THE UK GOVERNMENT will apparently do a good thing and announce plans to throw a further £1bn at digital infrastructure with a focus on fibre broadband and 5G connectivity.
Multiple reports claim that chancellor Philip Hammond will unveil the plans as part of a desire in government to ensure the UK starts to offers homes and businesses ultra high-speed services.
The reports suggests £400m from the £1bn will be provided as part of a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund that will focus on fibre to the premises (FTTP) offerings, rather than fibre to the cabinet (FTTC).
The aim will be to boost the number of connections in the UK that can access FTTP services, that can usually deliver speeds of around 1Gbps, to provide a 'gold standard' service. Funding will also be made available to try and help new broadband providers who want to focus on fibre enter the market.
One of those already on this path, CityFibre, welcomed the rumoured intention of the government to priorities infrastructure spending in this way, with CEO Greg Mesch saying it was key the UK looked to the long-term for digital infrastructure.
"Britain's industrial strategy needs a digital backbone, and it is essential that we move quickly to plug the UK’s 'fibre gap’ and empower our service-based economy,” he said.
"This new funding, stimulating competitive fibre rollout at scale by new communications infrastructure builders, is a catalyst for the delivery of the UK’s fibre future."
The fund will also include £740m, the BBC reports, to be used for further research on 5G technologies, which was welcomed by techUK deputy CEO Antony Walker.
"The announcement of this funding for fibre broadband and 5G mobile is a powerful signal to the world of the UK’s ambition to be a leading digital nation," he said.
However, he noted that such ambitions plans would cost a lot more than £1bn and so the government needs to make sure all funding is well targeted to maximise its impact.
"Public funding therefore needs to be targeted carefully. We believe the bulk of the investment required should come from the private sector. Too unlock that investment we need Government and Ofcom to work with the industry to set out a wider long-term strategy for telecoms."
"That strategy needs to focus on what more Government and Local Government can do to drive down infrastructure deployment costs." µ
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