Survey: Consumers Want Faster, More Reliable Broadband
While telecoms and broadband providers aggressively compete for customers by offering multi-service packages, those same customers say they would be happy to forgo packages including TV, landline and mobile services in exchange for a faster and more reliable broadband connection. According to a survey conducted by Hyperoptic, some 75% of current broadband customers are unhappy with their service.
Much of the unhappiness is directly related to speed and reliability. For example, a sizeable neighbourhood accessing broadband by way of copper data cabling may provide sufficient speed during non-peak times. However, when connection use is substantial, both speed and reliability slow down. That is why some companies are beginning to turn to fibre optic cable installation.
Fibre optic cable is finally reaching a state of maturation thanks to more and more network professionals recognising its benefits. Fibre optic transmits data more quickly using light rather than electrical impulses. Using light instead of electricity also reduces attenuation over long distances. Finally, fibre-optic cables tend to be more durable than their copper counterparts are. All three factors are playing heavily into the fibre revolution that the data cabling industry is now undergoing.
Hyperoptic vice president of revenue Steve Holford says his company was launched in 2011 with a focus on changing the industry by working only with fibre optic. They use no copper cabling whatsoever, choosing instead to offer a fibre optic cable installation that runs from their facilities directly to customer residences. He says Hyperoptic has seen extensive growth over the years; the company is now in 12 UK cities serving more than 100,000 customers.
At the heart of what Hyperoptic does is a broadband package that makes 1,000Mbps connections the norm. Moreover, according to managing director Donna Tobak, offering such high speeds makes marketing her company's services much easier. She says Hyperoptic recognises UK consumers want fast broadband service in order to keep up in the digital world. They are willing to pay for it as well.
Tobak is quick to point out that reliability among broadband customers is just as important as speed, if not more important in some cases. It is yet another reason Hyperoptic offers only fibre optic solutions. Fibre optic data cabling is more reliable than hybrid copper-fibre optic networks because of its stronger physical properties, lower attenuation, and ability to withstand electromagnetic interference.
The Hyperoptic consumer survey does make a strong case for fibre optic over copper for consumer broadband internet. Nevertheless, it by no means suggests that copper cable is dead. The copper network installation has advantages of its own that will continue to make it a desirable option for various installations.
The strongest case for copper data cabling is the local area network (LAN) that utilises primarily ethernet connections. There is no beating copper for these kinds of applications in terms of cost, ease-of-use, and installation. Therefore, while fibre optic may continue to drive companies such as Hyperoptic forward, copper data cabling will still hold its place as an excellent solution at the enterprise network level.