Whilst we wait for a 2021 delivery of a predominantly fibre to the premises network, in the UK Openreach is on track to deliver fibre to the cabinet to two thirds of the population by the middle of next year. Already they’re offering speeds of 80 Mbps, with the promise of faster speeds with vectoring.
So what of the issues of decaying copper and demand for faster speeds from a public bent on fibre all the way? Mike Galvin, Managing Director Network Investment at Openreach, has been involved in several network roll outs. He says copper still has a lot of life in it and its continued use in the new network avoids the high cost and disruption of taking fibre into every building.
It seems we can learn a lot from the UK approach. First, about compromise: taking on too much is never a smart move. Secondly, give the job to someone who’s done it before. In Australia, that must mean it’s a job for Telstra.
Of course, it’s a far simpler arrangement in the UK. Openreach is building the solution off its own back, as part of a functionally separated incumbent telco. If Telstra had been split the same way years back they probably would have done the same thing.