Fantastic Full Fibre Promise from Boris Johnson
As Boris Johnson begins outlining his strategy on the domestic agenda, the telecoms industry is still reeling from his Fantastic Full Fibre Promise.
Mr Johnson feels that the government’s target of high-speed broadband for 50%-75% of the UK population by 2033 is unreasonable and a more acceptable target would be full fibre for all by 2025. It does sound fantastic but is it realistic, the telecoms industry thinks not.
We all know that the pace is slow. At the moment only 7% of the UK have full fibre optic cables running from the cabinet in the street to their front doors, this is way below countries like Spain who have 85%, why are we so behind?
The lack of progress, we are told, is due to the red tape affecting 4 main issues.
1. Wayleave Agreements. To gain access to land and property to install cables one must have permission from the owners. Getting agreements from property owners in London and across the UK has been a major obstacle. Property owners and landlords can be hard to track down and are sometimes unresponsive. The industry has urged the government to simplify the process but to date this remains an enormous problem.
2. Fibre Tax. There is a tax attached to fibre infrastructure that is currently argued as unfair. B.T. pay a fraction of the cost smaller providers pay. At a time when more investment would be welcome it seems crazy to discourage providers by imposing unfair and rising business rates on an industry that’s trying to solve the roll out problems.
3. New Properties. The government has carried out an investigation into whether new builds should include the provision of fibre broadband but there has been no published conclusion. To provide every new development with superfast broadband surely makes sense and takes a short cut to reaching the roll out targets.
4. Skills. To make the BoJo promise a reality there needs to be an influx of labour, money and training.
There seems to be enough on Boris’s plate for him to get his teeth into; solving the above issues will definitely speed up the process but the full fibre promise by 2025 still looks pretty optimistic, especially as there’s been no details offered and no mention of funding.