Friday, November 11, 2011

U.K. Will Not Reach 30 Mbps Broadband Access Goal by 2020

FTTH Deployment Cost
Rural fiber infrastructure cost
BT Group Director of Strategy and Policy Sean Williams considers the EU target of 30 Mbps to all citizens by 2020 as "not achievable for any country." 

That doesn't mean complete or even substantial failure. In fact, one might argue the opposite. 

BT does seem to believe it will be possible to provide 30 Mbps access to about 90 percent of the U.K. population. 

For the final 10 percent of homes or locations, 2 Mbps might be more reasonable, for all sorts of good reasons related directly to the cost of building communications infrastructure in rural and isolated areas. Some might argue that the cost curve looks very much like the curve that describes the cost of providing health care to people, where most of the cost is incurred late in life. 

Likewise, the cost of building facilities to the last couple of percentage points of locations is very high. That's one reason satellite broadband providers have a business. The core market is about two percent of U.S. households, for example. 

The high cost of reaching the last 10 percent of locations in either the U.K. or U.S. markets always will be a problem, at least when using fixed networks, whether the services are narrowband or broadband . EC broadband target unreachable 

So some might argue that 90-percent coverage of the United Kingdom with 30 Mbps service by 2020 is not in any way "a failure." It is a success. But the problem with all infrastructure goals is that it always is a stretch to reach the last 10 percent of potential customers with networks of any kind.

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