UK incumbent BT may well extend the life of its copper broadband network rather than switch to fibre for faster broadband. Lucy Dimes, chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent UK and Ireland told a forum in London last week that vectoring broadband technology (VDSL) could extend the life of copper technology to provide speeds of up to 100Mbps, ZDnet has reported.
Vectoring employs noise cancellation technology to increase the viability of copper lines for delivering higher speeds.
Sean Williams, director of strategy, policy and portfolio at BT confirmed that the network provider is keeping its options open when it comes to meeting its commitments to rolling out super-fast broadband as part of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme. “Copper is a permanent feature of our network,” Williams said. “There will be people who want copper telephony and not broadband.” While BT is pushing its up-to 40Mbps FTTC-based product using the Infinity brand, and expects to cover two thirds of the UK over five years, Williams said that vectoring and broadband extension technology (BET) would remain part of its equation.
Williams comments to Telecoms.com in a interview last September echoed these points when he criticised that Australian government’s NBN fibre focussed scheme for being wasteful. “[The NBN] is expensive and it risks [technology] redundancy. A lot of money is being spent to buy out copper assets that actually might have a life in the future, and replace it with fibre.”
However, Bill Mackenzie, business unit director of carrier solutions at Fujitsu told the e-Forum that sticking with copper was short sighted, and that full fibre connections would be better long term investments.
“For me it’s about making sure we make the right investment at the right time for the long term, rather than doing it in the short-term which may end in cul-de-sacs”.”