FTTP: The only answer to Digital Britain?

3 min read Networks & Network Services
BT Wholesale offers partners a vast range of fast and reliable connectivity options. Here Paul Beacham, Senior Manager, Data Networking Portfolios at BT Wholesale spoke to Comms Business about why there isn’t one access solution for all.

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): Will FTTP supersede all the new flavours of connectivity we are seeing?

Paul Beacham (PB): “The current Covid-19 pandemic has altered many aspects of our lives, and ultimately completely changed how many people work. We’re no longer necessarily based in offices – we’re scattered all over the country in cities, towns and the countryside. In turn, this has forced many businesses to look at their fixed connectivity to ensure business productivity and resilience. [They need to understand whether] the infrastructure is available to support new digital initiatives intended to help businesses refind their feet post-lockdown.

“FTTP provides superfast, reliable connectivity and off ers many other benefits that can enable businesses to flourish. That being said, it’s only as good as the core network being accessed. Extensive national coverage can ensure companies have connectivity wherever they are based and end-to-end connectivity solutions – whether FFTP or an alternative such as Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SoGEA) – that provide access into such networks should be prioritised.

“Businesses need to have choice, flexibility and access to a wide portfolio across both ethernet and broadband, and partners need to provide guidance to customers that there isn’t one access solution for all.”

CBM: Where else are we likely to see investment when it comes to superfast technology?

PB: “Moving forward, we’ll begin to see more organisations spreading connectivity infrastructure across superfast fixed line and 5G networks, in order to further increase resilience and drive digital operations.”

CBM: How can the Channel make smart business or IoT a reality?

PB: “Smart business is an important opportunity for the channel. By offering converged services across the spectrum of connectivity, share of wallet and customer retention will increase. This evolution is only going to gather pace, driven by the rising significance of IoT.

“Partners that can provide more services to businesses can become the provider of the ‘smart business’, a one-stop-shop that offers everything from fixed line connectivity to IoT ecosystems. We’re already seeing similar movements in the home utility sector, with energy brands off ering services outside of their traditional services and providing phone and internet connectivity.

“Customers want ease and are more likely to buy from a single provider, so partners who begin to take steps and package multiple vendor services together will be able to steal a march on competitors who focus on single smart solutions.”

CBM: The 5G hype machine is in overdrive. What could this technology do to the connectivity landscape? 

PB: “5G is a buzzword that has floated around for a while now. Ultimately, the industry is still yet to fully understand the plethora of capabilities and opportunities that this network will create, despite already being switched on in the UK last year.

“The more obvious use cases that have been touted, especially in the consumer world, have been faster download speeds and better streaming. But, 5G will be transformative for the B2B sector, amplifying many emerging technologies such as IoT, augmented and mixed reality and robotics which will see new digital opportunities and next-gen businesses in being born.

“Fixed line and 5G connectivity can work together to provide business with the resilient and nonstop connectivity needed to flourish in the all-IP world. As users slowly migrate to the 5G spectrum, it will make more space on the 4G network for IoT and other connected devices – enabling that ecosystem to grow even further. It’s an exciting future, and a technology that will change the landscape forever.”

This article was part of our ‘Road to Full Fibre’ supplement in September 2020.

Other articles from the supplement can be read on the links below:


A digital version of the full supplement can be accessed here.