|Some would say; ‘About time too’|
Mandatory full fibre broadband for all new build homes and a new priority to connect hard-to-reach rural areas are key measures proposed in a national, long-term strategy for UK telecommunications.
The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR), announced as part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, proposes the changes that are needed to give the majority of the population access to 5G, connect 15m premises to full fibre broadband by 2025, and provide full fibre broadband coverage across all of the UK by 2033. Full fibre infrastructure is vital to underpin 5G coverage.
The FTIR’s analysis indicates that, without change, full fibre broadband networks will at best only ever reach three quarters of the country, and it would take more than twenty years to do so. It also indicates that 5G offers the potential for an expansion of the telecoms market, with opportunities for existing players and new entrants.
Alongside the FTIR, Government has also published a Digital Infrastructure Toolkit which will allow mobile networks to make far greater use of Government buildings to boost coverage across the UK.
The Government will pursue an “outside-in” strategy, meaning that while network competition serves the commercially viable areas, the Government will support investment in the most difficult to reach areas at the same time.The government will shortly publish consultations on legislative changes to streamline wayleaves and mandate fibre connections in new builds. The conclusions of the Review will also form the basis of the government’s Statement of Strategic Priorities (SSP) to Ofcom, setting out the strategic objectives and outcomes that the regulator must have regard to in the exercise of its regulatory functions.