Conservative leadership candidate Boris Johnson has pledged to deliver full fibre connectivity to the entire of the UK by 2025 if he becomes Prime Minister.
Writing in his column in The Telegraph, Johnson said it was a “disgrace” that rural communities did not have access to superfast broadband and declared the government’s current target of achieving coverage by 2033 as “laughably unambitious.”
Johnson, who previously served in that government as Foreign Secretary, did not disclose any details about how his target would be funded or achieved faster than the current goal.
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Boris Johnson broadband
"If we want to unite our country and our society, we should commit now to delivering full fibre much, much faster,” he said. “We need to prioritise the rural areas that are currently at the far back of the queue, the three million homes and business that are rated among the 10 per cent most difficult to cover.”
At present, more than 95 per cent of the UK has access to superfast broadband – the majority of which is delivered using Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology which uses copper for the final few hundred metres of the connection.
However, the government has stated it wants ‘full fibre’ to be the default technology and has promised new regulations and investments to support this ambition. Additionally, regulator Ofcom is proposing new policies that would encourage investment from the private sector.
BT-owned Openreach is embarking on a major build of fibre to the premise (FTTP) with ambitions to reach 15 million premises by the middle of the next decade. Meanwhile, other providers including TalkTalk, Virgin Media, CityFibre, Gigaclear and Hyperoptic are also investing in infrastructure.
The government has also introduced a Universal Service Obligation (USO) allowing anyone in the country to ‘demand’ a decent broadband connection. In practice, this would be via a fixed line, but satellite or Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) are alternatives.
It is thought that fewer than 600,000 homes and businesses are not covered by completed and planned superfast broadband rollouts.
Rural campaigners have frequently called for better mobile and broadband connectivity, claiming it is impacting quality of life.
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