In the early 2000s, BT spent a lot of time upgrading exchanges to support ADSL. They then upgraded them to support ADSL2+ over a number of years, and recently built many thousands of new cabinets to support FTTC. What would the UK be like today if BT had instead gone straight for installing FTTP to everyone right from the early 2000s? They could have completely upgraded the whole infrastructure in one go. They could have taken an exchange, removed all existing copper/aluminium cabling and installed fresh new fibre down the empty ducts to everyone. Landline phones could run over the same fibre. Sure, it would have been inconvenient to a local area cutting everyone off while they upgraded everyone, but totally worth it. The initial cost would have been huge of course, but 14 years later, surely the benefits would be being felt.
1. BT would have had almost zero maintenance costs on the areas upgraded, instead of the high costs of copper maintenance. Fibre is not affected by electrical interference, water ingress, crosstalk or anything like that. Once installed, the network would need virtually no maintenance. Surely the money saved from maintenance costs dealing with thousands of faults with aged cables would have been beneficial, and then could be used for upgrading other areas? This effect would accelerate the more areas were upgraded - IE, engineers from that area could begin upgrading the next.
2. The costs of taking an old exchange, upgrading it to ADSL, then upgrading it ADSL2+, then installing cabinets for FTTC, then maybe FTTDP and ultimately FTTP would be much higher than stripping everything out and installing FTTP from the beginning.
Once the country was upgraded, we could have had symmetric gigabit everywhere by now and the country would be all the better for it. I have no idea how long it would take to upgrade the whole country to FTTP, but if we had started in 2000, I bet we would be 85% of the way there after 14 years. Unfortunately, we are in a sad state of affairs where BT seems to do what is best for themselves rather than what's best for the future of the country's infrastructure.
What I'm suggesting is probably only possible in a perfect world, I know. BT doesn't have limitless money and may have gone bankrupt doing this. But if BT hadn't been privatized, maybe the UK's broadband infrastructure could have been so much better?
I am one of the lucky ones with my current connection, but I know plenty of people who get very slow and extremely unreliable service on their lines.
80000/20000 sync - 150m from cabinet