UK broadband industry pans Government fibre broadband rollback | Infrastructure | News | Rapid TV News
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Despite Chancellor Rishi Sunak promising in his 2020 Spending Review to build a “stronger future” and transform the country’s communications infrastructure, the government’s ambitious previous £5 billion plan for gigabit broadband coverage across all the UK has now been watered down and investment levels cut.
CityFibre Construction 21Sep2020
Announced at the same time as the spending review, the National Infrastructure Strategy revealed, much to the annoyance of the UK’s broadband suppliers and trade bodies, that the government’s previous target of establishing nationwide gigabit broadband had been rolled back. The key changes being that the aim has changed from gigabit broadband to “every home” by 2025 to “minimum of 85% coverage” by 2025. The budget of the plan remains at the £5 billion, set out as a manifesto commitment by the UK government a year ago, but only £1.2 billion of that sum will be made available up until 2024.

London based full-fibre internet provider, Community Fibre - which weeks ago claimed a new speed standard for UK broadband by launching what it says is the UK capital’s first 3 Gigabit home broadband service  - said the announcement indicated that the UK Government would be relying more heavily on private investment into the country's full fibre infrastructure over the next few years.CEO Graeme Oxby remarked that irrespective of the Government's plans the private sector investment is already in place for London's properties to be 100% full fibre enabled by 2025. However, he warned the target was only achievable if London's landlords granted the necessary permissions needed to bring full fibre to their properties.

The Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA)
, said that it had been “surprised” by the statement adding that confusion now reigned over UK broadband. INCA noted that the target date of 2025 for 100% coverage across the UK was set by the Prime Minister, originally as full fibre coverage, but later changed to include Virgin Media’s cable network and some wireless broadband services.

“Reaching 100% by the end of 2025 was always going to be difficult,” said INCA chief executive Malcolm Corbett. “The government has recognised that completing a full commercial build and tackling the subsidised harder to reach areas at the same time is very challenging…our understanding is that the £5bn of funding committed in the National Infrastructure Strategy is ring-fenced and if more of that funding can be brought forward into the Spending Review period, that will happen. INCA estimates that investment in the challenger firms will reach £7.7bn by 2025/6 taking the total private investment to around £25bn including BT/ Openreach and Virgin Media. This investment is based on the expectation that government will play its part too.”