Fibre rollout within the UK hasn’t been going especially smoothly recently, but efforts are nonetheless on track to reach complete coverage by 2030. Major population centres like London should see completion long before rural areas, likely achieving full availability around 2025.
Yet, as much effort and promise as this technology offers, there are questions as to its value in many real-life circumstances. With the common use of online bingo games as an example, Londoners can get a better look at where fibre might fall short, and why going for an upgrade might not yet be worth the cost.
Bingo, Browsing, and Demands
Playing online bingo has been a common hobby in the entire UK for well over a decade now, owing to the popularity of the classic game and how well it made the leap into the online space. Offering titles like Shaman’s Dream 2 and Lost Island has kept this industry successful for years, but it’s not this success that we’re so interested in.
Rather, it’s how well bingo games represent the average demands of millions of users. Online bingo requires browsing, it requires loading light interactive experiences, and in doing so, it reflects typical low-data usage patterns. In a nutshell, this game shows the gap many users will have with fibre necessity.
Need and Use
For people who only use their internet for low-demand systems like online bingo, fibre is nothing short of overkill. These games and websites are small and optimised enough that they’d work perfectly well on lower-speed plans. For a more direct reference, these titles would require something in the vicinity of 10mbps to play without issue or inconvenience. Modern fibre plans can target speeds of 1Gbps, 100 times faster. Sure, they might not cost 100 times more, but do you want to pay for something you’re not going to use?
Of course, there are more confounding variables to consider, the most pronounced of which are the existence of multiple users and the move many of us are making towards streaming systems. In essence, every simultaneous user on an internet connection will divide the total speed between all active systems. In something like bingo, which has low demands anyway, this isn’t likely to be an issue. If you’re watching high-definition movie streams, however, as at least 80% of us are, then this problem can become more evident.
Still, the calculations here are very simple ones. Even the most demanding streams from a service like Netflix use around 25Mbps, far under what most modern DSL plans will offer. Again, this raises the question of necessity, and whether changing the plan is ever going to be worth the cost.
Watch Your ISP
Though we’ve spent all this time explaining why making a change won’t be necessary for either bingo players or most movie watchers, there is a note we have to make on cost. The way ISPs often operate is by continually lowering the prices of their plans to stay competitive. These changes will often only apply to newcomers, however, where people on existing plans won’t be automatically changed to new plans that are both cheaper and faster.
For this reason, we’d suggest that each internet user checks their plan every year, and compares what they pay now to the current spectrum of prices. In many cases, you’ll be able to change to something cheaper that is just as fast. In some cases, you might even be able to get much faster fibre for the same cost or cheaper than the plan you pay for now. Sure, you might need the upgrade to keep playing bingo, but if it’s not going to cost more, then a little extra speed never hurt anyone.