UK Edge servers: BT says 1,000; Vodafone 64; DT 12

Iain Morris quotes Tom Bennett of BT, “BT would need 1,000 edge computing centres to cover the whole UK. … But it has yet to work out the business case for a major edge investment. One challenge that surrounds the so-called ‘distributed cloud’ will be getting customers to pay for premium services. Another is determining what the most viable services will be.”

Actually, BT could cover the whole UK with only a relative handful of centres, placed further back in the network, a Level 3 or 4 Edge network. That would allow developing the business at a modest cost. I’ve recommended that nearly all carriers make that investment, even if they are not ready for a more extensive edge. The performance will not be as good, however.

Deutsche Telekom is starting with only six sites, going to 12 soon. I believe the Germans will quickly go to 900 sites. But neither they nor the Brits have to have such wide coverage initially.

BT tells Morris its typical latency is 30 ms, going down to 20 ms with 5G. (These numbers are suspiciously low for an ordinary 4G network.)
Morris separately quotes Vodafone CTO Scott Petty saying, “The use cases don’t exist for why we would want to do that.” Petty’s current expectation is that Vodafone UK would need roughly eight data centers to guarantee latency of between 15 and 20 milliseconds in the UK market. (That latency figure is also suspiciously low.) He doubts that number will rise above 64 even with the emergence of new services. “The power consumption, security concerns and energy costs would outweigh the economic benefits.”

Improvements welcome