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Chancellor plans for 15 million UK homes to have ‘full fibre’ broadband by 2025

Wednesday, May 23rd 2018 by Oprah Flash

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Annual dinner last night, Chancellor Philip Hammond has outlined plans to roll out superfast broadband to 15 million premises nationwide by 2025.

In the midst of Brexit the Chancellor was insistent in stressing that the full fibre rollout will help businesses compete after Britain leaves the European Union.

In his speech Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “In the 21st century, fibre networks will be the enabling infrastructure that drives economic growth. Full-fibre networks are faster, more reliable, and cheaper to operate than their copper predecessors.

“If we are to achieve our ambition of a truly high-speed economy, and keep up with our competitors, then we need a step change in our approach.

“So I am now setting a new target to see full-fibre to the premises connections being available to 15 million premises, that’s the majority of homes and businesses, by 2025.”

The Chancellor has the backing of Openreach and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). In response to Hammond's announcement Carolyn Fairbairn the director-general of CBI praised the chancellor's targets.

’Backbone of our future success’

Ms Fairbairn said: “The UK’s digital infrastructure is the backbone of our future success, so businesses will warmly welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to widen full fibre broadband access, which will ensure the UK remains competitive as the pace of technologies change.”

Clive Selley the ceo of Openreach said: “We share the Chancellors’ full fibre vision for Britain. This year we’ll double our FTTP footprint and by 2020, we will have built it to 3 million homes across the UK. We want to reach 10m premises by the mid-2020s, and believe we can ultimately fully-fibre the majority of the UK under the right conditions.”

While many are in favour of the targets, Tom Mockridge, the CEO at Virgin Media has reservations and believes there are obstacles in the way of achieving the mass rollout.

He said: “The Government’s ambition declared at the CBI annual dinner for 15m FTTP by 2025 is a total mirage unless it takes effective action to liberalise property wayleave laws to allow new ducts to be constructed to carry fibre and requires BT to open up its existing ducts to new entrants.

“To-date the Government has done nothing effective on either of these fronts. FTTP can be deployed without Government subsidy. The major barrier to it is centuries’ old restrictions. Time to change”.

’Major barrier’

Matthew Hare, Chief Executive, Gigaclear said: “ We must not underestimate the sheer scale of the challenge. Gigaclear is accelerating its commitment in pioneering the delivery of world class, ultrafast connectivity in rural locations and we can move even faster if the practical barriers that restrict the roll out of new full fibre networks are addressed.

“It is only then that we will start to see full fibre broadband delivered on a truly national scale to every home and business. Gigaclear looks forward to seeing the detail behind this ambitious objective and will work with the Government to achieve a full fibre Britain.”

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