Issues need solving within a year to meet PM’s broadband pledge – industry
Boris Johnson’s desire for full-fibre broadband for all by 2025 will be a considerable task and will require a “pioneering spirit”, the UK’s telecoms sector has said.
An open letter to the new Prime Minister warns four key issues need to be resolved within the next 12 months in order to meet the target.
These include planning reforms to ensure all new-build homes are developed with fibre connectivity, as well as investment in digital and engineering skills to meet the challenge of a national roll-out.
The industry also calls for a reform of the so-called fibre tax, which means fibre cables are taxed as if they were business buildings, and the implementation of plans to allow telecoms providers access to land where landlords are unresponsive.
The letter, which is signed by the chairman of the Internet Services Providers Association, the interim chief executive of the Federation of Communication Services and the chief executive of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association, said the sector welcomed Mr Johnson’s ambition, but said it required a “mix of leadership, pioneering spirit and Government support to be possible”.
“As you yourself have written, ‘it cannot go on like this’,” it added.
“Nationwide full-fibre coverage is not a can that can be kicked down the road, and these issues need to be resolved by your Government within the next 12 months to ensure that industry can continue to accelerate roll-out.
“As you said on the steps of Number 10 as you began your Premiership: ‘let’s start now.’
“Industry is ready and willing to work with yourself, your Government and the new Digital Secretary to ensure that Britain’s connectivity is fit for the future. But that work needs to start now, and 100% fibre coverage requires a 100% commitment from Government.”
The Prime Minister said during the Tory leadership campaign that he wanted full-fibre connections available across the country “for all by 2025” – eight years ahead of the former target of 2033.