The government has unveiled plans to secure full-fibre broadband coverage across all of the UK by 2033, as part of a new telecoms strategy.
The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review details plans to connect 15m premises to full-fibre broadband by 2025 and equip all new homes with the gigabit capable connections.
Ministers claim the blueprint will lay the groundwork for the rollout of ultrafast 5G mobile internet connections across the country in the coming years too.
Jeremy Wright, the secretary for culture and digital, said the government was committed to establishing “world-class connectivity” for everyone “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 opportunity and make it easier and cheaper to roll out,” he added.
Just 4 per cent of UK premises have access to full-fibre broadband connections, putting the UK leagues behind other European countries such as Spain and Portugal, where market penetration is 71 and 89 per cent respectively.
Market competition “should deliver full-fibre networks across 80 per cent of the UK if we get the conditions right”, the strategy states. The government estimates that the total required investment will amount to £30bn, with ministers earmarking £3bn-£5bn and expecting industry to stump up the rest.
“It’s clearly an economic priority for the government,” Mark Collins of the full-fibre provider CityFibre told the BBC Today programme this morning. “Clearly we need the right environment, a stable regulatory and policy environment to do that.”
Last month, CityFibre was granted permission to push forward with a judicial review of the Advertising Standards Authority’s decision to allow internet service providers to describe fibre-to-the-cabinet services, which rely on copper, as fibre broadband.
“To get the return, it’s equally important to look at the demand side,” Collins added. “That means avoiding price rises, ensuring switching between networks is simple and ending the years of misleading ‘fake fibre’ advertising.”