There has already been some action in the Home Counties when it comes to providing rural communities with full-fibre broadband courtesy of Gigaclear. But a proposal has been put up for another provider to provide a whole county in the UK with fibre-to-the-premises broadband with involvement from its local government.
The Shropshire County Counccil previously warned that they could ’t cover Shropshire with next generation broadband if they went the BT Openreach fibre-to-the-cabinet way which was based on VDSL2 for the copper run. But they have approached a rival provider to provide a “fibre-to-the-premises” service at a cheaper rate than the BT FTTC solution.
This would be inherently a public-private project with private investors where they could prove that they could even cover Shropshire’s rural properties with full-fibre technology. Readers who are in the USA or Australia may find this fanciful but the UK have rural properties that are relatively smaller than what is seen as common in these countries with a lot of small villages scattered around the country being the norm for the UK.
It will be initially a two-stage effort with a fibre-wireless effort with fixed-wireless technology in some areas but will evolve to a full-fibre technology in all areas. There is also the ability for a local village to pitch their own funding to go fibre all the way rather than a fixed wireless solution in Phase 1.
A good issue to raise with these community-focused developments assisted by other companies is whether they will give BT Openreach a “kick in the pants” to provide next-generation broadband at a more cost-effective price point. It also relate this to other markets like Australia, it could raise the issue of having competing providers working alongside local government to achieve the same goal.
As well, could this allow for the start of a competitive market when it comes to the provision of next-generation broadband in urban, peri-urban and rural areas.