On 24 July 2019, Boris Johnson used his very first speech as Prime Minister outside 10 Downing Street to outline his vision for strengthening and uniting the UK. Alongside education and road and rail infrastructure, he cited full-fibre broadband as a key part of his plans.
At Swish, we are obsessed with building new full-fibre broadband networks to help unlock better connected lifestyles, communities and businesses. But while broadband has become a vital utility for millions of us in 21st century Britain, you may be left wondering why the PM felt it important enough to feature in his opening address? You could be thinking that Fibre broadband is here today for large parts of the UK, so left questioning why it’s so high up on the new government’s agenda?
Cue Team Swish to dispel some of the myths and confusion around the question of fibre…
I have fibre broadband. What’s the big fuss?
Today, full-fibre broadband is in its infancy here in the UK. As of January 2019, only 7% of premises use full-fibre broadband, with the majority of households relying on our vast metal copper network used for telecommunications since the Victorian era.
To put this in perspective with the rest of the world, the UK has only just joined Fibre to the Home Council Europe’s annual country rankings in 34th and last place for strongest subscriber penetration of full-fibre to the household or premises.
The previous government set a date of 2033 for full-fibre networks to cover all of the UK, at which point the copper network will be retired and replaced with a solution far better at meeting our ever-increasing demands for connectivity.
So what exactly is full-fibre broadband?
Full-fibre broadband uses fibre-optic cables to connect directly to your home or business premises. With current full-fibre speeds of around 900Mbps for both download and uploads, these networks are capable of far greater speeds still, making them infinitely upgradeable to fulfil the needs of generations of households to come.
But I already have fibre broadband?
You may be one of the lucky 700,000 households that currently enjoy full-fibre broadband. However, the chances are that you have fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband (FTTC), with the final connection to your home being made by the humble copper wire.
These ‘part fibre’ broadband connections are generally much slower than full-fibre and vary significantly in speed, depending on factors such as current demands on the network by your community and how far your property is from your local exchange or cabinet.
‘Part fibre’ broadband providers are currently allowed to advertise their services using ‘fibre’ terminology.
So how can I get full-fibre broadband?
Companies like Swish Fibre are leading the way by building the new full-fibre networks of the future.
Swish Fibre will be initially building networks within a commutable distance of London and have initially identified 250,000 properties that fall into this category. Swish has designed its first fibre networks and have put in place the supply chain and contractual agreements to ‘break ground’ as early as the last part of 2019.
We’d love to keep you fully up to speed with progress with our ambitious build and roll-out plans for our network, including details of where and when you will be able to join Swish. You can register your interest in updates from Swish here.