UK to Spend Millions on Fibre Broadband and 5G

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According to multiple sources, the broadband industry is about to get a huge boost this week. In Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to pledge £400million for a new Digital Infrastructure fund for 5G and faster broadband.

Private investors will be asked to match this figure in a bid to put the UK on the digital map.

At the moment just 2% of the country has access to the FTTP connection that is already available in many locations across London. BT announced a London roll out of 1Gbps FTTP broadband earlier this month, but it isn’t yet available to the masses.

The Chancellor’s announcement is believed to also include £740 million to be used for further research on 5G technologies.

Responses to the government’s commitment to a digital Britain have been resoundingly positive across the board.

On the Today programme this morning, BT Chairman Sir Mike Rake said: “We are committed to getting fibre to the premise ultimately, which is the long-term game, because it’s much more reliable.”

He also took the opportunity to say that BT will enhance speeds for 95% of the country. Sir Mike also claimed that 12million homes would have broadband speeds in excess of 200Mbps by 2020.

In a statement, Fibre infrastructure provider CityFibre said they are also welcoming the news. Chief Executive Greg Mesch said: “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.”

Despite this, some senior sources believe the Chancellor’s ambitious plans will cost far more than the projected price tag.

In a statement techUK Deputy CEO said: “Public funding therefore need to be targeted carefully. We believe the bulk of the investment required should come from the private sector.”

He added: “To unlock that investment we need the 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.”

About the Author

Jack Henry
Jack is a seasoned journalist across multiple industries. He writes predominantly on regulatory news at Broadband London.

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