DCF Report – Research on Very Hard to Reach Premises: technical and commercial analysis

DCF Report – Research on Very Hard to Reach Premises: technical and commercial analysis

Digital Connectivity Forum has published primary research by leading consultancy Analysys Mason on the commercial and technical practicalities of providing broadband coverage to areas in the UK that are hardest to reach.

The report significantly adds to the evidence base currently available to ensure a cost-effective subsidy programme is achieved. It provides details of a wide range of broadband technologies, including fixed and wireless, terrestrial and non-terrestrial that could be deployed in the UK between 2021 and 2027. It also assesses the ability to deliver either 30Mbit/s or 300Mbit/s download speeds to improve connectivity in remote areas. 

The report includes a list of recommendations for Government to consider in its policy decisions:

  • Government should seize the opportunity to consider innovative approaches to fully support programmes that aim to provide broadband coverage to very remote areas
  • Government must be technology agnostic in the approach it follows as a mix of technologies is likely to be required.
  • Government is encouraged to consider the challenges about the very hard to reach premises in the context of the nearby premises that are already benefiting from enhanced connectivity, and utilise nearby infrastructures, where possible.
  • Where there is overlap between remaining mobile total not-spots and Very Hard to Reach premises, mobile and broadband coverage issues should be addressed at the same time.
  • Government needs to continue tackling existing barriers that challenge the rollout of new terrestrial infrastructures. Ambitious reforms to lower the cost and speed up the process of building and upgrading digital infrastructures are critical.
  • Government should consider other aspects of digital connectivity including availability, accessibility, reliability and resilience of services when developing policy.

Stephanie Liston, Chair of Digital Connectivity Forum said “We are pleased to respond to the Government’s Call For Evidence on improving connectivity for Very Hard to Reach premises. We thank Analysys Mason for their contribution to the ongoing technology and policy debate. We have seen the significant need in the UK for digital services throughout the pandemic. As we enhance and rebuild our economy, the need for ubiquitous broadband coverage is essential. We look forward to contributing to Government’s support of all aspects of digital connectivity.”

Matt Yardley, Managing Partner at Analysys Mason said “Providing high-speed broadband services to Very Hard to Reach premises will be challenging, but with the right choice of technologies and download speed targets, policymakers can find a cost-effective solution.”

Please click on the icon below to view the full report.