Government identifies £6.8bn investments in digital infrastructure

A government report has calculated the total value of investments in next generation communications infrastructure in the UK to be £6.8 billion between now and 2021.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s identified 11 Digital Infrastructure projects currently in progress, funded by a combination of government, private and public-private investment.

Central government accounts for £700 million of this total, mixed-funded projects £1.5 billion and private investments £4.7 billion.

Connectivity investments

Openreach, CityFibre, TalkTalk and others are rolling out fibre to the premise (FTTP) networks across the UK, while all four major operators have 5G roadmaps, with the first commercial services set to go live in 2019.

The report says all of these projects are helping to deliver the government’s connectivity ambitions, as outlined in the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Report (FTIR), including ‘full fibre’ coverage by 2023 and widespread 5G availability by 2027.

Superfast broadband coverage stands at more than 95 per cent of UK premises while 4G mobile coverage is in excess of 89 per cent.

The government is coordinating several 5G trials across the UK with the intention of identifying potential technical challenges and to stimulate demand for the new tranche of consumer and business applications that will be possible.

Public funding has also been allocated to the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, with the Treasury offering £400 million, matched by the private sector, to catalyse fibre infrastructure rollout. Meanwhile, the government has also pledged £18 million Community Fibre to help spread ultrafast broadband to social homes in London and £16 million into Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband operator Airband.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.