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Top 10 broadband stories of 2019

Here are Computer Weekly’s top 10 broadband stories of 2019

The European broadband industry in 2019 was a place of huge activity and investment, with one overarching theme – full-fibre roll-out.

This was especially the case in the UK, where throughout the year, providers of all sizes embarked on plans to enable the country to catch up with its European peers in terms of access to gigabit networks. The fundamental benefit of such networks seemed as crystal clear as the fibres themselves – support for business transformation.

Yet this was not just a year of accelerated access by technology companies; it was a year when rolling out fibre-based broadband has been a hot political issue in the UK and was central to the plans of all the leading parties, in particular Labour, which had a radical plan to make fibre broadband freely available on a mass scale. This came just weeks after the ruling Conservative government rowed back on prior commitments to taking fibre to the country’s previously ignored heartlands.

So what will happen now as the dust settles on the General Election is not clear, but what is obvious is the appetite from companies everywhere for access to ultra-high-speed broadband networks that can take their businesses to another level. The big hope is that these wishes will be delivered in 2020.

Here are Computer Weekly’s top 10 networking stories of 2019.

1. Global broadband market sees fibre push

Trend towards fibre and dropping copper for broadband links continues in second quarter, but at a slower rate.

2. Community Fibre lights up south London gigabit broadband

Fibre-to-the-home provider Community Fibre has teamed with cloud and IT services provider Glemnet to bring unprecedented gigabit speed broadband to customers in south London.

3. State backs Norway’s fibre cable capacity building

Norway is increasing investment in communications infrastructure in an effort to reduce reliance on Swedish and Danish networks.

4. European Investment Bank offers financial support for Orange fibre network

Orange aims to accelerate French fibre momentum following €700m loan from European Investment Bank to develop non-metro French high-speed broadband.

5. Industry questions viability of Labour plan to offer free full-fibre broadband to all UK homes

Uproar in tech sector as Labour proposes to part-nationalise BT and offer free full-fibre broadband to all individuals and businesses by 2030 if it wins the General Election.

6. Full-fibre within reach of 2.5 million homes and businesses

Access to full-fibre broadband is approaching 10% of properties in the UK.

7. Is there substance in Boris Johnson’s full-fibre broadband vision?

The new prime minister made a bold promise to roll out full-fibre broadband across the country by 2025 – but it is a challenging task that requires serious investment and planning.

8. CityFibre announces consultation to speed up full fibre switchover

CityFibre undertakes industry-wide consultation process regarding the role of builders such as itself in developing the switchover from legacy copper networks.

9. Research explores economic benefits of full-fibre and 5G at local level

The Broadband Stakeholders Group publishes research by Oxera to help local authorities understand the benefits of full-fibre and 5G.

10. Gigabit internet now available to one in 20 globally

5G starts eating into fibre as 5% of the global population gains access to gigabit networks.

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