Government urged to devise full-fibre broadband strategy by spring 2019

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has called on ministers to publish a plan to roll out full-fibre broadband by spring next year. According to the body's first ever National Infrastructure Assessment, full-fibre broadband is cheaper and more reliable than part-copper, part-fibre connections. However, the NIC said it will take at least ten years to deploy the technology across the whole country. As a result, it believes the government should "make a decision on full-fibre now", or else the UK risks being "left behind in years to come". The NIC argued that any National Broadband Plan should focus on delivering full-fibre connections to the whole country, including rural areas. Furthermore, it called for the technology to be made available to 15 million homes and businesses by 2025. Coverage should then reach 25 million by 2030 and be universal by 2033, the report stated. "Full-fibre broadband is the likely next step in digital connectivity," the NIC said. "Full-fibre will deliver benefits compared to current broadband even if the expected demand growth does not materialise." The NIC added that enhanced digital connectivity will facilitate the development of smart infrastructure across the UK. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has already committed to delivering full-fibre broadband to 15 million homes and businesses by 2025. In a speech at the annual CBI dinner earlier this year, Mr Hammond acknowledged this is an ambitious target, but said the UK can only be at "the front of the pack" post-Brexit if it has infrastructure that is fit for the future.


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