Six million homes and businesses will have access to ultrafast internet speeds in only two years’ time if Ofcom’s latest proposals become a reality.
This will open up a world of new possibilities for Sussex companies seeking new customers and more flexible working practices.
The legal separation of Openreach from BT has already opened the door to more investment in fibre, with Openreach committed to three million premises by 2020.
Ofcom’s latest proposal to double that number will be achieved by opening up Openreach’s tunnels and telephone poles to its competitors.
Rolling out fibre to the premises (FTTP) to six million homes and businesses will mean that 20 per cent of the UK will have access to speeds many times faster than currently available and much more reliable. At the moment, only three per cent have FTTP. So, it will be a revolution in connectivity.
The availability of such higher-speed internet connections will have a big impact on businesses and the world of commerce. It could also bring down overheads. Businesses could opt for a ‘full fibre’ connection rather than renting a separate leased line to support high-speed connections.
Full fibre would also support cheaper telephony for a large workforce and make virtual meetings and web conferences much easier to run for a large number of people. Employees won’t need to leave their workstation to participate – so fuel bills could be slashed while employee productivity increases.
Gary Jowett at Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton says: “We all need to keep an eye on further announcements from the regulator and from communication providers to find out when and where these new fibre connections will be installed. It could have a significant impact on the way you and your competitors will operate in the future. A much greater bandwidth could expand the number of services you provide to customers at greater speed. There could also be big changes to the way your supply chain is set up.”
Ofcom also wants Openreach to halve the wholesale prices it charges communication providers (CPs) for its current basic superfast connections of 10 and 40Mbit/s.
If CPs pass on the price reduction to customers, this could also cut costs for businesses meaning more consumers will be able to afford superfast broadband to access online services.
Gary says: “This is a time to review of all the sales and customer service methods you use because a lot of the current assumptions are about to go out of the window. It’s an opportunity to be much more creative about the way your products and services are delivered.”