Fibre broadband: The cost of delivering in rural areas

By Jane Wakefield
Technology reporter

Publishedduration1 hour agoimage copyrightPaul Brettimage captionPaul Brett lives "a stone's throw" from the town of Wisbech but has very slow broadband

Wisbech is a pretty market town in Cambridgeshire but it's an area divided by access to fast broadband.

Paul Brett moved to the area in 2003, seeking a slightly more laid-back way of life. But as a software engineer, he also needed fast broadband.

And despite being in a location that is not exactly rural – he can see the town from his house – he has struggled, initially on a 0.5Mbps (megabits per second) connection when he moved in, rising to 5Mbps now – still in the bottom few in the country for broadband speed.

A few years ago he was hopeful he could make the leap into the 21st century when a technology called Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) finally became available to the town.

He was disappointed to find it didn't help.

"My speed halved – rather than being an upgrade it got worse, so I immediately cancelled that and got my money back," he says.

That's because FTTC, as the name suggests, runs only to the nearest green street cabinet. For the last part of the journey, broadband has to travel along old copper wire – which means that the further away you live, the worse the speed gets.