More FTTC cabinets reaching capacity, report finds

More FTTC cabinets reaching capacity, report finds

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A growing number of fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) street cabinets are reaching their maximum capacity for connections, a new report has found, which could leave many households stuck on waiting lists until services can be expanded.

The analysis by Thinkbroadband found that, for the UK as a whole, 2.07 per cent of cabinets are at full capacity - up from 1.83 per cent in May. The organisation noted that while this may not seem like an especially high figure, it can still be highly frustrating for those living in these areas, while there are several parts of the country where the situation is significantly worse.

Five council areas have more than one in ten properties that may be unable to access VDSL2 broadband as a result of these issues, with the worst-affected part of the UK being the Isles of Scilly, where 23 per cent of cabinets are full.

In fact, all four of the worst-affected areas are island councils, with the Orkney Islands (17.46 per cent), the Isle of Wight (17.41 per cent) and the Shetland Islands (10.49 per cent) also struggling with capacity issues, illustrating how rural and remote locations continue to be underserved by good broadband connectivity.

The worst-affected location in mainland UK, and fifth-worst overall, was Merythr Tydfil in south Wales, where 10.44 per cent of cabinets are at capacity.

Thinkbroadband commented: "The frustration is likely to get worse as the take-up of FTTC and other faster than ADSL2+ services is set to increase. While in some areas FTTP or cable options will be also available, the limited number of retailers selling the Openreach FTTP products continues to impact on the public."

It was also noted by ISPReview that while local demand can go up and down, especially if  new competitors enter an area or customers migrate from FTTC to other options like cable or FTTP, in some cases it may be that the only option is for Openreach to build new cabinets.

However, this can be a complex process, with issues such as hardware costs, planning permission, permits for road access, wayleave agreements, power supply requirements and local objections all potentially slowing down the rollout of expanded services.

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