Get ready for superfast internet: £1 billion investment could bring ‘full-fibre’ and 5G broadband to families across the UK

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Two million homes and businesses around the UK could soon be getting a much faster internet connection.

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Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced investment of £400 million ($494 million) to boost broadband speeds around the country.

The autumn statement also included £740 million ($915 million) to provide superfast 5G mobile networks to certain local authorities.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to announce today, in his autumn statement, the dedication of more than £400 million to boosting broadband speeds around the country by increasing fibre-optic broadband across the UK. Fibre-optic cables are shown

Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to announce today, in his autumn statement, the dedication of more than £400 million to boosting broadband speeds around the country by increasing fibre-optic broadband across the UK. Fibre-optic cables are shown

FIBRE-OPTIC BROADBAND

Fibre-optic networks are much faster than the traditional copper internet cables, along with being more secure and reliable.

They work by transmitting pulses of light through cables made of glass or plastic.

Light can travel much longer distances through fibre-optic cables than electrons can through traditional copper cables, without losing as much energy.

This makes them more energy efficient, while also transmitting information at a faster rate.

A single optical fibre can carry over 3,000,000 voice calls or 90,000 TV channels.

Referred to as ‘full fibre’, Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) means fibre-optic cables go directly to homes, instead of a connection to a local on-street cabinet, from which copper cables then transmit the rest into your home – slowing down internet speeds.

Only two per cent of people in the country have this at the moment.

It will have the capacity to reach speeds of more than 1Gbps, which it is claimed could allow users to download an entire Game Of Thrones series in less than a minute.

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The £400 million will boost broadband speeds by increasing the reach of fibre-optic networks across the nation, with the public money to be matched by private investment.

Small internet companies will be able to borrow from this ‘digital infrastructure fund’ in order to provide fast broadband that can compete with larger internet providers, like BT, Sky and Virgin.

Fibre-optic networks are much faster than the traditional copper internet cables, along with being more secure and reliable.

Building more fibre-optic networks that reach a greater number of people could see people around the country able to download large data files, like HD television programmes, in a matter of seconds.

Companies will do this by building networks of optical fibre cables directly to people’s houses.

Referred to as ‘full fibre’, Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) means fibre-optic cables would go directly to homes, instead of a connection to a local on-street cabinet, from which copper cables then transmit the rest into your home – slowing down internet speeds.

The Treasury believes the money will help at least two million more homes and business get this ‘full-fibre’ broadband, which is often considered the future of high speed internet.

The new ‘full-fibre’ networks will have the capacity to reach speeds of more than 1Gbps, which it is claimed could allow users to download an entire Game Of Thrones series in less than a minute.

According to thinkbroadband, the average distance of a roadside cabinet to a home or business is between 50 metres and 1 km (164 and 3,280 feet).

But the average home and business is approximately 2.2 miles (3.5 km) away from a street cabinet so for two million, 4.34 million miles (7 million km) of cable would be needed according to Robin Kent, director of European operations at Adax,a leader in telecoms network infrastructure.

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‘If new fibre was run from a central office, the exchange building this would increase the line length needed to around 1.4 million miles (2.3 million km),’ Andrew Ferguson, editor at thinkbroadband.com told MailOnline.

Whitehall sources said public investment would encourage ‘new players’ to enter the broadband market to help provide the technology, which is currently enjoyed by just two per cent of families.

But Director of Communications at Cable.co.uk and consumer telecoms expert Dan Howdle said ‘it is utterly absurd that this funding should provide to a minority speeds for which there is no known or useful purpose’.

Instead he said the government should focus on increasing speeds for a greater number of people.

Fibre-optic networks are much faster than the traditional copper internet cables, along with being more secure and reliable.

They work by transmitting pulses of light through cables made of glass or plastic.

Light can travel much longer distances through fibre-optic cables than electrons can through traditional copper cables, without losing as much energy.

This makes them more energy efficient, while also transmitting information at a faster rate.

Earlier this year it was revealed 1.5 million Brits still have ‘below minimum’ service, according to a report by Ofcom. The interactive map above, compiled with 2015 data, shows average download speeds across the country

Grabs taken from the map show coverage across the UK – with red highlighting the best places in terms of download speeds and yellow showing the worst

Earlier this year it was revealed 1.5 million Brits still have ‘below minimum’ service, according to a report by Ofcom.

Hammond is also expected to offer local authorities the chance to bid for a slice of a £740 million fund to trial 5G mobile networks,

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Networks across the globe are still working on the roll out of 4G, which is not without its problems.

WHAT WOULD 5G LET YOU DO?

Possible advances in the next decade could bring:

Mobile phones and tablets that can download full length HD movies in less than 5 seconds, 100 times faster than 4G (6 minutes) and 25,000 times faster than 3G (26 hours).

First responders and emergency room doctors who get live, real-time video and sensor data from police vehicles, ambulances, and drones, along with patient vitals and medical records—all before the patient arrives at the hospital door.

Semi- or fully-autonomous vehicles that can communicate with the outside world and with each other to improve travel efficiency and safety.

Factories equipped with always-connected smart manufacturing equipment that self-diagnose and repair themselves before they break.

Gigabit-speed wireless broadband available in businesses, public transportation stations, stadiums, campuses, schools, malls, parks, and other public spaces.

Virtual reality training environments and simulators that allow entry-level workers to develop and demonstrate skills in high-demand fields like solar energy installation—anytime, from anywhere.

But that has not stopped them trying to make our mobile internet even faster for the next-generation of devices.

‘The focus right now should be on ensuring that 4G works sufficiently before turning our attention to the much mooted 5G,’ said Robin Kent, director of European operations at Adax.

‘Whilst 5G is theoretically 40 times faster than the hypothetical limit of 4G, for it to fulfil its claims it will take a great deal of pricey upgrading of the current infrastructure.’

Street with ‘one of the worst broadband speeds in UK’

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