Fibre optical cable to the home race, UK and Italy at the back of the pack

France, Germany and Spain are outstripping the UK and Italy in demand for fibre optical cable – a symptom, says independent cable maker Tratos, of a stalling in the growth of broadband networks and, ultimately, a threat to economic health.

India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all show clear growth in demand for fibre optical cable.  Closer to home Turkey and Middle East countries have all outstripped Italy and the UK’s gains.

As an indicator of economic competitiveness, it appears that Italy and the UK are losing the race for faster communications.

Independent cable manufacturer Tratos Ltd, which manufactures in the UK and sells worldwide, has long been championing the cause of faster broadband for Britain. Dr Maurizio Bragagni CEO has warned that continued obstacles to genuine fibre optical cable to the home (FTTH) presented by failing copper networks is already having a negative impact on economic competitiveness.

This week he used latest figures for worldwide fibre optic cable consumption to hold a mirror to stalling growth in two of the developed world’s leading economies as younger nations storm ahead with ambitious plans for superfast communications.

But it’s not just developing economies that are setting the pace.  Japan has a population of 127 million while the UK’s figure is around 67 million and Italy 60.6 million.  While Japan has twice the population its increased demand for fibre optic cable is six times higher than either the UK or Italy.

South Korea, with a population of 51.25 million, has seen growth rates around four times higher than those of the UK and Italy and Turkey’s is almost double, set against population of 79.51 million. *(figures based on fibre optic consumption quarter 2 2017)

Said Dr Bragagni; “Many operators have been unwilling to give up on a copper network that is no longer fit for purpose.  Copper serves to block genuine high-speed broadband – in practical terms, for most of us in the UK, fibre to the home doesn’t exist.  Super-fast fibre gets as far as the cabinet on the street, and then creeps through the copper to its destination.  Moves are underway to unpick the monopoly, but in the same vein, progress is slow.

“We are lagging millions of metres behind our competitors now and there has been very little change in the volume brought in – across both countries.  A flat ordering pattern is working against the economy; fibre optical consumption has to spike, and quickly, to show that Ofcom is putting its money where its mouth is.  Neither Britain nor Italy can afford to lose this race, it’s arguably the most important race of all – and for Britain, even bigger than Brexit.

“As a Tuscan living and working in my adopted country, the UK, with a business that trades globally I am seriously worried about the pedestrian pace adopted here and in my country of origin, Italy.  As countries we must we able to compete competitively, worldwide, if we are to survive.  We are losing ground presently and once a significant lead has been established by our competitors and the new economies on the block – we are going to have to run the race of our lives, just to stand still.”

Earlier this year Tratos signed a deal to guarantee optical fibre supplies for the development of ultra-broadband and FTTH networks. The deal boosts Tratos’ supply capability for the UK as well as Europe and the company will use the fibre in the development of ultra-fast broadband and FTTH cable networks.

Dr Maurizio Bragagni CEO of Tratos Ltd one of the biggest independent cable makers which has grown globally thanks to its focus on ‘innovation in everything’.  

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