Fibre is considered by the broadband industry and government to be the most crucial technology underpinning our future ultrafast fixed broadband network.
However, fibre is not always practical or affordable to roll out and there are other technologies that could bring the connectivity.
Can these technologies bring the required speeds? Ultrafast is defined by UK regulator Ofcom as speeds of 300Mbps, so it is a tall order from currently available technologies such as LTE or copper broadband. Fibre, for its part, allows effectively unlimited speeds.
CBR looks at the alternative technologies to fibre and the role they could play in bringing ultrafast connectivity in the future.
5G is the next generation of cellular connectivity technology that will follow 4G, which is now widely available in modern day smartphones.
It will have many of the same characteristics, and has advantages such as being able to be beamed out via transmitters to wide areas. To increase the reach of fibre, expensive trenches have to be dug.
Since 5G will provide the backbone for the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G is supposed to provide low latency, so that devices running on it will be able to be constantly connected and be highly energy-efficient, so that devices using it can survive on batteries for a large amount of time without being recharged.
Can it do ultrafast?
The specifications for 5G have not been agreed upon yet, but one of the main expectations is that it will be able to transmit data very quickly.
According to the website 5G.co.uk, 5G may provide speeds 100 times faster than 4G. This means it could exceed 10Gbps, making it a good candidate for ultrafast connectivity.
Even more impressively, the 5G Innovation Centre has achieved the high speeds of around 1 Tbps.