Hyperoptic’s overkill 10Gbps fibre trial ‘more than a clever PR stunt’

3 years ago admin Comments Off on Hyperoptic’s overkill 10Gbps fibre trial ‘more than a clever PR stunt’

Yes, I need an 8K livestream in every room

The biz, which targets its full-fibre network in 30 cities across the UK, was able to stream four high-definition 4K videos simultaneously, plus one in 8K to a single access point.

The technology would allow a user to download a standard HD movie file (5GB) in 4 seconds, compared with 6 minutes, 40 seconds on a 100Mbps connection; or download a 25GB Xbox game in 20 seconds, compared with 33 minutes, 20 seconds on a 100Mbps connection.

Chief exec Dana Tobak admitted it was difficult to see a use for residential purposes, although she told The Register it was “more than a clever PR stunt.”

She said that, from a residential perspective, limited hardware specs mean it’s difficult to find a PC that will be cable of doing over 100Mbps.

“In a residential environment you would currently be hard pressed to use all of 1Gbps, never mind 10Gbps. I think in the near term where there is a case for 10Gbps is businesses, which have servers, servings tens-of-hundreds of people.”

She said Hyperoptic hoped to offer the speeds to businesses by the end of the year, but said the scope of its service would depend on demand.

For the trial it used a single thread of single mode fibre with a bidirectional 10G SFP+ transceiver. The layer 2 technology was 10G Ethernet instead of passive optical network (PON).

Dario Talmesio, principal analyst at Ovum, said it was difficult to see any practical use for 10Gbps speeds at the moment. “As a marketing exercise it is clever, as it puts their name out there.” But he said it is also indicative of an appetite for faster speeds.

“The reality is that only 3 per cent of the UK market can get real fibre.” He added that the increased resilience that comes with full-fibre is arguably more important than speed.

A number of operators have begun making noises about bringing full-fibre speeds of up to 1Gbps to consumers. Last week TalkTalk promised to roll out fibre to 3 million premises in the UK.

BT’s Openreach also announced plans to connect 3 million premises to full fibre by 2020; while Vodafone inked a deal with CityFibre in November to connect up to 5 million premises over the next eight years.

However, William Webb, former director of the regulator Ofcom and current CEO of the Weightless Special Interest Group, questioned whether most people would need to access those speeds.

“At present, it’s hard to see a strong need for a data rate per person in the home beyond around 15Mbps. At this data rate it’s possible to stream 4K video, web browsing is not constrained by the access speed and most file downloads are completed pretty fast. That might mean in a household of four people that up to 60Mbps would be valuable.”

He said it was possible to imagine scenarios that might need higher such as some versions of VR.

“All this suggests that focussing on delivering circa 50Mbps to every home is more important that Gbps speeds to some.” ®

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