Chancellor puts full fibre at heart of post-Brexit Britain

Chancellor puts full fibre at heart of post-Brexit Britain

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”.

 Recognizing the ambitious nature of his plans – with currently only around a million premises currently having access to the full fibre network – to reach these targets will require the connection of more than 2 million additional premises yearly until 2025. The plan to achieve this delivery is two-fold he stated, “we will do it by creating the conditions for the market to deliver and we will use all the tools at the government’s disposal to ensure that target is met”.

This ambition builds considerably on the Government’s Manifesto to see ten million premises connected to full fibre by 2022 and the huge challenge of delivering coverage on this scale will likely require substantive changes in policy so as to create the conditions to incentivize such a pace of investment. Whilst the barriers to telecoms infrastructure roll out remain (highlighted in a 2017 Report by Analysys Mason for the BSG: Lowering Barriers to Telecoms Infrastructure Deployment) the more difficult attaining this objective will be for industry and Government alike.

The commitment to deliver full fibre to the premises by 2033 comes as Ofcom begins designing the mechanism to see high-speed broadband (10Mbps) delivered across the UK by 2020 under a regulatory USO.

The Chancellor briefly touched on the necessity of switching off the copper network and how to incentivize industry to move customers onto fibre. The publication of the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review later this summer will detail Government’s strategy in achieving these targets.