Cost of UK broadband plan may soar to €35.8b, says group

The cost to connect every UK household to an ultra-fast, fiber-based broadband network could be up to 28.8 billion pounds (€35.8 billion), a Dow Jones report said.

The Dow Jones report further quoted the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) saying that rolling out fiber to the cabinet (FCCH), in which the very last part of the broadband connection from the street cabinet to the home uses existing copper wires, could cost substantially less, at around 5.1 billion pounds (€6.35 billion), but would only allow download speeds of between 30Mbps and 100Mbps.

BSG has produced a report which will inform a government review into next generation broadband.

Taking fiber right to the home (FTTH), however, could cost up to 28.8 billion pounds (€35.8 billion) depending on the technology used and would allow broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps, around 1,000 times faster than average 1Mbps download speed available on the current network, the majority of which is copper-wire based, the Dow Jones report also said.

The report also found that the cost of deploying fiber in rural areas will be significantly higher than in urban, high-density areas.

Despite the high costs, the BSG has said in a previous report into next generation broadband that the economic and social benefits are expected to outweigh the initial financial outlay.

The economies of deployment in the UK are still being debated by the main players, including communications regulator Ofcom, former UK incumbent fixed-line operator BT Group PLC, cable company Virgin Media, which already has a fibre network, and H20 Networks, the Dow Jones report further said.