UK FASTER BROADBAND FUNDING

UK government to announce £1bn for development of communications.

You’ve heard of superfast, and maybe ultrafast but now the government has come up with a new term – gold standard full-fibre broadband.

Rory Cellan-Jones

Technology Correspondent, BBC

What is this funding and where will it go?

Tomorrow, in the Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to announce a £400m funding package, with additional funding made up from private investment. This funding appears to encourage further competition between fibre infrastructure providers. He will also commit £740m to the development of 5G and the further rollout of fibre connections. Will this funding help more rural areas achieve faster broadband speeds though?

 

Only 2% of the UK currently has 'full fibre'

£1bn for rolling out 'full-fibre' broadband

2 million to get 'full-fibre' broadband

It is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, this appears to be the government saying the future of the internet is fibre to the premises (FTTP). In an ideal world, every home and business would have it’s very own fibre connection, but in reality the cost of delivering it would be astronomical. Will these infrastructure providers deliver the necessary digging, trunking and cabling to a small village with a few businesses and houses?  BT Openreach haven’t done so. If it doesn’t provide them with a financial return, why would they? Therefore we expect FTTP to be delivered to urban buildings and those with multiple tenants.

Secondly, this could be seen as competition to BT Openreach’s rollout of G.fast. Openreach have not delivered on their promise of rolling out fibre to the premises and instead have focused on existing copper phone lines. Openreach will be trialling G.fast next year throughout the UK and businesses could expect download speeds of up to 300Mbps. As long as it was affordable, businesses would have the choice of fibre to the premises (FTTP) or G.fast, with many no doubt opting for the former. However, with G.fast recently launched in Switzerland, this product could well be commercially available before a mass rollout of FTTP (although FTTP is currently available in some areas).

Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer