Broadband coverage

Project Gigabit – summer update

The government has published a summer update on the Project Gigabit Delivery plan and procurement pipeline. It reveals that up to 1,850,000 additional premises across 26 counties in England will get access to gigabit-capable broadband. This brings the current total number of premises in scope for government-funded coverage to 2.2 million, with more still to be announced over the coming months across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The government expresses confidence in exceeding the gigabit coverage target (85% of UK premises) by 2025. (more…)

New licensing proposals to support satellite broadband sector

Ofcom has published proposals to change the way it licenses non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) systems, also known as Low Earth Orbit (LEO) based ultrafast broadband satellite constellations, such as British-registered OneWeb, which will connect people to the internet in hard-to-reach areas. The process will consist of new checks on potential interference between networks and publishing licence applications so that other interested parties have an opportunity to raise any interference or competition concerns. Under the proposed licence conditions, different networks will be required to co-operate with each other on technical matters to avoid the risk of disruption to their services. (more…)

Project Gigabit: Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Public Review

As part of Project Gigabit, Building Digital UK (BDUK) is consulting on a new procurement to extend the coverage of gigabit-capable broadband across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in South West England. BDUK is requesting information and supporting evidence on gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure within the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly intervention area and would like to hear from all relevant stakeholders in relation to the target intervention area found in the Request For Information document. (more…)

Update on Project Gigabit and the Shared Rural Network

Project Gigabit

The BDUK team at the DCMS has identified that 234,000 premises in Wales will be in scope of the Project Gigabit programme – meaning they won’t benefit from the commercial build and thus require public subsidy to go further. This includes rural towns and villages in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, the Isle of Anglesey, Pembrokeshire and Powys. The government will set out the timetable for the delivery of these connections once it has agreed on the procurement process with the Welsh Government. In addition, a further £24 million will fund the rollout of gigabit broadband in ten local authority areas in Northern Ireland. The Full Fibre Northern Ireland (FFNI) scheme will see 969 hospitals, GP surgeries, ambulance and fire stations, community and leisure centres, council offices and other public buildings connected to gigabit-capable networks. (more…)

London’s tube network to be used to provide fibre and mobile connectivity to London

The London Mayor announced that high speed mobile coverage will be delivered across the London Underground network, alongside a new full-fibre network to provide London’s homes and businesses with faster internet and better connectivity.  The technology will support 4G and 5G rollout and will be the most advanced of its kind in the world, helping to support London’s economic growth. Work is underway across the Tube network, with first stations – including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Euston, Bank and Camden Town – going live by the end of 2022. (more…)

The GigaTAG publishes its final report

The Gigabit Take-up Advisory Group (GigaTAG) was set up in August 2020, led by Which? to look into how to stimulate demand among consumers and businesses for gigabit-capable broadband. The final report has been published. BSG was part of the advisory group as the voice of the industry. To coincide with the launch of the report, Which? CBI, FSB, Ofcom and BSG hosted a panel discussion to explore the recommendations set out in the report and how these can be taken forward. (more…)

Consultation on regulations to implement the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act

The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act, which received Royal Assent in March, creates a new route through the courts that operators can use to access blocks of flats and apartments if a landowner is repeatedly unresponsive to requests for access. The Act will prevent a situation where a leaseholder is unable to receive a service due to the silence of their landowner. (more…)

Ofcom Online Nation Report 2021

Ofcom’s Online Nation 2021 report provides a snapshot of 2020.

Key points:

  • 94% of UK households had internet access in March 2021 with 6% of homes (around one and a half million) without access.
  • UK adults spent more than 3.5 hours online each day in 2020 and spent nearly £2.45 billion on mobile apps across the year.
  • Fixed broadband is by far the most common method for connecting to the internet at home at 92%, mobile data at 49% and mobile broadband at 16%.
  • The smartphone is the most-used device for accessing the internet for all age groups apart from those aged 65+ who access via computer mostly. One in ten adults said they use only a smartphone to go online.
  • Teenagers are spending more money online than offline.
  • 59% of UK children use social media by the time they are 11 and 95% by the age of 15.
  • The UK’s online shopping bill increased by almost 50% to nearly £113 billion.
  • In total, online entertainment and audio-visual media generated £5.6 billion in UK revenue.

The full report can be found here.

Detailed Overview of the Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy Scheme

The government has published ‘Delivering a gigabit-capable UK: Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy‘ which provides an end to end overview of how the government will manage the Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy scheme within Project Gigabit.

By way of background, the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review published in July 2018 laid out a vision for a full fibre and 5G future for the UK highlighting the considerable potential benefits to the UK. One key finding was that the UK was in danger of falling behind on rolling out fibre and 5G connections and proposed as part of a wider range of measures an “outside in” procurement approach, named the Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy. (more…)

UK Gigabit Programme: Cambridgeshire Public Review

Building Digital UK (BDUK) has launched ‘Project Gigabit Lot 5 Public Review‘ which is seeking information and supporting evidence about gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure within the Cambridgeshire project area.

Connecting Cambridgeshire conducted an Open Market Review (OMR) for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in December 2020. This review process aims to validate the outcome of the OMR to ensure it correctly represents the information provided by suppliers and that the right areas are targeted for government investment. Stakeholders, including broadband infrastructure operators, ISPs, the public, and businesses, are invited to provide feedback about the proposed eligible areas for government investment (intervention). (more…)

Prime Minister and Digital Secretary praise broadband companies

The Prime Minister and Digital Secretary met with the CEOs of the major broadband organisations today and praised the industry for creating more than 22,000 jobs over the last year. They welcomed the commitment from the organisations to help the nation build back better from the pandemic with gigabit broadband rollout, and underlined the government’s support to help industry’s efforts to connect as many homes and businesses as possible by 2025. The government has increased its forecast and new figures show rollout will reach 60 per cent by the end of 2021 (up from 50 per cent), putting the UK on track to be among the fastest build rates in Europe. (more…)

Government’s Plan for Growth

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today published a joint open letter to businesses on the Government’s Plan for Growth.

The Plan for Growth builds on the best of the Industrial Strategy from 2017 and supports the transition to net zero by 2050. It sets out the government’s path to invest in three pillars – infrastructure, skills, and innovation. The focus is creating and supporting jobs, helping to drive growth, and seizing opportunities from Britain’s independence. The Build Back Better Business Council has been convened to draw on the expertise of industry and government to ensure that the plan for growth is delivered successfully and in partnership with business. Today’s meeting will look at the innovation pillar and will discuss the government’s upcoming Innovation Strategy, due to be published in the Summer. (more…)

Project Gigabit (Phase 1b): Open Market Review request for information

The Building Digital UK (BDUK) team has launched an Open Market Review (OMR) request for information (RFI) to help identify areas needing government intervention. This follows an earlier OMR and RFI for Cumbria. Early market research is an essential part of the team’s engagement with industry to shape public investment. The results of this OMR will provide a better understanding of the broadband infrastructure already in place, and where there are plans for investment over the next three years. The RFI will enable BDUK to make a significant step in the design of the areas to be targeted by the new procurements and contracts. (more…)