back to article 'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey

Most Brits think ads for “fibre” broadband ought to mean “fibre to the premises” and not “fibre to the cabinet”, according to a survey sponsored by a FTTP company. Two-thirds of 3,400 Britons surveyed by a company called Censuswide, on behalf of Cityfibre, said they think the word “fibre” in ads for broadband connections …

  1. Gerhard Mack

    Same in Canada

    Here we have "Bell Fibe" which usually means fiber to somewhere and could mean 25 mbps max.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Same in Canada

      >Here we have "Bell Fibre" which usually means fiber to somewhere and could mean 25 mbps max.

      Here in the UK we have "Bell Wire", it's what BT string to your house from the fibre cabinet. Fibre should mean fibre to the door as it's more resilient and fit for purpose than crappy old rotten bell wires which are prone to all sorts of faults and interference.

      1. CommanderGalaxian
        Unhappy

        Re: Same in Canada

        The whole "last few hundred yards" statement that BT Openreach & the ISPs trot out is also misleading. The nearest cabinet here is about 0.7 to 0.8 miles away. 1200 yards is not "the last few hundred".

      2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Same in Canada

        Here in the UK we have "Bell Wire", it's what BT string to your house from the fibre cabinet

        Not on any new connection in the last decade or two we haven't. The old grey twin coper-covered-steel cable hasn't been used for new installs for quite a few years now, current installs will use a round black cable containing (typically) two off twisted pairs and three off glass fibre tensile strength members.

        I still agree with the result of the survey though - it's a complete flipping lie that the ISPs deliberately use to confuse the technically ill-educated masses.

    2. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Same in Canada

      @Gerhard:

      the CRTC had to take bell.ca to court to get the "r" removed from that word in their ads. I still had twats from bell showing up on the street insisting that if I switched from my current DSL provider to Bell I would get "fiber" service. I keep pointing out that it is in no way fibre when I have UTP cable coming in the house. (and at the time the local "cabinet" wasn't even on a fibre pipe).

      They get even more pissed off when I point out frequency capability of UTP vs cable.

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Same in Canada

      "...glass wires poking into your router..."

      My Bell Fibe (formerly known as Aliant FibreOP in Nova Scotia and elsewhere) ISP connection has the glass fiber poking into the house, then into the wee feisty Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which is mounted to the basement panel, about 30 cm from the first of several routers and switches. The first link between the ONT and Router are connected with Gb Ethernet, which "...should be enough for anyone."

      We presently subscribe to 300 Mbps service. Gb is available upon request, but they charge more per month.

      Because we have telephone poles (as opposed to cabinets on the ground) in our semi-rural suburban sprawl neighbourhood, the circa-2014 installation of the last 150m segment from the pole to the basement required them less than two hours. We blinked and missed it, found the cable dangling beside the house. Inside work, another two hours. Even stringing up 'the last mile' to service a dozen houses required them only about a day. Not really a big deal, given telephone poles. Advantage suburban sprawl.

      The reason that the telephone company decided to actually do this, was that they can now offer television service (as well as telephone and Internet), the Triple Play money spinner. The television service requires a dedicated ~25 Mbps connection, set aside from the Internet 'bandwidth'.

      YMMV.

      1. ratfox Silver badge

        Re: Same in Canada

        They advertise fiber, but actually that's a fib.

      2. aqk
        Big Brother

        Re: Same in Canada- plus ça change, eh?

        "semi-rural"?

        I live in a RURAL area, less than 60 miles from Montreal. Around 2000-2001, all kinds of fibre was strung on the poles in our neighbourhood. The 21st CENTURY WAS HERE! But then Northern Telecomm went belly-up, John Roth took his big gazillion-dollar retirement package, and all this fibre has now remained dark for the lastt 18 years and counting...

        It mostly ends in refrigerator-sized CO boxes (one is about 1.5 KM from me) and the last 200 M of buried copper is fit only for voice telephones.

        What a shame.

        I'd love to show you my http://fibe.tk but it was repossessed. All I have left to rail against Bell is an old (2008) FIBE 0.037 DIATRIBE.

        Bah! Nothing, NOTHING has improved since then.

        Now I rely upon a geo-stationary satellite 38,000 Km away for both my internet AND telephone. The only thing that Bell seems to be interested in is cell-phones, and from celltowers, they charge insane amounts of $$ for a few Megabits of monthly HTTP.

        Fuck Bell.

    4. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Same in Canada

      Yesterday in Italy the Communication Authority ruled that only FTTB/FTTH can be advertised as "fibre". Other types must be advertised as "mixed copper" or "mixed wireless"..

      Let's see how much and how long the telcos will try to ignore the ruling...

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Same in Canada

        "Yesterday in Italy the Communication Authority ruled "

        Until it's upheld in court, it's not binding across the EU.

        You can expect that to be fought tooth and nail by telcos across the continent.

        1. K Silver badge

          Re: Same in Canada

          And we all know the EU is no good.. I mean what benefits have they brought (sarcasm)

          Now we have Brexit, we can breathe a sign of relief, that all the marketing "white lies" will continue.. and the uneducated masses will keep believing! (But I got a happy-gooey feeling, when I realised they're probably the same folks morons that voted for it in the first place!)

          1. toffer99

            Re: Same in Canada

            I can't wait to have CCTK. What's that? Chlorinated Chicken to the Kitchen.

    5. NBCanuck

      Re: Same in Canada

      I have a fiber service in Atlantic Canada (BellAlliant) and I have fiber to the premises - I know because I can see it coming into the house. They have Good, Better, and Best services. I am on Better and have 300Mbps up and down. I have tested and the promised rates are accurate.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Same in Canada

        NBCanuck related his experience, "Bell Aliant (FibreOP) promised rates are accurate."

        Yep. And to give credit where credit is due, their back-end network seems to be pretty good. It's not just fast to the nearest Speedtest.net server, but actually fast in real life too.

        It would not be uncommon for our household to be streaming three HD videos and two on-line gamers playing, all at the same time. No issues.

  2. LenG

    Not copper. I'd love copper. My connection to the cabinet is aluminium.

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      Broken aluminium oxide wires

      They will replace it with a copper cable if you keep pestering them, my parents had the same and eventually, after a couple of years of constant faults being reported, they decided to replace the wire. Its been in for a couple of years now with no problems since the replacement. You just need to stick to your guns.

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Aluminium? Luxury! We used to dream of this.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Two tins and some wet string? Luxury! when I got my first BT connection is was this - you don't know how lucky you are.

      2. Flywheel Silver badge

        Bl00dy Southerners! We're so poor in't North that we just shout out each other from t'tops of t'moors! on a good day our Selwyn can whistle to t'next dale at over 1200 baud. Champion!

    3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re Not copper. I'd love copper.

      So do the local scavengers. Less troublesome to saw through than electric distribution cables. And this is the other problem with copper, it has intrinsic value.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Re Not copper. I'd love copper.

        "this is the other problem with copper, it has intrinsic value."

        Which should be "encouraging" the telcos to switch to fibre.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re Not copper. I'd love copper.

          One might hope so, but they prefer to convenience of copper anyone can deal with easily and cheaply, fibre skills and equipment are rather more expensive, for the last links. As the Academics on the patent application approval committee said to Sir David (long before he got the Sir) "no you can't patent the in-fibre amplifier, coppers been fine for years, what makes you think anyone's ever going to want to use your invention?" How many millions of lost Patent income...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not copper. I'd love copper. My connection to the cabinet is aluminium.

      I'd love aluminum! All I have here in west Texas is barbed wire.

      Granted, I'm used to Arcnet to the ISP and would have buy additional hardware for anything faster.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    The current law is silly. Unless it's FTTP, it should not be advertised as such, In practice there's very little difference with FTTC and ADSL2 based on the few connections I had in the UK.

    Currently I have 1Gb (real) fibre here in New Zealand.

    Fibre with last mile copper (hybrid), why not call it fi-brid, and by law allow only call FTTP called fibre.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A mix?

      Like all bran, with fibre and rice pops n honey flavouring. ;)

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      In practice there's very little difference with FTTC and ADSL2 based on the few connections I had in the UK.

      You apparently didn't try many connections then. Most people are seeing at least a tripling of their speed and noticeable improvements in reliability. I, for instance, went from an 11/1.8Mbps ADSL2+ connection that dropped maybe once a month to a 67/18Mbs connection that drops only if/when the DSLAM decides to adjust something which happens maybe once or twice a year in the early hours of the morning.

      Of course as I've posted elsewhere one person's experience doesn't count for much but since rolling out FTTC the UK's average speed has risen from around 6Mb/s to around 30Mb/s. Quite why you didn't see much difference is hard to say but one possibility is that the UK buys connectivity on price. Possibly the people you stayed with were typical tight wads and bought the cheapest package they could.

      There's an interesting article here that suggests if people in the UK bought the best package available to them we'd actually be in the top 3 countries for 'average speed' with number one a possibility in a couple of years.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "You apparently didn't try many connections then."

        There's "speed" and there's "latency" - there's fuckall difference in the latency between ADSL2 and VDSL, mainly because it's just a shitload more 8kHz 32/64QAM carriers stacked out to 17 or 33MHz from the 8MHz limit of ADSL

        Latency is dictated by the baud rate - and the baud rate of a high symbol-per-shift carrier like 64QAM is LOW (as low as an old fashioned 1200bps modem)

        _You_ might not see that when you're streaming your kitty porn but it shows up in spades on video conferencing or when playing online games.

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        "There's an interesting article here that suggests if people in the UK bought the best package available to them we'd actually be in the top 3 countries for 'average speed' with number one a possibility in a couple of years."

        So what you're saying is: if my Scots cousins weren't part of the UK, the average UK speed would be much higher?

        I'll get me Gents Joey Scotland Jacket...

      3. AlbertH
        Thumb Down

        The sad truth of the UK situation...

        Virgin Media still claim that the ratty old bit of cheap coax run into their subscriber's houses is "fibre". When called out on this they get all defensive and claim that the "fibre's terminated in the junction box on the side of your house".....

        The reality of these "high speed" services is appalling - contention ruins data rates during periods of higher usage, return path speeds are typically only 3% of the downlink speed, and downtime is as high as 25%. They actually have the temerity to charge some of the highest prices in the world for this garbage!

        BT can't provide anything better than their flaky VDSL to the home, since their city and town infrastructure often dates back to Victorian times. Their pricing strategy is interesting too - a headline price of "just" £20 per month for the first year than >£60 per month thereafter! They try to sneak the price increase into the smallest possible print at the bottom of their literature, and hope that their sucker customers won't notice the massive price change if they're on Direct Debit.....

        My service in Singapore is genuine FTTP at 2 Gb/s for ~$4 US per month. The prices that are being charged in the UK should be able to pay for laying real fibre throughout the country. Unfortunately, the UK government is entirely toothless when it comes to dealing with business.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge
      Stop

      The current law is silly.

      No, it isn't, because it's not a law. It's just one of the rules that companies voluntarily follow in order to avoid getting a public slapping. The ASA has limited powers to enforce these things. In theory it can go crying to Ofcom in this case but I don't know if it ever actually has done or if Ofcom will even care.

      1. AlbertH

        OFCOM are in the pockets of the service providers. They're entirely useless in every way - a bunch of oxygen thieves. Just another UK Quango set up by Blair's "government" to appease the "stupid electorate" (Blair's words).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Currently I have 1Gb (real) fibre here in New Zealand.

      So in about ten minutes you could exhaust the entire monthly movie output of Hollywood. That'll be useful, particularly if you can watch it as fast as you can download it.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        @Snarky AC

        So in about ten minutes you could exhaust the entire monthly movie output of Hollywood. That'll be useful, particularly if you can watch it as fast as you can download it.

        Believe it or not there are use cases for fast fibre, albeit not for everyone. I have 300/30Mbps FTTP. I recently had to shift a number of 1GB+ MySQL backups between office and various servers. Took minutes. ADSL had taken 7hrs to upload 1GB of videos!

    5. Real Ale is Best
      Boffin

      > In practice there's very little difference with FTTC and ADSL2

      My connection improved from a flakey 4 Mbit/s to 62 Mbit/s.

      I'd say that was a fair improvement, but then we are a fair distance from the exchange.

    6. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Coat

      @AC

      If you had fiber to the box, then told the consumer that they had to spend extra $$$$ for no difference in terms of performance... how do you think that they would feel?

      If you're talking copper for the last 100 yrds or less, its not the same as if you had copper for the last mile.

      So if you live in an apartment and had fiber to the building but then its muxed out via copper... is that really a bad thing?

      Yes, I'm the guy who 20 years ago had a pair of fibre cables pulled from my unit to the telco closet / room so that I could put fiber in some day when FIOS came around. So even if its in my neighborhood, since my building doesn't have it... I can't get it. Its the 200-300 feet under ground within a pipe that is missing, but you can't tell the phone critters that.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In UK suburbia I went from <1Mbps on ADSL2 (new build area of town resulting in a seriously round-the-houses copper connection to BT exchange, 2.5 miles away as the crow flies) to 80Mbps line speed as soon as my local cabinet went to FTTC. I was the second line installed. Speed has dropped since as more people have got in on the action.

      That was a significant upgrade.

    8. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      ACNZ, I signed up for Vodafone's "FibreX". I didn't cotton on to the fact that it was HFC until they came to "install" it: by swapping my old 100Mbs cable modem for a 800Mbs cable modem. But as the speeds are as-promised, I am happy enough.

      I would never be happy to sign up for HFCu...

  4. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Should really be advertised as it is...

    ...whether that is "FTTP and FTTC" or "hybrid fiber"

    The average consumer doesn't care about what the back-haul is built from or how it works. They care about the service they can get.

    I'd argue that providing accurate bandwidth estimations should be enough, but the homeowner is also concerned about their direct connection, as that is what can limit upgrades in the future (that they have to care about)

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

      When I signed up for a "fibre" contract I was never unclear that what I was getting was FTTC, and it was much better than the available ADSL (supposedly up to 12-18Mbps I think, actually lucky to get 2Mbps and frequent outages). It was also apparent that we were basically capped to the advertised speed (35Mbps), and that local FTTP providers weren't bothered about us. Now I'm on Virgin FTTP in a different location and speed is not noticeably better, reliability is a little worse. Not really bothered what technology is used so long as it's fast and robust.

      The only downside is Openreach's make-work disconnection fee, where if you have to cancel such a contract they claim they must send someone out to disconnect it and charge you for it.

    2. CommanderGalaxian
      Unhappy

      Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

      There is a fundamental unfairness though - people buy the same service, get charged the same price, but those living close to the cabinet get much faster speeds than those living further from it.

      1. Oldnewt21

        Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

        The infrastructure is all controlled by OPENREACH which has a fixed interest in its associate company BT. This means that OFCOM has no sway in honest regulation and has no will to do so.

        I have about 1/2 a mile of fibre cable from a modern exchange but then close on 4 miles of victorian copper to the house. With my speeds it is often not an option for music streaming and therefore certainly not worth investing in streaming movies or Hi-Res music.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

      And when we have true fibre services how do you differentiate them?

      Ironically, with copper networks you cannot give accurate estimations. With true fibre you can.

  5. JimC Silver badge

    Is it important?

    As longs as the final run is short enough (yards, not miles) that its not significantly impacting performance does it really matter? It smacks a bit of box ticking to me.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Is it important?

      Does if you're buying your own modem / router.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Is it important?

        @ TRT: Does if you're buying your own modem / router.

        Yes, but... realistically how many broadband consumers do buy their own? I suspect that as a percentage of the total the number is quite small.

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: Is it important?

          Yes, but... realistically how many broadband consumers do buy their own?

          Indeed, not many do - but some of us do. But I suspect that in most cases, FTTP would be terminated by OpenRetch's NTE - breaking out a voice service (carried as VoOP but presented as POTS) and presenting the data service over ethernet on copper.

          That I would have no problem with - over the sort of lengths needed, running IP over ethernet over copper offers no restriction in data rates (gigabit ethernet will easily run around a typical house over Cat5e or Cat6).

          In fact, as the network is likely to roll out, it is essential that OpenRetch have control of the optical termination. AIUI the bulk of connections will be on a passively shared fibre. This requires that each termination uses it's own specific frequency - and managing this really requires that ONE body have control over all the connected devices. While purists may complain, it makes sense to share fibres like this - the alternative is a heck of a lot of fibres going into the exchange, and while ripping copper out would leave a lot of frame space, it's going to make the network a lot more affordable.

      2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Is it important?

        "...if you're buying your own modem / router."

        Our ISP (Bell Fibe) provided the ONT and the first router. I left their router in place as it's sufficient and seems reliable. Their provided router is connected to my 24-port Gb switch, which then connects to my three other WiFi routers (covering the entire 2.4 GHz band, plus a couple of 5 GHz channels) as well as numerous wired devices. One of the routers has a Yagi antenna aimed at the lake. There are two or three additional Gb switches. Everything is wired up with STP (Cat 5e/6) Gb cables. I had to ensure that the IP addresses, WiFi channels and DHCP settings in the multiple routers didn't conflict.

        Point being, you can have both: their provide router and your own additional routers and switches.

        1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

          Re: Is it important?

          “...(covering the entire 2.4 GHz band” — that’s a bit selfish and pointless

          “, plus a couple of 5 GHz channels” — why?

          “...One of the routers has a Yagi antenna aimed at the lake.” — what lake? Why?

          “There are two or three additional Gb switches. “ - why? What’s the point you’re making?

          “Everything is wired up with STP (Cat 5e/6) Gb cables.” — why STP?

          “I had to ensure that the IP addresses, “ — well, yes, this is standard stuff

          “WiFi channels” — So?

          “ and DHCP settings in the multiple routers didn't conflict. “ — why are you using DHCP settings in multiple routers? Have you not understood the point of a LAN?

          Finally, why do you use their router anyway? None of what you’ve written makes sense outside the context of someone who just likes to throw their money around at routers.

          1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Is it important?

            Anthony Hedgehog grumbled: "...covering the entire 2.4 GHz band - a bit selfish and pointless..."

            Since we live on 3.5 acres of lakefront sprawl (BTW, minutes from everywhere), we can barely detect the WiFi signals of our neighbours, and therefore it's safe to assume that they can barely detect ours. So the band is effectively ours within our extensive grounds. As we have at least 4-5 heavy users in the household, using several channels spreads the load. I have my own channel (hot spot), so the kidiots and I do not bother each other. Everybody is happy. The several 5 GHz channels come free with dual-band routers.

            "...Yagi... Why?" We live on lakefront. Our nice picnic spot is about 150m away from the house. The several hotspots have weak signals at the hammock. Turn on the extra router with the Yagi, and the Internet is available at the lakeside with a strong reliable signal.

            "...additional Gb switches...?" Gb switches allow a single cable to service (for example) a kidiot's bedroom that has a half-dozen wired devices. So run *one* $30 Cat 6 STP cable up to the room, and then the $20 Gb switch can feed multiple gadgets. Cable is more expensive than a nice cheap Switch. Basic economic advantage of a hub-and-spoke physical cable architecture.

            "...why STP?" Shielded cables should have reduced RF noise, to reduce the risk of interference to HF radio equipment (shortwave). Also, the overall shield might reduce damage from nearby lightning strikes (which has happened).

            "DHCP...?" Multiple LANs. It's possible to design it wrong; but I've not done so. Works great, except a couple of the cheap and cheerful routers have rubbish firmware that falls over once a month or so.

            "...throw their money around..." Ah, nobody can squeeze a dollar like me. The several routers were always bought on sale at deep discount (barely cracks $100 in total). The 24- and 16-port Gb Switches were bought defective dirt cheap and I repaired them (replaced a capacitor in the power supply and installed new fans). The 8-port Gb switches are often on sale as cheap as chips (well under $20).

            Total cost of the *entire* network is comparable to one expensive router as some may choose. So your conclusion is incorrect.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Is it important?

      Point is with FTTP there is no practical bandwidth limit on the infrastructure: change the end point transceivers (assuming enough backbone capacity) and you can get 1GB or possibly 10GB symmetric speeds. At least and order or more of magnitude faster than last-run over copper.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Is it important?

        you can get 1GB or possibly 10GB symmetric speeds

        You can get 10Gb connections in Switzerland now. I have no idea how the typical household would be able to consume that bandwidth though.

        1. Kabouter

          Re: Is it important?

          And for only 50 CHF/month. So much for competition and EU regulation.

    3. Remy Redert

      Re: Is it important?

      I have an FTTC atm. I'm about 150 meters of cable from said cabinet and easily make 100mbit/s.

      My neighbors have FTTP (our house is also set up for it). They manage 500mbit/s and there are plans to go to 1gbit/s.

      I'd call a factor 5 going up to 10 with the possibility of future upgrades all the way to tens of gigabits a pretty significant difference.

    4. Phil W

      Re: Is it important?

      "As longs as the final run is short enough (yards, not miles) that its not significantly impacting performance"

      Sure but unless that final run is shielded Cat5 or better, which it isn't, it WILL be impacting performance. It may not be by very much if you live within spitting distance of the local cabinet, but it could be by a lot, especially if the cabinet is nearby but the cable takes a rather circuitous route to get there.

      For example my nearest cabinet is on the corner of the street only 3 houses away, but the cable goes overhead to a pole on the other side of street then underground to get back across to the cabinet, making the run more than 3 times longer than it otherwise might be.

      As a result for BT's Superfast Fibre package that can provide up to 50Mb the estimated speed for my address is 33Mb, only two thirds of the maximum.

      If BT's Superfast Fibre was actually Fibre all the way to my house, I would get the absolute maximum the equipment on each end of the cable could support.

      1. John Sager

        Re: Is it important?

        Even on a 200m copper run (120m overhead, 80m u/g) I get quite a lot of variation. I got FTTC service very quickly when they re-parented my formerly EO DP onto the local cabinet. It started off with a raw downstream speed of ~112Mbit/s, upstream around 30Mbit/s. Then, as more of the houses nearby came on the downstream speed has steadily dropped so the best is now 90Mbit/s, but that also varies with an SNR margin that goes up and down. Why, I have no idea - it's unlikely to be water as it hasn't rained here for weeks. I'm assuming BT haven't switched on vectoring yet.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Is it important?

          "Then, as more of the houses nearby came on the downstream speed has steadily dropped so the best is now 90Mbit/s, but that also varies with an SNR margin that goes up and down. Why, I have no idea"

          I've seen that too - started at 100Mb/s capable (80Mb delivered) and is now down to 68Mb/s delivered.

          The SNR variation is mostly due to thermal cycling of the overhead line along with various routers being turned on/off (some people insist on doing this when not in use despite it being a bad idea)

          Vectoring is a workaround at best.

    5. Halcin

      Re: Is it important?

      Yes! This is yet another example of the reprehensible behavior of marketing skum. It is not acceptable to confuse, bamboozle, trick people into buying one thing by insinuating it's another.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Is it important?

        @ Halcin: Yes! This is yet another example of the reprehensible behavior of marketing skum. It is not acceptable to confuse, bamboozle, trick people into buying one thing by insinuating it's another.

        Well put. Sadly with politicians working by the same principles there seems little chance of legislation being enacted to put a stop to it. For a politician it is acceptable to confuse, bamboozle, trick people into buying one thing by insinuating it's another.

        What chance of a remedy when the words "pot, kettle, and black" are so apposite...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: I suspect that as a percentage of the total the number is quite small.

          @commswonk. I didn't think you were asking about how small the numbers were, just where does it make a difference. The survey shows people do understand somewhat the details of how the connection is made, the implications of that, and how it doesn't marry up with the advertising. Do people care if they are getting what they understand the salesdroid is flogging them? Yes, it seems; in the majority at least now.

          1. 's water music Silver badge

            Re: I suspect that as a percentage of the total the number is quite small.

            The survey shows people do understand somewhat the details of how the connection is made, the implications of that, and how it doesn't marry up with the advertising

            It would be surprising indeed if the survey had not shown that a majority of punters understood and agreed with the commercial agenda of the organisation which commissioned the survey. I mean, we all understand what they are getting at and the legitimate point they are making but the survey is, at heart, a piece in a PR campaign

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: the survey is, at heart, a piece in a PR campaign

              Fair comment. The number of times I've been asked a sucker sales question disguised as a survey...

              1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: the survey is, at heart, a piece in a PR campaign

                The number of times I've been asked a sucker sales question disguised as a survey...

                I just say, "What are you trying to sell me???"

                99% of the time, they hang up.

                Those that remain I say,

                "I don't answer surveys truthfully and my name is Glenda so bog off!"

          2. Donn Bly

            Re: I suspect that as a percentage of the total the number is quite small.

            Actually the survey clearly shows the exact opposite - that people DO NOT understand the details of the connection. The proof of that is that they think that "fibre" means fibre all of the way to the premises when in fact only 3% of the country has that infrastructure, and if they DID understand the details then they wouldn't be confused about the difference between FTTP and FTTC.

            People may think that they care, and say that they do, but that is usually because they have been confused by the marketing hype. All they REALLY care about is that they can stream their cat videos and porn without interruption. The method of delivery is as meaningless as the video codec used - as long as the video flows they really don't care how it was encoded or compressed.

            Yes, FTTP is nice. I have it as several of my locations. Every building can have their own light channel all of the way to the headend, on a circuit that is not subject to RF interference and new enough that the problems that face aging infrastructure such as water incursion aren't going to be a major problem.

            However, most people don't actually want to PAY for it if less expensive alternatives that are "almost" as good are available.

            In my experience if a consumer is provided with two choices, even if one is clearly superior to the other, then they will still usually choose the less expensive one (and then complain because it isn't as good as the more expensive one).

            I am all for clear and accurate advertising so that consumers can make informed decisions. However, instead of worrying about HOW the product is delivered, why not concentrate on the product itself? Advertise true rates, have actual service level agreements with committed information rates, and let the consumer decide. If you have a 1 GB low-latency low-jitter circuit do you really care if it is handed off to you as fibre, coax, or twisted pair? If so, then you should ask yourself why, because the only difference is marketing hype.

    6. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: Is it important?

      <quote>As longs as the final run is short enough</quote>

      Maybe not for you, but with anything but a fiber connection at your premises, you are stuck with the realities of copper. And that is throughput, both to yourself, and anyone else sharing your "connection"

      With phone lines there are the limitations of DSL and its variants; your connection usually ends up at a DSLAM along with anyone else served by the cabinet. And you have to deal with the telco's backhaul.

      With coax, DOCSIS has limitations on the number of upload and download channels. Subscribers on a single cable run share the available upload and download frequencies. Somewhere, those data channels get pulled out, and routed in a functional equivalent to a DSLAM. Where that is done is up to the cable operator. If you are on a strictly cale plant, then it is most likely done at the cable operator's head end. If you have a HFC (hybrid fiber-coax) network, then it is out at some cabinet, and at the end of a fiber line coming from the operators head.

      Even with satellite there are speed limitations.

      The beauty of FTTP (fiber to the premises) is that those limitations are much higher, and in the right circumstances, your link may go all of the way back to the operator's head. How many home users have the traffic to saturate a 1Gps link?

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Is it important?

        How many home users have the traffic to saturate a 1Gps link?

        That's the key question. Yes, in an ideal world we would all have our Copper swapped for glass the next time an Openreach van parks up by the cabinet, but in the real world only two things matter in the domestic sense:

        • cost
        • is it "good enough" for 99% of subscribers

        Fibre to the Cabinet is - relative to Fibre to the Premises - cheap to install (particularly thinking of retrofits) and will satisfy 99% of subscribers who only really care about being able to stream Netflix and play an online game without too much lag, and don't want to pay through the nose for it. Even if a section of the Copper cable ends up being replaced, this is a relatively quick and easy job.

        Let's face it, for many purposes 10Mbit/s (down) is just about adequate* and 20Mbit/s would satisfy most people. FTTC speeds usually start at 20Mbps and in some circumstances could potentially reach 100Mbps.

        In other words, I imagine that policy makers think that at present there is no overwhelmingly pressing need for everyone to have FTTP, and they can have a much bigger, cheaper and quicker immediate impact on most people by upgrading their ADSL or ADSL2 to FTTC. Unless someone comes along with a "big vision", or until some must-have application comes along that requires higher speeds for all houses, FTTP will continue to be expensive and rolled out extremely slowly.

        M.

        *My own ADSL2 syncs at somewhere south of 8Mbps and when it's working well I get a throughput of between 6 and 7Mbps. We don't do online gaming or streaming 4k video, but it's only in the last year or so - as three of my offspring are now in secondary school - that we occasionally get "it's being a bit slow today dad". Frankly though, (video aside) they are patient enough not to mind waiting two or three seconds longer for a web page to download than they would if we were on FTTC, which is available at our cabinet, but would add £6 to the monthly cost, for an estimated 38Mbps.

      2. CommanderGalaxian

        Re: Is it important?

        >Even with satellite there are speed limitations.

        You sure you've ever used a satellite link?

        The thing that makes them tortuous to use is the latency. You might be able to torrent something down in a reasonable time - just don't expect to be using them for anything that requires any degree of real-time interaction.

  6. Dwarf Silver badge

    Fibre is Fibre

    Like the ingredients on the side of the tin, it should be clear what we are getting for our money. This also helps the layman to compare two services and see if they are really an apples for apples before they choose the cheapest one (as always happens)

    FTTC is a good start, FTTP is definitely the longer-term technology, but still leaves the problem of emergency calls and actually pulling in the replacement fibre, so both products have a place.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Fibre is Fibre

      Dwarf noted, "FTTP....leaves the problem of emergency calls..."

      Bell Fibe (a.k.a. FibreOP) provides a battery backed-up (lead acid 7 A-hr) power supply for the Optical Network Terminal (ONT). The Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) is served directly from the ONT (two 6P4C "RJ11" sockets directly on the ONT). Household telephones don't notice any change, except that the sound quality is typically better and the extra services are nice (e.g. emailed wav files of telephone messages). I assume that the local Central Office (CO) and network also has extensive power back-up systems.

      Worst case, there are more than several mobile phones in the house. We don't really require 99.999% reliability on our landline these days. 99.99% is fine.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Fibre is Fibre

        "Worst case, there are more than several mobile phones in the house. We don't really require 99.999% reliability on our landline these days. 99.99% is fine."

        Yes, but it's what causes that 0.001%.

        If that is caused by fire then you *really* need it at that exact moment.

        Now the other question is... how many people have a telephone that isn't dependant on the mains now? Mine is...

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: telephone that isn't dependant on the mains

          My mobile isn't dependant on the mains, as long as I don't let it run out of battery at least.

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: telephone that isn't dependant on the mains

            My mobile isn't dependant on the mains

            I bet the residents of Lancaster thought that !

            http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/media/lancaster-university/content-assets/documents/engineering/RAEngLivingwithoutelectricity.pdf

        2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Fibre is Fibre

          John RObinson offered, "...Yes, but it's what causes that 0.001%. If that is caused by fire..."

          I cannot decipher what you're referring to, neither mathematically nor logically.

          Math: 99.999% contrasted with 99.99% has nothing to do with "0.001%". Perhaps 0.009%, but not "0.001%". Where did "0.001%" come from? With rounding, I'll grant you 0.01%.

          Logic: "causes that 0.001%....caused by fire..." Huh? What's on fire, my fiber optic telephone service? If anything, the lead acid battery presents a tiny risk of fire, but since it's a pure DC UPS, the reliability is vastly better than a typical AC UPS. What are you trying to say here? I cannot parse any meaning.

          And yes, we have a desk telephone that is not reliant on AC power.

          If our house is on fire, we'd pick up the desk phone and make a call. Failing that, we'd switch to one of the several mobile phones. Failing that, I have additional options that I'll not go into any details about.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Fibre is Fibre

            JeffyPooh - I'm not a Robinson, but hey...

            The point was that I think that most people have landlines which are dependent on mains power already.

            One of the arguments for the POTS lines has always been that they give you a phone line which 'just works' in the event of an emergency. And a fire is one thing that is likely to take out your electricity supply. SO it doesn't really matter what the overall reliability is, the reliability * frequency of needing to call the services is a terrible measure. I don't care if a device is 99.999% reliable if the 'other bit' is inevitable when there is a situation I need to call the emergency services.

            One of the issues is 'power loss can stop me calling the emergency services', and power loss is frequently associated with a fire (which is something I want to make that call for)

            If most people's landlines (as I suspect) are mains dependent - then the POTS vs Fibre discussion possibly doesn't need to consider the 'power loss emergency services' issue, because it's just covered by mobile phones now.

  7. Charles Smith

    Business view

    I used to build trading floors, including the provision of networks. If the client specified a fibre network and I had a hybrid fibre/copper network installed, I could guess the reaction. My clients would have sued my company.

    Having copper for the "final half-mile" is not a fibre circuit. The ASA has had professionals telling them they are wrong for the past decade or so. Like all bureaucracies, they get stubborn when they know they are in the wrong.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Business view

      But trading floors pay bookoo bucks for their bandwidth. And they can usually afford good lawyers. Compare with the average consumer who's going to demand cheap.

  8. WonkoTheSane
    FAIL

    It matters to me

    Having been converted from a 900m-ish EO (Exchange Only) line, the fibre from the exchange now runs all of 20m to a newly installed cabinet in the exchange car park!

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: It matters to me

      Same here. XD

      (I actually was tempted to just throw some cat 5 over the fence, would give me theoretically whatever I want, providing they let me plug it in!)

  9. Velv Silver badge
    Headmaster

    "last few hundred yards being served"

    If you're not going to use The Register standard units of measurement (in this case, length in linguine), then at the very least you should be using the metric system and using metres. We haven't left the EU yet, y'know!

  10. HPCJohn

    Hyperoptic

    The apartment building wher eI live has Hyperoptic as the provider. Blooming marvellous, compared to the awful ADSL service which went before, and would stop working on hot days. Far too many connections multiplexed onto Docklands infrastrucure which went all the way back to the Bermondsey exchange. I saw the excuse was that in the Docks era all the warehouses had alarm lines via telephone. These could not have junction boxes in the streets, as the crims would bypass the alarm.

    Anyway - Hyperoptic runs a fat fibre connection to the basement of the building. Every flat gets a Ct5 cable back to the router in the basement. Works great and I was able to stream the 4K test signal from the BBC.

    1. Fuzz
      Headmaster

      Re: Hyperoptic

      So your hyperoptic connection is not fibre then?

      The fibre comes into your building and the connection to your premises is copper.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hyperoptic

      Having been a technical consultant on the other side of the table from Hyperoptic when they've come to pitch here and there, all I will say is that Hyperoptic are not the panacea and there is a lot of "hype" associated with their "optic".

      For a number of reasons (which I shall not go into here, as my knowledge and experience comes with a price tag attached) lets just say there were a number of things I was "not too keen on", and to this day, despite having been across the table from them multiple times, they continue to duck and dive away from answering.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hyperoptic

      >Every flat gets a Ct5 cable back to the router in the basement.

      They most certainly DO NOT install a whopping great 200 port enterprise router in the basement. ;-)

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Hyperoptic

        "They most certainly DO NOT install a whopping great 200 port enterprise router in the basement. ;-)"

        They might. Depends on what the punters there are paying.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hyperoptic

          > "They might. Depends on what the punters there are paying."

          With all due respect. If you have seen the Hyperoptic price points, you would know what a stupid comment that is. Two plus two does not equal a million.

          Remember, Hyperoptic want to flog you the concept of the gigabit dream for stupid per month. The idea of lavish kit in the basement will be the first thing to go out the window.

          No great big enterprise boxes in basements. End of story.

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: Hyperoptic

            No great big enterprise boxes in basements

            Not needed. They can put the smarts at the "exchange" end, and all the local device needs to do is basic routing. I used to manage a campus network on a science park, fibre round the park, copper to the end users. The main router/switch really didn't need to do much at all - we just had a VLAN/customer and piped that to the right port on an edge switch. In our case we just had a /23 to the site and routed a /29 or /30 to each customer - but regardless of how the IP addressing is done, it really doesn't need a "great big enterprise box" at the customer site, even in a 200 unit apartment block.

      2. HPCJohn

        Re: Hyperoptic

        There is a standard sized wall-mounted cabinet in the basement. I have never had a close look at what is in there.

        The babinet is about 10U high, so you are right it probably does not have a whopping big enterprise router in there.

        Actually the cabinet is in the underground car park and cables go off up the cable risers to each floor. I would say you are correct, and there must be some small switch in each riser, so each set of apartments is connected to a leaf switch.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hyperoptic

          @HPCJohn

          That is indeed a more realistic description, a bunch of 24/48 port 1U switches.

          1. HPCJohn

            Re: Hyperoptic

            Thanks AC. I have installed and configured my fair share of 48 port switches, most recently Mellanox 10Gbps switches.

            The cabinet looks like a standard wall mount comms cabinet to me, and as it is mounted high up I have never really been curious enough to go poking in it. 200 CAt5 cables is quite bulky. I guess I only need to count the cables coming out of the box.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    What were the actual questions? All of them.

    This was sponsored by Cityfibre. Any competent survey company can get the results their sponsor wants by choosing the questions and reporting the answers for the last one. Without seeing what was done to prime the respondents we've no idea as to whether this was done or not.

  12. batfastad

    Fibre broadband should mean FTTP

    ... I agree.

    In terms of miles from browser to, say, google, the difference in total fibre length between FTTC and ADSL is probably a couple of miles - likely less than 5% of the total.

    But who wouldn't expect BT to polish a turd when there's an opportunity to grab tax payers' dosh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fibre broadband should mean FTTP

      <quote>But who wouldn't expect BT to polish a turd when there's an opportunity to grab tax payers' dosh.</quote>

      Got to say i'm getting a nice 336.61 Mbps on BT Ultrafast (G.fast service) at the moment so they seem to be doing it well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fibre broadband should mean FTTP

        336 down is nice, but what is your uplink speed? It could well be below what you would get on FTTC and so lead to worse speeds overall depending on your usage.

      2. batfastad

        Re: Fibre broadband should mean FTTP

        IIRC G.fast is still FTTC and only contains perhaps 2-3 miles more fibre than ADSL.

        A quick turd is still a turd. Especially when given money to provide infrastructure by advertising "fibre".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fibre broadband should mean FTTP

          G.fast has no more fibre than FTTC with how BT are implementing it. All they are doing is adding another box onto the side of the existing cabinets. They are putting anything any closer to the premises as that was rejected as being too expensive.

  13. Paul Herber

    Do these fibre companies have a Universal Service Obligation? No, thought not.

  14. Salestard

    Past a point, Bandwidth is academic

    It's a minor bugbear of mine, not helped by 10 years in fixed line sales, that calling something 'superfast' because it's high bandwidth is also misleading. Bandwidth does not equal speed - it's just capacity, which itself is a contended thing on looped domestic services.

    True enough, if you're downloading endless cat memes, a 250mbps broadband is 'fast'. However, if you're doing latency sensitive applications (such as FPS gaming), then it's academic whether you've got 2.5, 25, or 250mbps when the carrier takes >20m/s to shove your packet from the south coast, up the country via various congested routes, then hand it to Telia for a cross North Sea jaunt to Amsterdam... with a high chance of dropping said packet somewhere on the way.

    If you're really stuck for several hours frustration, ring your broadband provider tech support and complain of packet loss. Once you've gone round the off and on loop several times, they'll default to sending an engineer out to the house... even when you're telling them that you can see it's the local switch and not the poxy Superhub 3 tat.

    /and breathe

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Past a point, Bandwidth is academic

      Salestard suggested, "Past a point, bandwidth is academic."

      But the value of that "point" is a function of time (year on year).

      1 Mbps would have been the end of the world in 1990.

      10 Mbps would have been the end of the world in 2000.

      100 Mbps would have been the end of the world in 2010.

      1 Gbps would probably still be quite satisfactory in 2020.

      Appears to be x10 in just a bit less than 10 years.

  15. Mage Silver badge

    Eir, Vodafone & Sky

    Basically ALL the DSL sellers claim their broadband is "fibre broadband".

    My fibre broadband is VDSL and only marginally faster than the ADSL2+ it replaced. It's 900m of copper from exchange. I pointed out that some exchanges had fibre even when they only offered ISDN back in early 2000s.

    One Wireless operator claiming it's Fibre.

    Three claims to sell High speed broadband. They have NO broadband. That is their WiFi hotspot fed by Mobile. Mobile can sometimes offer ADSL2+ speeds, but rarely and is never broadband.

    The ASAI and the Regulator don't care.

    One area where EU direct Regulators and enforcement might be better.

    The Irish Financial Regulator allowed Anglo Irish.

    Irish Data Commissioner has to be taken to court to investigate Facebook etc.

    Ofcom supported Mobile companies and lobbied AGAINST abolishing voice and data roaming in EU.

    See "Regulatory Capture", also the Regulators are supposed to be be independent. They are not. Comms is still controlled by treasury / finance Dept interests.

    1. Phil W

      Re: Eir, Vodafone & Sky

      "Three claims to sell High speed broadband. They have NO broadband. That is their WiFi hotspot fed by Mobile. Mobile can sometimes offer ADSL2+ speeds, but rarely and is never broadband."

      As much as I love to bash misleading headlines like "Fibre broadband" when they're inaccurate, describing a 4G SIM card powered WiFi hotspot as high speed broadband could well be considered one of the more accurate statements.

      I can't speak to Three's network specifically, but I've just done a Speedtest on my mobile which is on EE with 4 out 5 bars signal with 4G connection and got 122Mbps down 6.88Mbps up. By many people's standards this would be considered high speed and well in excess of anything ADSL2+ can provide at least on the downstream side.

      Clearly this is dependent on the mobile signal available where you place the 4G device, but this isn't significantly different to the caveats of copper line quality for supposed "Fibre" broadband. At least in this case they aren't claiming the product uses a technology or transmission medium that it doesn't

      1. Boothy

        Re: Eir, Vodafone & Sky

        Quote: "Three claims to sell High speed broadband. They have NO broadband. That is their WiFi hotspot fed by Mobile. Mobile can sometimes offer ADSL2+ speeds, but rarely and is never broadband."

        Not sure I follow you here?

        As far as I can see, 3G & 4G etc fall squarely into the broadband category, as unless your local cell tower is getting turned off regularly, it's an always on service, and that's what defines a service as being broadband (i.e. if you are not dialing up, its broadband, irrespective of the underlying technology).

        As for the high speed, that obviously is going to depend on local service, near my home I can get 40Mbps up and down without issue, here in the office that drops to about 7Mbps up and down.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Eir, Vodafone & Sky

          Actually there is a simple definition of what 'broadband' actually means.

          It means that there are multiple carrier frequencies running over the transmission media. Basically frequency division multiplexing (FDM).

          In the dim and distant past, when thick and thin wire Ethernet or Token Ring was the main data networking technology, this used time division multiplexing, sometimes called narrow-band, because there was only one digital data stream, and each network station got a share of the total available.

          Cable TV started using multiple frequencies over coaxial cable to provide analogue cable TV, which was the first time many people outside of the comms. industry would have come across 'broadband' (unless you count ordinary OTA analogue TV).

          One place I worked, we had a data network that ran over coaxial cable with multiple data channels being carried (multiplexed) on different frequencies down the cable (actually it was a hybrid system, because there was TDM being done on each of the FDM channels).

          All *DSL systems are broadband, there being multiple carrier frequencies being sent down the 'phone line. DOCSIS is broadband because of there being multiple carrier frequencies over the cable.

          Interestingly, most Fibre is also broadband, because the carriers use multiple frequencies of laser light down the Fibre, although it is not clear to me whether this is what is delivered in FTTP (it definitely is in the backhaul or core network). I did read a description that suggested that the down path on FTTP was shared TDM spread over multiple FDM carrier frequencies, and the up path was FDM, with each customer having their own frequency. This means that it is possible to split and combine the different feeds using passive optical splitter nodes at the pole/distribution point, and only need expensive powered switches at the cabinet.

          I'm not sure whether 4G counts as broadband. There are definitely multiple carrier frequencies being transmitted and received, so I suppose that it must by the definition I gave at the beginning of this post.

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: Eir, Vodafone & Sky

            Interestingly, most Fibre is also broadband, because the carriers use multiple frequencies of laser light down the Fibre

            Weeell, yes and no. AIUI, the bulk of FTTP provided by OpenRetch for domestic internet will be passively multiplexed - so multiple subscribers will share one fibre using FDM, with one fibre from the exchange passively split to connect multiple houses in the street. But at the customer termination, it will be narrowband suing a single frequency.

            For FTTP on Demand it's a fibre PtP link (ie user to exchange) and is narrowband - simply because it's logistically easier to do it that way.

            Thing is, using decent quality fibre terminated by decent quality transceivers, the distance-bandwidth product is very high and doesn't need broadband to give good speeds even over quite long distances.

        2. AlbertH

          Re: Eir, Vodafone & Sky

          Neither 3G nor 4G mobile are capable of providing "broadband" services. They're just not fast enough. And the latency is always horrible.

          The mobile providers in the UK have huge coverage issues. They try to do each provision as cheaply as possible, so "advanced concepts" like shaped coverage is just an interesting notion - but not for them. Each mobile network claims coverage in the region of >90%. The reality is radically different. Real measurements (rather than their hopeful "predictions" of coverage) show that around 35% of the UK has an actually acceptable mobile signal coverage.

          Remember - the UK is the second most expensive place in the world to make a phone call!

  16. Toro22

    The equivalent car ad:

    Your own space* on the large car running 500m from your house at infrequent intervals.

    Payment on entry to "your car"

    *Your own Space subject to availability...

    If you cant see the fibre in your box in your house... you did not get fibre...

    Our electric company are making a pretty penny laying down fibre with the power cable.. and are now making more from the fibre than the power...

  17. A_O_Rourke

    Virgin Media are the worst

    For me, every time I see that "Virgin fibre" advert with the logo being formed by a coax swooping in really gets on my nerves, almost as if Virgin are saying "we can say anything we like and insult your intelligence whilst doing it!"

    1. Phil W

      Re: Virgin Media are the worst

      "Virgin Media are the worst"

      Nah they aren't. Sure they advert that says Fibre with a picture of coax is jarring, but at least they provide speeds that are actually remotely worthy of Fibre unlike others.

      1. Salestard

        Re: Virgin Media are the worst

        And, being completely pedantic about it - CoAx cable does have fibrous content in the shroud.

      2. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Virgin Media are the worst

        They may provide high speeds to some.

        They also provide reliability that makes the last few months of Notwork Rail look exemplary by comparison.

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Virgin Media are the worst

          No problems with them over here, in my old house or at my Father's.

          Well, only problem is that they don't have a link onto my new estate.

        2. Phil W

          Re: Virgin Media are the worst

          Never had a single problem with Virgin of any significance. A handful of outages that rebooting the router fixed, and one that wasn't but was somewhat obviously explained when I looked up the road to see a team of Virgin engineers with a cabinet open and hundreds of meters of cable all over the place, a scheduled upgrade I'd missed the letter about.

  18. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    We 'upgraded' one of our customers from ADSL to VDSL on a FTTC link and the download speed when DOWN from 2 Mbps to 1.3Mbps. The upload speed stayed at 0.9Mbps.

    Too far from the cabinet, despite OpenWretch's estimate being 8Mbps.

    Fibre? They've heard of it. It'll cost tens of thousands to get a leased line

    1. Ol' Grumpy

      I'm surprised at this. I was told that there was a minimum "estimated" speed that had to be achievable by Openreach before they would install FTTC type broadband to a property. In the case of my parents, it was something like 24Mbps and the conversation came about following a call into Sky Broadband's helpdesk when the service was being particularly flaky.

      1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        That’s Sky’s special guarantee. They won’t even bother providing crap broadband so they ‘guarantee’ your speed that way. In reality it just means that if you think you can go to sky to get guaranteed 24Mbps broadband, you won’t get what you want if the service just isn’t available. Hate them

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          That’s Sky’s special guarantee

          That's what Sky would like you to believe. Actually OpenRetch have a "handback speed" (based on their estimate of line length & quality) and if the VDSL connection doesn't meet that speed then it can be handed back - and you get "downgraded" back to ADSL with all the OpenRetch charges cancelled.

  19. steelpillow Silver badge
    Flame

    Outrage

    I have FTTC - fibre to the cabinet. It was delivered to my area by BT under the "Superfast Worcestershire" programme. But the cabinet is over a mile away, I am refused a superfast deal because the connection simply is not there: I get ca. 2MB over copper-to-the-premises and that is all. And they have refused to install another cabinet closer to us, they have the bloody nerve to officially advise us to go the satellite route as part of their delivered solution!

    That BT/Outreach can claim they have delivered me and my neighbours FTTP/superfast broadband is a complete outrage.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Outrage

      In the village where my parents live, BT/Openreach did FTTC for half the village. They didn't bother with the other half, claiming it wasn't cost effective.

  20. IsJustabloke Silver badge
    Meh

    I'm not sure why...

    The reg has taken a snarky attitude to the Cityfiber bods.

    What ISP's get away with in terms of advertising is scandalous in the UK and they mostly amount to "we can say what we damn well please, providing we use a bit of weasle verbiage"

  21. jonathan keith

    Time for a bigger stick.

    I've said it before and I'll no doubt say it again, but FTTP should be part of the building regs in all UK new-builds.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Time for a bigger stick.

      Do that, and you'll probably just price everything out of range. Everything has an effect.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Time for a bigger stick.

        ''Do that, and you'll probably just price everything out of range. Everything has an effect.''

        OMG! Prices are already £30,000 too high. I know, let's repeal the regulation requiring water, leccy, drains, phone and emergency vehicle access. You could save even more by not putting a roof on.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Time for a bigger stick.

      They can't mandate FTTP - but they could at least mandate provision for it. That would mean providing ducting into which the fibre could be pulled later - unlike many developments where that "would cost money" and so they rely on OpenReach running their usual overhead washing lines.

      One small change that would, over time, reduce the cost of future upgrades (like FTTP) for newly built houses.

      1. AlbertH
        Boffin

        Re: Time for a bigger stick.

        Open Retch don't appear to have heard of "blown" fibre - inserted into a ductwork by air pressure. I was installing fibre this way in the 1980s, so it's not exactly a new concept.

        One install I did a couple of years ago required new ducts into an existing building. We hired a "moling services" company, who actually tunnelled the duct route for us with their miniature robotic "moles", then pulled the duct sleeving along the tunnel they'd created, and finally installed the couple of dozen pipes (each about the thickness of a drinking straw) along which be blew our bundles of fibres. The installation of the 850m duct route capable of handling a few thousand fibres took less than two days, and required minimal digging!

        It's a (relatively) cheap and rapid way of installing fibre - you just need reasonably accurate "stats" diagrams of the locations of the existing underground services. It's also minimally invasive!

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: Time for a bigger stick.

          Open Retch don't appear to have heard of "blown" fibre

          They've been using it for decades - I remember them blowing fibre into my (then) workplace a couple of decades ago, and they certainly use it now. But as you point out, you have to get the tubes in first to have something to blow the fibre into - that is the expensive, disruptive, and costly part.

  22. 0laf Silver badge
    Meh

    I doubt the vast majority of consumers care how their bandwidth is delivered.

    If I was told I could have 100Mb by copper or 100Mb by fibre would I really bother? Especially if the former didn't involve digging up my drive.

  23. AndrueC Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Ironically, VM started it. BT then complained to the ASA pointing out that VM services are coax in the last mile. The ASA ruled in favour of VM so BT joined in.

  24. David Nash Silver badge

    I don't think it's as simple as marketing guys calling something fibre when it's not.

    In the old days it was copper all the way to the exchange (or aluminium I guess). Then FTTC came along and they needed a way to describe it.

    There is some fibre in there, where there wasn't before. So they call it Fibre, and mostly it's a couple of times faster than ADSL. I don't recall many people complaining. Then along came FTTP which is more fibre and even faster. So now the old fibre should be called partial fibre or something perhaps?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Facepalm

      There is some fibre in there

      Well strictly speaking (and I think this was what the ASA actually said the first time BT complained about VM's adverts) 99% of the connection to the ISP is fibre. That's true of all telephony data technologies - even an analogue modem. It's only the last mile or so that might not be. Of course the fact that the last mile or so was the most important as far as advertising was concerned seemed to escape the ASA.

      One of the daftest decisions they ever made. Although adjusting the 'Up to' figures to reflect customer experience was possibly dafter. 'Up to 80Mb/s' is a valid and technically accurate way to describe the VDSL service that Openreach provide, the more recent speed caps introduced by the ASA are meaningless.

    2. really_adf

      I don't think it's as simple as marketing guys calling something fibre when it's not.

      Nope, that's exactly what it is. VM made no changes to the cabling installed around the turn of the century but started marketing it as "fibre".

      The marketing coincided with head-end changes that allowed them to offer significantly higher speeds, but with the same amount of fibre as before. Funnily enough this happened when BT were clearly gearing up for VDSL rollout...

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        They should/could have kept using coax > telephone wire and left "fibre" to full fibre connections.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whilst it ought to mean fibre to your router, one can't help thinking that those who thought that was already the case must surely have noticed what their router/modem connected to.

  26. regbadgerer

    It was always fibre though, right?

    The internet backbones have been fibre since the days of dialup, right? So, there's always been some fibre in it somewhere, it's only the amount that's changed. So not really sure why the ASA are suddenly allowing people to call it fibre.

    I have FTTP, and I'm fed up of explaining to virgin media customers that I actually have a piece of fibre coming into my house, and they don't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It was always fibre though, right?

      "The internet backbones have been fibre since the days of dialup, right?"

      Wrong.

      1. oldfartuk

        Re: It was always fibre though, right?

        They were all Strowger Exchanges at the start. And thus the rise of the Blue Box Phone Phreaker. Hands up anyone under 50 who knows what that was?

        1. Captain Badmouth
          Coat

          Re: It was always fibre though, right?

          Collecting code books from adjoining areas so you could dial various exchanges to check for faulty ones ( dial remote exchange from local exchange then code for local exchange from remote location) to see if paybox gets bypassed. Rinse and repeat. Result : faulty exchange bypasses paybox- free phone calls.

          Otherwise dial exchanges in a string to avoid long distance charges- gets noisier with more hops.

          I've said too much...

          Mines the one with all the little red books in it. ( No, not those little red books...)

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: It was always fibre though, right?

      Certainly, there was a time when most of the trunk or core network was fibre, while the analogue phone system beyond the local exchange was copper. That was the concept of System X.

      I worked for a company that was providing BT with telephone exchanges in the late '80s, and they were definitely selling fibre trunk equipment then. According to Wikipedia, the last trunk connection in the UK was switched to fibre in 1990.

  27. Chronos Silver badge
    Pint

    Battle weary

    Let's not kid ourselves that the new-wave FTTP companies are all consumer kniggets in shining armour, please. These buggers are just extracting your renal secretions in a different way.

    I have resorted to my default fallback of caveat emptor. While marketing are naming these technologies, they're always going to make it look more shiny than it actually is; fibre proper has been around for decades - I built Seimens OLTI boards back when 128k bonded ISDN was the broadest of bands - yet "Ultrafast fibre" is touted as a new, magical technology made from unicorn farts and bose-einstein condensates.

    I'm also a little weary of chasing the numbers. On VDSL2:

    Data Rate: Down: 79.904 Mb/s / Up: 19.999 Mb/s

    Line Attenuation (LATN): Down: 14.2 dB / Up: 17.8 dB

    Signal Attenuation (SATN): Down: 14.3 dB / Up: 17.5 dB

    Noise Margin (SNR): Down: 3.4 dB / Up: 15.4 dB

    Aggregate Transmit Power (ACTATP): Down: 6.5 dB / Up: 14.0 dB

    Max. Attainable Data Rate (ATTNDR): Down: 81.264 Mb/s / Up: 25.194 Mb/s

    To be quite frank, that's enough for me right now. What I would like to happen is Openreach being held responsible for fucking up existing lines when patching in new ones or buggering about with the cab. There should be Yakuza-style penalties for fat-fingering patch panels. Can we, just for once, make existing tech work properly and stably before we go gallivanting off on some wild chase for ever faster ways of watching a cat try to use a Lexmark door-stop,

    Beer. When all else fails, when the bullshit is knee-deep, people want the moon on a stick and marketing won't STFU, it must be beer o'clock.

  28. Malik01

    Marketing shills will just rename it to "Fibre ready" and "Full Fibre" broadband. They definitely want the word "fibre" in there even though the difference between FTTC and FTTB is about a factor of 10, currently, and probably more in the future.

    1. Scunner

      Marketing

      The term "full fibre" seems to be taking off as a synonym for FTTP.

      Maybe the term "fake fibre" should start being used as shorthand for FTTC.

      1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        Re: Marketing

        They put the ‘fib’ into ‘fibre’

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Plenty of fibre...

      Keeps your bowels regular you know.

      Roughage to the cabinet.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Back in my day, we had to walk the packets from the exchange to the house.

    None of this newfangled cable lark.

    1. Graham Lockley

      We were posh, we had the postie deliver ours

  30. Crisp Silver badge

    My internet was sold to me as Fibre to the Premises

    Surely that has to be breaking some kind of law when that is blatantly not what I've got.

  31. Charles Smith

    Ol'Timer

    Bah you young'uns haven't lived. You don't need gigabits, nor even megabits. We used run a financial markets trading system over a 4800 baud satellite link, including the software upgrades.

    1. oldfartuk

      Re: Ol'Timer

      4800 baud? Luxury. Voyager 2 does the biz on 128 baud and that includes sending holiday snaps of the solar system from 18 Billion miles away.

  32. IGnatius T Foobar ✅

    here in the northeastern US...

    Here in the northeastern US, we had the same thing ... the regional telco (Verizon) offers true FTTP (the service is Verizon FiOS ... I have it and it's fantastic) ... so the regional cable tv company (Cablevision) started posting ads saying "we've been using fiber for over 15 years!" Well yes, but the fiber only goes to a neighborhood node that serves ~500 subscribers.

    To be fair, the use of fiber vs. copper doesn't tell the whole story. What matters most is how oversubscribed the connection is. A typical FTTP BPON is 622 Mbps shared between 32 subscribers, and a typical GPON is 2.488 Gbps shared between 64 subscribers. And remember, that entire wavelength is dedicated to data. That's the problem with HFC and DOCSIS -- they can only dedicate so many channels to data, because most of them are still being used for video.

    I've got to be honest, if there were no FTTP available in my area, I'd probably go with DSL instead of cable. Whatever speed you're able to purchase (depending on proximity to the CO), at least you know you're getting the entire channel to yourself, and it isn't going to tank during peak hours when everyone is online.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CenturyLink

    A salesman from CenturyLink told me that "Fiber Optic" had recently been installed in my area and that I would have actual fiber all the way up to the box inside my house.

    When I contacted CenturyLink by phone to verify this the representative said there was no fiber in my area and he couldn't even tell me the closest area to me that actually had fiber.

  34. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Considering the survey was sponsored by a FTTP company I would take the results with a large pinch of salt as I expect they cherry picked the people to get the answer they wanted.

    I don't really think the majority of the population really cares whether their 'fibre' broadband it is FTTC or FTTP, they only care about what speed they get compared to ADSL or 4G and how much it costs them a month.

    Many of the none technical people I know just refer there internet connection as 'WiFi' when I ask them what type of broadband they have at home.

    Maybe FTTP the premises just needs to give up on using the fibre name and rebrand as something new to differentiate it from FTTC. Maybe Ultra HD 4K fibre.

  35. Luiz Abdala

    In Brazil, of all places...

    ...they don't call it fibre or fiber unless there is a glass-filled thin wire plugged straight into the ISP-leased router on your desk.

    They call it just 'cable' or 'Internet cable' at best, due to the commonality and ubiquity of a service provider first using DOCSIS 3.0 (over coaxial cables of course) common to TV's, only having actual fiber on the light pole outside. This service provider took advantage of using TV infrastructure (being a cable TV foremost) to advertise the new method of (broadband) Internet access.

    The other service providers use POTS cabling and xDSL, again leaving the actual fiber cables on the poles. Only when you ask for 100+Mbps services, they will go the extra mile, rip everything copper off, and place another section of actual fiber all the way inside.

    It turned out so because all ISP's, in one way or another, were behind the evolution curve kept by the clients, that DEMANDED proper installation of newer technologies, after having used dial-up for what seems like millennia and KNOWING that those were COPPER cables, and not fiber, going inside their homes.

    The entirety of the Internet service provided in the country trickled down from enthusiasts and first-adopters, into the clients, families, employees, and colleagues of where the first-adopters worked and lived.

    Only after the dial-up crowd was appeased and the looming threat of suing for false advertisement ended, actual advertising offering "cable internet" coupled with TV and phone services took place to a broader audience. The generic term was broad enough to ensure marketing couldn't possibly f*** up this time.

  36. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Better in the 3rd World

    I was staying a few weeks with a friend in Nepal. My arrival prompted him to get an Internet connection. He ordered it around 17:00 Sunday, and the router was installed and fully up & running in the house by 10:00 the next day (Monday). Bit of a bird's nest at the top of the pole and the fibre cable not routed all that elegantly around the walls of the house, but it was definitely fibre all the way, not an inch of copper. No deposit required, no line rental, no installation fee, pay the first year's subscription after trying for 7 days. He chose the 35Mbps unlimited data option at £120 per year (up to 125Mbps was available IIRC). In the past 6 months it has had one 4 hour outage (lorry crashed into the pole outside his house and brought it down, snapping the fibre cable). They also have 5G in many places in Nepal. And that is very much a 3rd World country. I get better quality video calls to him than to another mate in the U.S.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Better in the 3rd World

      Did you send Dollar Street photos?

      https://www.gapminder.org/dollar-street/matrix

    2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: Better in the 3rd World

      5G? What are you talking about? What device exactly uses 5G?

      1. Luiz Abdala
        Facepalm

        Re: Better in the 3rd World

        Perhaps they are referring to 5 GHz wifi 802.11 AC, to add more gasoline to the fire.

        I set up a wifi repeater that had to be explicitly stated as 5 GHz, so it took the name [$wifiSSID 5G ext] and it dawned on me how easy it was to misuse it.

        From 5 GHz to 5G...

  37. PassingStrange

    The simple fact...

    ...is that I don't care what the xTTC infrastructure is, if it can already deliver more than my poor old twisted copper pair can cope with (which is, frankly, pretty abysmal). So if someone wants to sell me an "upgrade", it had better improve my current - and future potential - throughput. Expecting me to accept FTTC as "fibre", and somehow "better", in that context is... ...bovine effluent.

  38. MR J

    Last year I was visiting my mother and needed a part for her gas furnace. I finally found a supplier.

    Solar Supply, they only deal with plumbing / hvac ..

    I was gutted really, was looking forward to talking to someone about solar pv/hw.

    And I agree with the study, most people really dont know the difference, the terminology to me is wrong anyhow as even 2g phones could really be "fibre".

    Sadly even BT struggles with this... I tried in vain one day for HOURS to get the staff on the phone to understand that I would like a quote for Fibre to be installed. FTTPoD to me shouldnt be confused with VDSL by the providers, but the fact that it is means that there is no way the average punter will know the difference.

    Previously the ASA agreed that basic consumers were far too dumb to understand Hybrid-Fibre as a option, as such "Fibre" was okay to use as a marketing term. It's time (past time really) that this idea gets quashed so we can actually see who sells "Fibre" and who sells "HF Cable/DSL".

  39. ExpatZ

    Whatgever, cable is faster than fibre anyway.

    Fibre is a sales gimmick for people who don't do computers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So co-ax copper is faster than a fibre optic connection ? You don't seem to have a problem with rewriting the laws of physics :)

  40. kiwiChrisDever

    Fibre Broadband

    Here in New Zealand I live semi-rural. I have true FTTH and easliy have unlimited 100/30 (with giga avavilalbe if i want it - for extra $.) Cost is about NZ$90/month

  41. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Not just misleading advertising on "fibre"

    Any "ISP" not selling IPv6 needs to have some action taken against them for misleading sales.

  42. oldfartuk

    BT Blues (the phraseology, not the music)

    BT, in its previous nationalised incarnation of british telecom, has doggedly over the last 30 years tried to prevent the spread of high speed broadband, because it seems to suffer from the mistaken belief the longer it takes to download something, the more it can charge you.

    I spen most of the 1990's installing LANS with an internet connection, email and browsing, and a VPN to Base, in hundreds of primary and secondary schools. The biggest obstacle, the most awkward supplier, the biggest impeder of the project was always BT. The did not want high speed broadband spreading round the country, they desperately wanted to hang onto thier monopoly.

    So they were awkward as fuck, all the time. The screwed the project for as much as they could. The most notorious was when we wanted a DSL line into a primary school half a mile from the actual village. Despite it having a phone line (and a line of poles) they insisted on digging a trench and charging us SEVENTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS for the luxury - and this was back in 1997. And then it took them six months to get round to it, we were in the next phase of the project before it was done.

    Have you noticed its the old nationalised industries that are now the most greedy, avaricious and hostile to the customer?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BT Blues (the phraseology, not the music)

      >BT, in its previous nationalised incarnation of british telecom, has doggedly over the last 30 years tried to prevent the spread of high speed broadband,

      Look up BT, fibre optic, Margaret Thatcher

      BT offered to fibre up the UK in return for being allowed to be a broadcaster. Maggie said no and and pumped subsidies into cablecos which eventually ended up merging into one company (Vermin Media)

      I'm tired of the BS that BT has deliberately nobbled speeds, take a good look at the politicians and realise that nobody operates in a vacuum

      /end rant

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: BT Blues (the phraseology, not the music)

      " because it seems to suffer from the mistaken belief the longer it takes to download something, the more it can charge you."

      Partly that, partly that it believes in linear charging structures and partly that broadband is cannabilising the business leased line market.

      This is WHY Openreach and the entire lines side needs to be cleaved from BT business.

  43. oldfartuk

    Surfboard modems

    Here in the Midlands fibre to the cabinet was delivered by Diamond Cable, sadly long gone. Then ran a T92 line 40 miles up the A46 to Lincoln. It took them 3 years. They then ran fibre round the town. that took another 5 years. One resident wrote the the local Rag and complained "..now that Diamond Cable have done to Lincolns roads and pavements in two years what the Luftwaffe failed to do in five.."

    The first cable modems they supplied were Surfboard modmes. They used a soft config file sucked off the server and stiored in EPROM. The config file set you up/down speed, otherwise all you had was 64k to the server and no other connectuion. It turned out to vbe suprisingly easy to sniff config files as they zoomed past, save them, read them, reset the mac address of the modem, then copy up the config file. You paid for 128k but got 10Mb. The other end couldnt tell there was a a router and a cloned copy, it saw it as one. I learned a lot about cable modems from Diamond Cable........

    1. Captain Badmouth
      Happy

      Re: Surfboard modems

      "The first cable modems they supplied were Surfboard modmes. They used a soft config file sucked off the server and stiored in EPROM. The config file set you up/down speed, otherwise all you had was 64k to the server and no other connectuion. It turned out to vbe suprisingly easy to sniff config files as they zoomed past, save them, read them, reset the mac address of the modem, then copy up the config file. You paid for 128k but got 10Mb"

      You sure they weren't Surfboard mod-me's?

  44. Lorribot

    "with the last few hundred yards being served over a copper phone line" if only that were true, reality in the UK is that like me you could easily be 1.5km from your green cab "as the cable runs" or even more even if you live in an urban environment even if google say you are only 800m, then on top of that you may actually be on Aluminium rather than copper or worse a mix of both with many dodgy joins.

    OpenBreach need to invest in the "last mile" and get everyone within 400M of their cabinet or better still fibre from the cabinet to a mini cab on the pole that means just the drop wire to yours and your neighbours houses. Still that may be too much inovation and customer service for them.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      > Reality in the UK is that like me you could easily be 1.5km from your green cab "as the cable runs"

      Not just the UK.

      At one point in NZ I was 40metres from the cabinet by foot and 3km by cable run.

    2. AlbertH

      ISDN

      Back in the early 90s, when the fastest thing available (in a few places) was ISDN, BT internally called it

      "Innovations Subscribers Don't Need"

      That attitude still exists at BT. They are largely clueless. We're stuck with two monopolies in most areas, both equally inept. Neither BT nor VM have the ability to provide an acceptable service at a reasonable price.

  45. matjaggard

    CityFibre shock survey result

    So CityFibre managed to word a survey such that they got the responses they wanted? Shocking.

    Why was that not even mentioned as a possible reason for the results? Is ElReg sponsored by them?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tirade from a lucky Swede

    I absolutely think that "fibre" without further explanation should mean optics ending within a building. But ultimately, normal people should not necessarily have to know what technology they need to get a decent deal for everyday use. Fibre is just used as a selling buzzword, like "Turbo" or "Super". "-Is fibre any good?" "Hell yes" everyone will say, so it is brilliant marketing.

    Technology is one thing and the speed another. Don't fully know about the UK, but in Sweden most broadband deals are listed with their speed. "Broadband 10/10, Broadband 100/10" and so on. Most people here never knew there existed different DSL technologies, the deals are just labeled with the theoretically achievable (or capped) max speed and what outlet it comes through. Then if the same company (quite common) can supply you with different technologies, they will clearly separate them with actual technology (Fibre, "Broadband outlet" (CAT5/6), Phone Outlet, Cable etc.)

    Those fast DSL alternatives were rolled out in the existing exchanges and I had an actual DSL speed of 45/9 Mbps in 2007, living close to the exchange. Obviously it only benefited some people, but no one was talking about "fibre" and it was indeed a cheap upgrade for the operators. FTTC basically doesn't exist here and probably except for a few remote villages that have got this due to too long copper runs, it is not really being done, and would NEVER be called "fibre", but perhaps "an upgrade to the phone line system for better broadband". In some ways I wish that they had done it as a two step improvement plan, but FTTH seems to be the only reasonable thing to do, often with emphasis put on how it is the only properly future proof way, and maybe the fact that spacing between houses in Sweden is greater, I guess the digging part is to expensive to not do for a long term solution.

    Shortly after 2000 FTTB with Cat5e to each apartment slowly started being rolled out. That was also never marketed as fibre to the end consumer. If you were lucky to have coax cable as I did, I had a 50/10 connection around year 2005. A year later I had 100/100 through my Cat5e "Internet outlet" in my apartment, well beyond most home routers firewall capacity.

    Currently they are in full swing shutting down the Swedish phone lines infrastructure due to the fact that either people will have a better wired/fibre alternative, or the copper is to lengthy, slow and costly to maintain, and there is usually reasonable priced mobile broadband with a lot higher speeds available (i.e. a month: £32 GBP for 100 GB and £40 for 400 GB up to 100 Mbps+).

    Coax/cable is being maintained and upgraded, but generally you will not be able to upgrade a TV-only coax, even if what is missing is just terminal equipment and there is actually a suitable coax cable and cabinet at the other end serving other customers with broadband. This tiny effort is not interesting for Swedens biggest supplier of coax broadband, despite them offering up to a 1000/500 Mbps over coax to your neighbour, much to my surprise as I was left stuck with ADSL in my house until we recently got FTTH (which dragged out a bit because most neighbours were understandably very happy with their already plenty fast cable broadband that just kept getting faster!).

    The municipality organised the overall network and installations of the "open" fibre network, and one had to pay a hefty fee for the actual installation (digging up the streets, asphalt, garden, restoring all, and media converter). A lot of work! It had actually been cheaper despite higher digging and material costs to do it if I lived in the countryside of this municipality as rural connections are being subsidised. I ended up paying approx. £2500 (you could pay it off over time as well), but on the other hand, I own my own connection, it for sure increased the value of my house (or at least prevented it from reducing equally much) and the nonprofit org. running the network offers a big range of different service providers for broadband, TV, telephony etc, with many options for speed, and an easy online portal comparing all the deals. If I don't order anything the fibre stays but does not cost anything. It literally takes minutes to order online and have a broadband connection activated. Cancelling/changing provider can often be done with a months notice.

    A 100/100 deal costs way less than ADSL2 and you usually can get telephony included in the price. A 1000/1000 deal costs £40 if you find a good offer. The monthly cost really covers the cost of bandwidth because you own your own piece of infrastructure, and just a small part of the monthly provider charge is used for maintenance and troubleshooting, which is therefore "free" all the way to the RJ-45 outlet on the terminal.

    There are other ways of installing fibre as well, often it is done by a supplier, that charges a lot less for the installation, but on the other hand well makes it up over time by costlier deals or fees on other suppliers deals, also controlling your choice.

    Currently I have a 1/1 Gbps line with a typical ping of 3-5ms to the nearest international internet exchange and several speed test servers. Speeds are really almost wired speed, and there are no caps on data. Typically 30-100ms reduction i ping to most things compared to my old DSL and my phone.

    They have installed two pairs of fibre (blown with compressed air in a tube, so they can be replaced easily for new/more pairs), of which one is used, and with today's available technology one could multiply the speed many times easily and cheaply and with more expensive equipment you could supply a datacenter or smaller city over those very 2 pairs. If you contact them they can already supply you with 10 Gbps without problem just replacing transceivers.

    Even if copper, coax, mobile broadband (5G?) etc. are developing, they are so far behind relatively speaking...

    Visiting the UK every year, I can say that this year more than ever I was reminded of how spoiled I had become. FTTH. Being used to voice and data coverage almost anywhere, with big data quotas and fast 4G, WiFi not being important or even common in cafes here, and the typical workplace, school or home being served with low latency broadband with usually excessive bandwidth. Being alone out in the forests usually having signal and speed comparable to most UK villages... It even works on most trains and in tunnels as well, and if it doesn't there is often free Wifi. Yes, our good and cheap 3/4G certainly adds to offloading our wired networks and WiFis, as people don't cling to checking each and every app as soon as there is a WiFi, their phones already being in sync. So, yes, we do easily forget how fantastic/crazy/sad it is to always have reliable Internet at hand....

    I do also find that most Swedes are on too fast plans, as they mostly use many wireless or small simple devices and that the WiFi is the actual bottleneck but still enough for their needs. Many people only really need mobile broadband or using the hotspot feature of their phones. I think a great deal of people have upgraded for the wrong reasons, "My cat video is buffering", "Netflix is not playing...", Yeah, let's upgrade that 100/10 connection to a 300/100, that'l help. Sure. Here the operators are more than happy to sell "twice the speed" when in reality all that was needed was a better WiFi-router, but that came with the package, and so the customers are happy because the wireless improved a bit solving their problems.

    Of course there are the less lucky people here, I know some, that are trapped in the far out forest, between mountains, where 2/3/4G can't reach them even with boosting antennas unless you build a 30 metre tower, where DSL could not reach at all because of distance (did a maximum of 24kbps on dial up!) and the copper has since gone entirely, who have to rely upon horribly slow satellite. Fibre will require several neighbours to pull together and share the cost of putting down perhaps 10 miles of fibre across mountains and forest, just to cover four houses. Even with subsidies, they will have to be bloody eager to want to pay for it, if they can afford it.

    Those unlucky bastards are hit extra hard, especially if they try run a business when Swedes expect redundant and reliable (mobile and wired) broadband in a very digital era, before visit, but also during visit. With shock, confusion and slight horror: "Why aren't you engaging better on FB, we wan't video clips to see X?", "What do you mean the card payment terminal can't reach the Internet at this moment?" "Why can we sometimes not call your mobile phone?" "Why is the football game streaming in the pub cutting out? - Because the satellite dish is wobbling in the wind..." "There is no signal! Give me your WiFi code! (not realising that it's metered and slow). The gap is in those cases huge, and here I see that FTTC would have been of help, even if only providing 10 or 20Mbps...

    Maybe FTTC should have been more adopted in Sweden, and less in the UK in favour of FTTH, where labour is slightly cheaper and houses are a lot more densely packed and hence more economical to supply than over here.

    But hey, I got fibre. And physically moving HDD's is certainly a thing of the past now. With the wonders of "Super Fast Fibre Broadband", VPN, SMB3 and remote desktop, it doesn't matter much were I and friends store our crap any more. "Can I borrow some Terrabytes for backup? ... Right, thanks, I'll put it there tonight." It has certainly changed the way I use the Internet, it is MY highway now, for my purposes, and I can run my own cloud with better performance than most hosted solutions. The downside is the need for a ridiculously big, costly and much too loud firewall with the added problem of probably worst ever achieved WAF before I (despite heavy protest from wife) modified my IKEA sideboard in to a silenced 19" router enclosure.

  47. Pangasinan Philippines

    Here in Manila

    The Philippine Government is pushing the local telcos to fiber.

    PLDT are picking the low hanging fruit and connecting premises near to the access points and ticking the boxes.

    After 6 requests for fiber and help from inside knowledge I had fiber installed. It was 16 poles and took two people to string the cable across the poles.

    I now have fiber direct to my router (via fibre patch cord) and have selected 50 Mbs package for about £27 UKP. This includes a home phone connected to the modem.

    The top speeds are more expensive, but the country has no fiber backbone, but available speeds should increase when the Amazon submarine cable arrives.

    This is much better than the LTE internet that I had previously. (15 Mbs on a good day)

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Here in Manila

      "PLDT are picking the low hanging fruit and connecting premises near to the access points and ticking the boxes."

      Do they still have an absolute monopoly on international internet connectivity and satellite connectivity like they did at the turn of the century?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Here in Manila

        PLDT is a big player in just about everything communications-related in the Philippines based on what I've studied recently. They're pretty much it for terrestrial copper (read: landline telephone) access...IF you can get it.

        Everything else is pretty much oligopolies with PLDT one of the members. PLDT owns Smart, meaning they're the #1 cell phone provider. Between them and Globe, they probably provide nearly all the cell phone service in the Philippines. I believe #3 is Sun (owned by ABS-CBN, IINM the country's biggest television network and media company).

        For satellite it's down pretty much a duopoly between Cignal (owned by PLDT) and Sky (owned by the aforementioned ABS-CBN).

      2. Pangasinan Philippines

        Re: Here in Manila

        Yes, just about. PLDT and Globe are a duopoly having taken out ALL the other players.

        The government here wants a third player which was meant to happen in the first quarter of this year; but like all government projects has been re-specified and put back to later this year.

        BTW the analogue TV system was meant to be switched off in Dec 2016 but is still running as the DTT replacement is running in the 'Test Broadcast' phase.

        The third telco, if it ever happens will likely be a Chinese/PHL consortium with deep pockets and very few frequencies. The government wants shared towers run by a separate company but the telcos are lukewarm about that.

        Also the aim of extra competition is to bring down the customers' costs as the duopoly at present match each others prices. But the upfront costs involved mean that this is unlikely to happen.

        . . . . . Watch this space . . . . .

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Here in Manila

          That's the trouble with things like utilities. They tend naturally towards monopolies and oligopolies for two reasons: (1) High-upfront costs which require lengthy amortization to recoup, meaning any player has to have deep pockets and go for the long game. (2) The infrastructure can be an eyesore, raising NIMBY issues that keep the number of players low. That's why you don't see more than one water or sewage company in any given area: the populace wouldn't tolerate more than one network.

  48. Robin

    Fibra

    I have FTTP (300 meg, soon to be 600) here in Spain.

    When I originally asked the company (Movistar) to install it, I asked the shop assistant if it would be all the way to my house and he looked at me like I was thick.

  49. Richtea
    Meh

    Copper rocks

    1Mbps down this morning, before the Openreach engineer visited. 9.8Mbps down after he finished. Livin' the dreem.*

    How long before it self-caps back down to 1Mbps? Answers on a postcard - it will be quicker than replying here.

    * 2.4km copper line to next village, but the fibre cabinet is a mere 300m away in our village. Not cost effective to connect us. But then again, 4 engineer visits in 6 weeks isn't really 'cost effective' either.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Copper rocks

      "* 2.4km copper line to next village, but the fibre cabinet is a mere 300m away in our village. Not cost effective to connect us. "

      It is if pikeys keep stealing the copper.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Branding

    If there was a requirement on all suppliers to use FTTC or FTTH as part of the product name it would be a lot clearer. e.g. Openreach FTTH Broadband.

    Likewise for cable. I'm on that and it says ultrafast, ultra-reliable fibre powered by DOCSIS® 3 technology. The cable to the home is coax however I know the fibre bit of this is just around the street corner in a cabinet.

  51. Milton Silver badge

    Integrity: optional

    There must be some psychological trick to it: perhaps a mental switch you can click to OFF ... because how else do marketurds manage to meet their own gaze in the mirror? I assume it is some sort of neat shortcut of the conscience which they share with others, like politicians. It enables a person to tell barefaced lies and mislead others, for no better reason than to extract money from them—and then continue walking around, talking, laughing, behaving as if nothing had happened, as if, indeed, they were actually normal humans.

    I wonder what happens if the switch fails at, say, four o'clock in the morning? Does a rush of unadulterated shame lead to suicide? Or, as with politicians, is the shame gland first surgically removed as a safety measure?

    How do people sleep, when their purpose in life is to lie to others in order to take their money?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Integrity: optional

      I think you'll find for people like this there is no switch. It's hardwired. They can lie in your face and not see anything wrong with it. We're talking people who can lie their teeth off and fool a polygraph. We have a term for it: sociopathy.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Integrity: optional

        "I think you'll find for people like this there is no switch. It's hardwired. They can lie in your face and not see anything wrong with it. We're talking people who can lie their teeth off and fool a polygraph."

        aka 'the difference between a used car salesman and a computer salesman is that the former knows when he's lieing'

  52. Iain
    FAIL

    Any connection with some fibre would be nice!

    I really could care less!

    I can't even get FTTC, and I'm in WC2

    BTs cabinet for the next street, which runs up to the building next door does, but not our cabinet

    Virgin Media were utterly useless, taking forever to decide that it would cost too much to connect me, even though they've been mail-shotting me saying we're connected for ages, and their checker offers a Quick Connection pack for the building next door again, indicating that it too is connected to VM

    If anyone has any ideas of how to get a connection, I'm all ears!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Any connection with some fibre would be nice!

      "Virgin Media were utterly useless, taking forever to decide that it would cost too much to connect me, even though they've been mail-shotting me saying we're connected for ages, and their checker offers a Quick Connection pack for the building next door again, indicating that it too is connected to VM"

      And this isn't considered False Advertising because...?

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Any connection with some fibre would be nice!

      If anyone has any ideas of how to get a connection, I'm all ears!

      Come to an arrangement with the owner next door? Get your own kit cabled up next door, pay a nominal rent for a bit of shelf in a cupboard and access to power and drag a cat.5 through a hole in the wall? Make sure VM know the billing address is different to the connection address.

      Not entirely joking...

      M.

  53. DanielR

    NO KIDDING. EdgeRouter-X SFP ONLY. I've been saying this all along.

    https://community.ubnt.com/t5/EdgeMAX-Stories/EdgeRouter-X-SFP-is-Super-Versatile-for-airMax-to-Fiber-install/cns-p/1305124/page/2

  54. Mark Wallace

    If it's fibre all the way to the African swallow's nest, then it's fibre!

    Stop yer moaning!

  55. mrs doyle

    FTTC enables telcos to help those close to cabs go a bit faster, that's all, it isn't fibre broadband it is just greedy incumbents milking copper assets. They should not be allowed to call if fibre. It is of no benefit to those on long phone lines or old faulty lines. It is a scam.

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