Full-fibre broadband for every UK home 'by 2033'

Full-fibre broadband coverage should be available to every home in the UK by 2033, according to the government's digital strategy.
Under proposals by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, legislation would also guarantee that new homes are fitted with full-fibre broadband.
The UK is lagging behind other European countries when it comes to full-fibre connections. Just 4% of homes in the UK currently have access to this technology, compared with 71% of homes in Spain and 89% of homes in Portugal.These connections are faster, more reliable and cheaper to run when compared with traditional copper-based networks.The department's Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) added that it will "support investment in the most difficult-to-reach areas", where it estimates the cost of delivering services to be in the region of €3bn to €5bn.Culture minister 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 government hopes 15 million premises will have full-fibre broadband by 2025, and every home and business will be connected by 2033.The government estimates the total cost of rolling out broadband across the country will be about €30bn.
The proposals stopped short of calling for BT to spin off its Openreach broadband infrastructure provider, which has been blamed by competitors for the slow take-up of broadband across the country. BT has already agreed to a legal separation of Openreach and the transfer of staff to the business."The government will consider all additional measures if BT Group fails to deliver its commitments and regulatory obligations, and if Openreach does not deliver on its purpose of investing in ways that respond to the needs of its downstream customers," the report said.Commenting on the report, Dana Tobak, the chief executive of full-fibre provider Hyperoptic said: "As the UK's largest residential gigabit provider, we have a strong relationship with DCMS and are firm believers in the Full Fibre strategy that the FTIR is aimed at driving."We broadly support the recommendations, especially its fundamental policy of encouraging infrastructure competition within the market."Ms Tobak said that the details of the delivery would be key, however."To encourage competition - and therefore accelerate rollout - the government and Ofcom need to support easy switching for consumers and businesses between networks and not just on Openreach's platforms."
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BT until now has largely focused on a fibre-copper hybrid technology which delivers slower speeds. But BT's Openreach, Virgin Media and CityFibre have ramped up investment in fibre.The proposals would make it easier for broadband providers to access new developments, homes and businesses - and also include plans to open up access to sewers, pipes and Openreach's duct and pole network.
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