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Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband connections will be capable of meeting user demand for the foreseeable future, it has been claimed.

Sean Williams, BT's Strategy Director, moved to counter criticism that hybrid-fibre networks are not equipped to meet growing demand for super and ultra-fast services.

Unlike fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections - which use fibre-optics from the telephone exchange to the end-user - FTTC utilises copper cables from the street cabinet.

Mr Williams said that pure fibre infrastructure is "unlikely ever to be capacity-constrained" because operators can simply add wavelengths to increase capacity if needed.

However, he claimed the economic costs of universal FTTP delivery are "prohibitive" and, as such, FTTC is a more viable option for a nationwide rollout.

"Where insufficient funding for the universal deployment of FTTP but an established copper telephone infrastructure exists, FTTC makes economic sense," Mr Williams claimed.

"It leverages assets already in place, minimises local disruption during the rollout, and avoids the most expensive and complex replacement of individual connections to individual premises while still delivering very high broadband speeds."

He argued that "dogmatic attachment" to FTTP as the only technology solution appropriate for fibre networks is actually a barrier to investing in fibre broadband.

Mr Williams said this view "massively increases" the cost and disruption, undermines the business case, and consequently delays deployment.

"The criticism levelled at FTTC is that it is not future-proofed," he stated.

"Further expenditure will be incurred in the future to upgrade the network to FTTP as demand for bandwidth increases. However, experience has shown that there is plenty of headroom in FTTC technology for bandwidth increases."

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