All UK households should have access to full-fibre broadband by 2033, a new digital strategy from the government has proposed.
It suggests that new legislation is written to guarantee all new build homes are fitted with full-fibre broadband as standard.
Homes in rural and hard-to-reach areas should be prioritised for receiving full-fibre broadband, according to the report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
The majority of the UK will have access to 5G and 15million homes will have full-fibre by 2025
The report also recommends that the majority of the UK has access to 5G and 15 million premises are connected to full-fibre broadband by 2025.
Without these changes full-fibre broadband, which uses high-speed cables to provide fast internet access rather than copper wiring, will only ever reach three quarters of the country and this will take more than 20 years to achieve.
Culture Secretary 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 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 20 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.’
The changes proposed today come after the UK recently slipped to 31st from 35th place in the global broadband league tables.
Rural homes and those in hard-to-reach areas will be made a priority for full-fibre access
Analysis of 163 million broadband speed tests across 200 countries put Singapore in the top spot and the UK was the third bottom of countries within the European Union, according to the data from Cable.co.uk.
The government hopes that changes to regulation and an industry-led switch over from copper to full-fibre co-ordinated with Ofcom will help drive private investment and minimise the cost.
Hard-to-reach rural areas would be prioritised for fixed broadband and 5G mobile connections with around £200 million within the existing superfast broadband programme.
Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, said: ‘We welcome the government’s review, and share its ambition for full-fibre and 5G networks to be rolled out right across the UK.
‘The government and Ofcom are working together, and with industry, to help ensure people and businesses get the broadband and mobile they need for the 21st century.’
In the slow lane: The UK is now in the 31st place in the global broadband league tables
While Mark Pocock, home communications expert for Broadbandchoices.co.uk, said; ‘Despite it feeling like we are late to the party, far behind our European counterparts, the news of the government’s blue print is positive.
‘It puts the consumers at the heart of what is trying to be achieved and helps to break down the barriers operators face today. The commitment means that consumers will be able to fully benefit from technological advancements in the future, a solid, fast connection is key to this.
‘The challenge to consumers at the moment is two-fold. Not only are ‘full-fibre’ connections not readily available today, rural areas are suffering the most, and many consumers could already be getting much more for less spend.
‘We need to ensure everyone is seeking the best deal available to them, as many are still paying over the odds. We urge customers to check their speed versus what is available to them and compare. Price is important but it’s important to balance your budget against what you realistically need that connection to do and pick the right package.’
The government will now publish a consultation on the legislative changes needed to make its suggested changes.
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