Fibre misuse is “coming back to bite” broadband industry

A green telecom cabinet advertising the release of fibre broadband in the area
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Internet service provider's misuse of the term ‘fibre’ is “coming back to bite” the broadband industry.

That's according to GigaHead's head of policy and regulation James Fredrickson, who made the statement during the first day of the Connected Britain conference.

“Our industry suffered from the use of the word fibre,” he told attendees. “Now it's coming back to bite the industry, where actually the operators who may have been responsible for that misuse [of the term ‘fibre’] are suddenly going to sell full-fibre, and how do you do it?”

‘Fibre’ has been a popular term for providers to refer to fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband, whereby fibre cables are used only for part of the cable’s journey. For example, the fibre would be installed to the point of the customer’s local cabinet where it would switch over to the slower and less reliable copper wire, creating greater latency and thus customer dissatisfaction - potentially making them feel wary about switching to full-fibre.

Fredricksen called on regulatory and competition authority Ofcom to do more to tackle the issue and raise awareness of the advantages of upgrading to full-fibre broadband, as the industry struggles to market the technology to customers.


The ultimate guide to business connectivity in field services

A roadmap to increased workplace efficiency


“I think in that respect, having a convenient process through Ofcom that tries to find an industry solution to actually talking about the unique benefits of that infrastructure in a consistent way, is a very sensible way of resolving that problem,” he said.

Ofcom’s group director of Networks and Communications Lindsey Fussell, who was also present at Connected Britain’s roundtable discussion, didn’t address Fredricksen claims. IT Pro has contacted Ofcom for comment.

The calls follow the news that half of all premises in the UK now have access to gigabit-capable broadband. However, the public awareness of the technology has also been found to be low – recent research commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) found that only a third of the UK’s smallest businesses have ever heard about the technology.

This lack of awareness was even higher among consumers, with almost 60% of those surveyed admitting that they were not aware that Gigabit-capable broadband existed.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.