The UK’s broadband network infrastructure is approaching a “capacity crunch”, according to researchers at the University of Southampton.
Research by David Richardson published in the journal Science has underlined that without radical investment, the current infrastructure (including fibre) will be overwhelmed. “The thought that the current fibre technology has infinite capacity is not true – we are beginning to hit the fundamental limits of the current technology,” Richardson told the BBC. “We need to be looking at the next big breakthrough to allow us to continue to scale as we have traditionally done…. If you gain a factor of two in bandwidth by developing a whole new amplifier technology, that’s perhaps two or three years of capacity growth. To get radical changes – to get factors of 100 or 1000 – it’s going to be extremely demanding.”
“It’s likely we’re going to have to go right back to the fundamentals of the optics, the actual light pipes. And if you want to develop the next generation of cable, you want to be doing that 10 years in advance, not for tomorrow.”
However a number of ISPs, including BT and Sky, disagree, while others like Virgin have said recently that there is a problem looming.