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Major network upgrades headed to the UK

By Max Burkhalter
November 3, 2011
The United Kingdom is poised to see significant growth in broadband networks to both homes and businesses during the past few years. The country is amid a period of rapid broadband implementation that will see significant new investments during the next five years, according to a Point Topic study.

Point Topic predicts there will be more than 10.5 million high-speed broadband lines installed in the United Kingdom during the next five years. Cable broadband installation is also expected to rise substantially during that time. According to Point Topic, this will create an environment where more than 60 percent of broadband customers will be using broadband with speeds up to 30 Mbps by the end of 2016. This represents more than half of all homes and businesses in the country.

Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic, explained that the predictions for such rapid growth of broadband services are risky in nature.

"It’s still a risky and controversial forecast. It is always difficult to predict something which is expected to grow so fast. If the forecast is correct, the number of superfast lines will grow 50 times over between mid-2011 and the end of 2016," said Johnson.

The study is also somewhat unpredictable because most high-speed broadband connections are being designed with fiber to the cabinet technology. Success has been limited for FTTC networks in the United States and other nations with mature broadband networks, and the strategy may not work well in Britain either. The problem with FTTC is that it uses high-performance optical lines to the network cabinet in the neighborhood, but then depends on traditional phone lines to deliver data to end users, slowing speeds and limiting bandwidth.

While fiber to Ethernet media conversion makes an FTTC connection a sensible solution for many broadband deployments, the converter's efficiency cannot overcome the limitations of the aging copper infrastructure used in traditional telephone lines. As a result, fiber to the premise, a technology that brings optical cabling directly to a house, business or other structure before converting it to internal unshielded twisted pair cables is becoming more popular in many areas.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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