UK long-term digital strategy announced
The UK government has announced, as part of its modern Industrial Strategy, that it will provide access to 5G for a majority of the population, deliver full fibre broadband to 15 million premises by 2025, and provide full fibre broadband coverage across the UK by 2033.
The aim is to drive large-scale commercial investment in the fixed and wireless networks so the UK can remain competitive in the digital world. Thus, the government has mandated full fibre broadband for all new build homes and made rural areas a priority for connectivity. The emphasis is on delivering greater choices for consumers with an eventual switch from copper to fibre.
Availability of full fibre across the country is likely to require additional funding of around £3-£5 billion.
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Secretary of State, Jeremy Wright said: "We want everyone in the UK to benefit from world-class connectivity no matter where they live, work or travel. This radical new blueprint for the future of telecommunications in this country will increase competition and investment in full fibre broadband, create more commercial opportunities and make it easier and cheaper to roll out infrastructure for 5G."
The announcement follows the study by the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) that indicated major changes are required if the UK is to have full fibre broadband networks across the entire country. The FTIR also indicated that 5G had the potential to expand the country's telecoms market.
The government is set to provide investment for difficult-to-reach areas, with £200 million already identified within the existing Superfast broadband programme to further the delivery of full fibre networks immediately.
A Digital Infrastructure Toolkit has also been published by the government to enable mobile networks boost coverage across the UK by making greater use of government buildings.
Consultations on the legislative changes to streamline wayleaves and mandate fibre connections in new builds will soon be published.