FTTP network is available to a limited number of homes and businesses in the capital, with fibre access to businesses including Tesco and Starbucks to be provided through a special “super-fast” line that is connected to a special fibre-coaxial cable.
If the NBN is successful, Chaney believes that the city’s fibre optic access could be “an enormous boost” to the local economy.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re considering whether or not to make the leap into FTTP.
Firstly, Chaneys fibre line is “super fast”, meaning that the cable to it will only take a few seconds to connect, and will only require the installation of a switch to switch on.
Secondly, because the fibre to be used will be 100 per cent fibre-recoveryable, Chanes cable will not require any maintenance.
Thirdly, the cable will be connected to the fibre network through a specially designed conduit, meaning it will take about 10 minutes to get to the FTTP nodes.
Finally, as FTTP technology is currently being deployed by only a small number of companies in the country, it is important to remember that this is still just a technology at the stage of being tested, with many firms still deciding on their FTTP plans.
To see if your business could be a part of the next wave of fibre optic innovation, you can get in touch with Fibre Optics UK to get more information about the FTT network, or find out more about the UK fibre-pioneers.
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