Fibre Broadband for Cornwall

BT is to provide super-fast broadband to up to 90% of homes in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, in the biggest rural fibre optic roll-out in the UK to date.

This is great news for me and many others but what exactly does it mean? “Up to 90% of homes” means absolutely squat and I’m surprised they chose to word it in this manner when there’s so much controversy over the advertising of broadband speeds “up to”.

My other concern is the rural aspect of this. It’s impossible to roll out rural broadband to 90% of Cornwall’s users where nowhere close to 90% of Cornwall’s population is rural. I’ll be seriously disappointed if they hit that 90% target but simply supplying the areas of densest population. I.e. The non-rural parts of Cornwall.

My next concern is this statement:

BT has decided to use a 50:50 mix of fibre-to-the-home technology (FTTH) and the slower fibre-to-the-cabinet technology (FTTC) in Cornwall.

FTTH connects houses and premises to high-speed cables, whilst FTTC still relies on slower copper cables to connect homes to BT street cabinets.

First of all, copper is not slower than fibre: They both deliver a signal at near light speed between two points. In fact copper is slightly quicker because light bounces around inside a fibre, thus having to travel further. The disadvantage of copper is the rate of signal degradation over distance. For super-fast broadband, copper is good for about 100M whilst fibre will stretch to about 2500M. They’ll both go further but at the cost of performance. Of course I’d love to get FTTH but I’ll be surprised and delighted if BT run me a dedicated fibre over the 2KM between my house and the exchange. Maybe I’m just a pessimist. Time will tell.

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