Why does a UK provider need hollow fiber

We will tell you what this technology is and why one of the largest communication service providers in the UK became interested in it.

Photo: Chaitanya Tvs.  Source: Unsplash.com
Photo: Chaitanya Tvs. Source: Unsplash.com

Low speed region

Great Britain can boast of one of the mostslow»Connections in Europe. According to reportcompiled by M-Lab, Code for Science and Society, Princeton University Research Laboratory and Google, the average downstream in the country does not exceed 38 Mbps. At first glance, the situation does not look problematic, but only until it comes to analyzing what is happening in certain parts of the country. So, in the village of Trimli-Saint-Martin, the content download speed is less than 0.7 Mbps.

The British government is already addressing this issue. The authorities have initiated a program under which they plan to extend fiber to every home by 2025. To incentivize providers, the regulator subsidized infrastructure development, and British Telecom (BT) decided start testing “Hollow fiber” (hollowcore fiber).

What is “hollow fiber”

Unlike conventional fiber optic cable, hollowcore fiber optical fibers have an empty core. The technology has been known since the 90s, and for thirty years a large number of large institutions and government organizations, including DARPA… According to experts, the signal over a hollow cable passes each kilometer of the path is 1.54 ms faster than in the classical “optics”.

But over the past time, the technology and could not get widespread due to one key drawback – the signal in a hollow cable decays too quickly. But late last year, engineers from the British startup Luminocity managed to overcome the obstacle… The company brought to the market one of the first commercial solutions based on hollowcore fiber, and it is with her concluded partnership agreement provider BT.


Specialists of the British telecom plan to deploy a 10-kilometer network in their own research campus. If successful, the technology could help expand the capacity of broadband lines in the country and is likely to give the provider a competitive edge in the long term.

Photo: Nadine Shaabana.  Source: Unsplash.com
Photo: Nadine Shaabana. Source: Unsplash.com

The company also plans to test hollowcore fiber on niche problems – for example, for quantum key distribution in cryptography.

Who else works with this technology

In addition to UK telecom, HFT companies are testing hollow fiber optic cables. For them, even a few milliseconds can mean the difference between profit and loss. For example, in April of this year, cloud provider Interxion, whose clients are brokers and financial institutions, held out “Hollow channel” to the London Stock Exchange. To similar projects invested American trading companies.

The latter use hollow fiber to lay links just a few hundred meters away. One of the cases is connecting your own data centers to towers radio relay, with the help of which data on transactions is already transmitted over long distances.

In any case, the presented cases are niche, and about mass use hollowcore fiber there is no need to speak yet. But it can be expected that in the future there will be more projects that implement “hollow technology” in practice on a local scale.

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