UK telecoms regulator the Office of Communications (Ofcom) has updated its wholesale guidelines with the purpose of accelerating the full-fiber rollout.
The coronavirus pandemic increased demand for Internet which in turn increased demand for data as well, requiring the UK’s infrastructure to urgently need an upgrade.
Britain’s copper telephone network – some of which was laid over 100 years ago – has helped deliver broadband to 96 percent of homes with people getting better services in recent years, without spending more in real terms.
Therefore, the new criteria will require significant private investment in full-fiber broadband, which is much faster and more reliable than the networks most UK citizens use today.
Full-fiber broadband was a key pledge of Johnson’s authorities however, like most plans, was considerably derailed by the pandemic.
“Over the past year, being connected has never mattered more. But millions of homes are still using the copper lines that were first laid over 100 years ago,” Melanie Dawes, Chief Executive of Ofcom, said.
“Now it’s time to ramp up the rollout of better broadband across the UK and we’re playing our part – setting the right conditions for companies to step up and invest in the country’s full-fiber future,” she stressed.
In addition, this is one time chance to help make the UK a world-leading digital economy.
As such, network competition has helped full fiber coverage increase at its fastest ever rate over the last year – and that momentum has continued throughout the pandemic.
This approach will lead to properties in around 70 percent of Britain having a choice of networks from competitive commercial rollout. Telecommunication company Openreach has committed to deploy full fiber to a further 3.2 million properties (10 percent) in more rural areas whilst the Government plans to cover the remaining 20 percent of the country through public funding, to help ensure nobody gets left behind.
With the UK’s successful vaccine rollout enabling a cautious roadmap to lifting lockdown restrictions, the focus is shifting to how the country can “build back better” from a virus which flawed government policymaking led to one of the worst economic and excess death impacts in the world.
Ofcom says it is playing its part to speed up the rollout of both full-fiber and 5G.