April 18, 2016
The announcement that Ofcom is to investigate whether the roll-out of fibre to the home can be accelerated by using utility infrastructures has led to a call for caution from Geo, a fibre network provider.
While Geo supports the use of optical fibre for next generation UK broadband, the company claims that there are major obstacles to using the technology as an alternative to BT’s local access network in residential areas.
Geo operates an optical fibre network based in Thames Water’s London sewer system, where there is plenty of headroom and the cables can be securely pinned to the ceiling of the sewers.
According to the company such networks are easy to install with relatively little disruption compared with having to dig up streets, and are ideal for large businesses.
However, Geo cautions that sewer systems in other cities, and particularly in suburban and rural locations, are smaller or even non-existent.
While Geo believes that sewer-based networks have a role to play, it is calling for Ofcom to also investigate the status of duct networks owned by BT and Virgin Media, which could be upgraded to optical fibre.