The future of connectivity for the UK

The UK government is likely to allow telecoms firms to decommission all copper phone lines. The shut off will see the elimination of ADSL and FTTC, which are currently used by the vast majority of Britain's broadband connections

In their place will be FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) connections offering much higher speeds, and phone calls sent digitially over the top, with 20% of the roll-out subsidised by the Government, and 80% being down to purely commercial roll-outs. 

Currently, the UK only has 4 per cent full fibre connections, which is much lower than other European countries like Spain (71 per cent) and Portugal (89 per cent).

The switch off date has not yet been confirmed, although a HM Treasury spokesman has claimed that all UK homes and businesses will be able to access world-leading full fibre broadband by 2033.

The government expects a need for taxpayer funding of an additional £3-5 billion to deliver the full fibre and 5G upgrade. The investment will include connectivity for rural areas and new building developments. It is also anticipated that businesses requiring the switch from copper to full fibre will receive funding.

With the rollout of 5G internet, air speeds are set to increase to a level that competes with fibre broadband, which expands options outside of 4G.

Current copper cables are limited by bandwidth and experience resistance in the metal as electricity moves through, resulting in slower speeds. However, with fibre optic cables, data is transmitted through light and enables limitless packing of data into the cable area, which delivers extremely fast speeds.

Fibre is available in two variants - to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) - and the latter is faster as it runs speeds of up to 1Gbps.

4G is able to reach more areas than fibre with average speeds of 31Mbps; however, it is limited by connection quality in certain locations.

It is said 5G will boost mobile connectivity but will require a dense fibre network for a successful implementation, in which case, it may result in a more cost-effective connectivity to homes and businesses.

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