UK Government urged to roll out full fibre broadband plan by 2019

A report published by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has called for the UK’s government to create a National Broadband Plan by Spring 2019. The aim is to achieve nationwide coverage of full fibre (FTTP/H) broadband by 2033.

Published in the form of the National Infrastructure Assessment, the first of its kind, the report states that the government must plan to deliver “full fibre connections across the whole country, including those in rural areas - this should ensure that the technology is available to 15 million homes and businesses by 2025, 25 million by 2030, and all homes and businesses by 2033.”

The goals are remarkably similar to those of the Government and Chancellor Philip Hammond, who said earlier this year in May that he set a target to expand full fibre connections to reach 15 million premises by 2025, and “nationwide full fibre to the premises network” by 2033.

Chairman of the NIC Sir John Armitt commented: “This is not some unaffordable wish-list of projects: it sets a clear direction for how to meet the country’s future infrastructure needs, and makes a realistic assessment of what can and should be delivered within the stated aim of Ministers for steady and continued investment over the coming years.

“I therefore look forward to the Government’s response to our report, and seeing how our recommendations can become reality.”

While the NIC does not have the statutory independence to force through its recommendations, it requires the Government to at least respond to its reports within a year of publication, and ideally within six months.

It has been suggested that although the 2025 targets can be met, the aspirations for 2033 seem out of reach due to the lack of strategy or investments behind the roll outs.

Despite this, it is clear that the Government has already made headway on improvements to FTTP/H connectivity through new protocols set by Ofcom, amendments to the Electronic Communications code, and a number of funding packages to support full fibre expansion.