Every UK home could have 50Mbps broadband

Copper < Fibre optic < Magic
Copper < Fibre optic < Magic

Ofcom has insisted that everyone in the UK could feasibly have access to 50Mbit/s internet connections through the traditional copper network.

The communications watchdog has looked at an idealised environment, and cable lengths from a real network, but its conclusion is that high speed broadband should not only be available for the few.

"Given the important relationship of distance to data rate, we based our model on information on cable lengths from a real network," states Ofcom.

Idealised environment

"We concluded that, in our idealised environment, capacities can further improve, compared to today's deployments.

"We found that if the upstream modem is hosted in the exchange, households within 2km of the exchange (approximately 18 per cent of the total number of households) could, in theory, receive data rates above 50Mbit/s.

"If the upstream modem is moved closer to the customer premises and into the street cabinet, then almost 100 per cent of households are within 2km of the street cabinet and could, theoretically, expect a data rate of 50Mbit/s."

Hang on...

But before you get too excited and cancel your subscription to Virgin Media's fibre optic cable service, Ofcom is at pains to point out that these findings do not represent the definitive answer.

"These results are theoretical and do not reflect what could be achieved in practise.

"Data rates experienced by end users depend not only on the distance between the customer premises and the exchange, but also on home wiring and interference at the exchange, cabinet, and in the home.

"In the real world there are different providers with different equipment sharing the exchange, and perhaps the cabinet, and therefore impacting performance.

"Nevertheless, the real value of this study is to suggest an upper limit, given all technical progress possible, of 50Mbit/s, with fibre to the cabinet."

As Homer Simpson points out, even communism works in theory.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.