Addressing the CBI Annual Dinner last night, Chancellor Philip Hammond put full fibre infrastructure at the heart of his vision for a post- Brexit Britain leading the world in innovation. Pledging not only to deliver full fibre connections to 15 million premises by 2025, he also committed “to deliver a nationwide full-fibre to the premises network by 2033”.
Government has pledged £67 million towards investing in full fibre broadband connections through the Nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS). Vouchers worth up to £3000 for small and medium sized businesses or £500 for residents will be issued to help bring down the costs of getting gigabit connections.
The scheme forms part of the £200 million Local Full Fibre Networks program – of which £95 million was this week awarded to 13 bidders across the UK.
For residents to be able to qualify for a voucher, a local community group – comprising small businesses as well as residents – must be formed. Vouchers may be pooled in this group although the value of business vouchers would have to exceed the residential total value. This pooling approach can relieve some of the costs where the cost of installation is greater than the voucher issued.
The market trial of the scheme which was running across four areas of the UK saw around 1000 vouchers dispensed to small businesses. The extension of the scheme is expected to go live the end of March and run until March 2021 (providing that funding remains).
Whilst the voucher scheme has been generally very well received, it should be noted that in order to deliver maximum benefits, measures should be in place to ensure that residents and SME’s alike are made aware of its existence. It would appear that Government has learned the lessons of the previous vouchers and sought to structure the scheme to incentivise additional investment in full fibre; done right, these vouchers should make a good contribution towards the Government’s goal of having full fibre available to at least 10 million homes and businesses by 2022.
The DCMS call for evidence for the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review signalled the opening of the conversation around what – if any – policy interventions could benefit long-term investment in the infrastructure required for the next generation of digital technologies.
The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) is pleased to continue its partnership with the Broadband World Forum (BBWF), which this year will take place in Berlin. Over three days (24 to 26 October) more than 300 speakers, amongst which the BSG, will share their expertise on the latest broadband technologies and discuss the future of connectivity.
The National Infrastructure Commission today reported back to Government on how to ensure that the UK can become a leader in the deployment of 5G and take early advantage of the applications that it may enable.
The core finding of the NIC is that mobile connectivity is essential and that the market, as currently structured, will struggle to meet these two objectives on its own and that the whole of Government must work with industry to deliver on them.
Chancellor Philip Hammond reaffirmed today the need for the UK to level-up its ambition for world class connectivity in an Autumn Statement placing digital communications infrastructure as a priority area of investment, critical to boosting UK productivity. The Chancellor confirmed the Government’s plans to invest over £1billion in the roll-out of full-fibre connections and future 5G communication.
The Government has briefed that it will be unveiling two new programmes in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement to make good on its view that the future is fibre (to the premise variety) and 5G. The BSG welcomes this focus on digital connectivity. All BSG members believe that good quality broadband underpins, drives and improves our society and economy.
The Digital Economy Bill was announced in the Queens Speech today, intended to “make the UK a world leader in digital provision – a place where technology ceaselessly transforms the economy, society and government???. For the telecoms sector it aims to make it easier to deploy communications infrastructure whilst empowering consumers.
BT’s has today announced that its Openreach and EE businesses will spend around six billion pounds between them over the next three years, in the first phase of a plan to extend superfast broadband and 4G coverage beyond 95% of the UK by 2020.
The announcement focuses on services, coverage and capacity with the latter receiving the most press coverage. As well as confirming their ambition of supplying 12 million premises with ultrafast broadband, BT announced that at least two million of those to be connected with Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology. (more…)
BT-Openreach Fibre Network passes 25 Million UK Premises as UK Superfast Broadband Coverage hits 90%Charles Wood
In what Openreach describes as “one of the fastest deployments of fibre broadband in the world???, it announced yesterday that its fibre network has passed the 25 million premises milestone, helping to take the UK’s superfast broadband (24Mbit/s) coverage past 90% of premises.
Every year the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a body set up by the ITU and UNESCO in 2010, sets out its annual report on the state of the global broadband industry. The headline from this year’s was that outside of some pockets such as mobile broadband, overall growth in internet take-up and usage is slowing; a concern when by the end of this year just 43.4% of the global population will be online.
The #Budget2015 had a few more nuggets about broadband and telecoms that previous statements with an ambition for ‘ultrafast’ broadband to nearly all premises and a new Universal Service Obligation for broadband. (more…)
In November last year, Three and EE announced an agreement with CityFibre to roll-out “dark-fibre??? backhaul connections for mobile masts in the city of Hull. I attended an event last Friday to hear about the progress made in the delivery of the initial phase of this project, the first of its kind in the UK.