Demand still exists for full-fibre, ultra-fast broadband connections, despite relatively low levels of adoption in the UK, it has been claimed.
Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager at wholesale service provider Entanet, claimed that although fibre-to-the cabinet (FTTC) solutions are more popular - and widely available - than the premium fibre-to-the premises (FTTP) alternative, there remains a market for the latter.
This is the case even with the increasing adoption of competitively-priced Ethernet services, such as Ethernet-in-the-first-mile and Generic Ethernet Access, he argued.
Five years ago, FTTP was the next big thing in the broadband industry.
Eager to offer faster speeds to its customers, BT announced plans to cover 2.5 million premises with full-fibre networks by 2012. However this target was missed.
Instead, the telecoms giant focused on the rollout of the more affordable, and easier to deploy, FTTC broadband. So by 2012, only 100,000 UK premises had access to an utra-fast FTTP connection and even fewer had signed up.
Writing for the Entanet blog, Mr Heritage-Redpath explained that BT's initial coverage targets have now been "pretty much withdrawn" for FTTP, and the broadband provider has also temporarily removed its up to 330Mb FTTP-on-demand product from sale.
This all adds up to an "apparent U-turn" on FTTP broadband availability from BT, he noted - something he described as "an obvious disappointment to the industry".
Mr Heritage-Redpath claimed full-fibre FTTP was "always going to be to a relatively small niche market", especially with the growing availability of FTTC and ever-increasing popularity of Ethernet-based solutions.
But he explained that Entanet is still receiving regular enquiries about FTTP broadband from its resellers, who say they "often struggle" to find a wholesale provider for FTTP.
"It continues to be a viable option for business customers looking for high-speed connectivity but who don’t need the service guarantees provided by Ethernet," Mr Heritage-Redpath added.
"It’s only real current Achilles heel is its limited availability, especially when compared to its more accessible cousin FTTC."
He said businesses and households can benefit in a number of ways from the use of FTTP technology, which is delivered entirely independent of a copper telephone line.
"Unlike FTTC, which utilises fibre from the network to the cabinet and then copper to the premises, FTTP utilises fibre all the way to the premises," Mr Heritage-Redpath explained.
Essentially, this means the connections can provide much faster speeds to end-users.
In his view, the technology "remains an interesting tool to have in the box", particularly for business customers who want rapid speeds but have no need for the service guarantees provided by leased lines.
"Therefore, if you’ve written off FTTP you could be missing out on some valuable opportunities," Mr Heritage-Redpath claimed.
He said that, despite BT's decision to focus on FTTC for the time being, there is "still a niche" for FTTP broadband in the market.