William Eichler 07 October 2020

Government 'likely' to miss full fibre broadband 2025 target

A Government promise to deliver full fibre broadband to every home by 2025 is likely to be missed unless ministers make radical changes to telecoms policy, think tank warns.

A year ago the Government promised an extra £5bn for the roll-out of broadband.

However, according to a new report by the Social Market Foundation (SMF), the country has a ‘mountain to climb’ to hit the Prime Minister’s target for universal coverage.

Currently full fibre broadband coverage stands at just 14% across the country. The SMF calculated that the UK is lagging far behind other economies on broadband penetration, including Spain, New Zealand and South Korea.

The Prime Minister promised during the 2019 General Election campaign to deliver ‘full fibre broadband to every home in the land’ by 2025.

The SMF said that target will only be hit if ministers adopt a range of changes to broadband policy, including reforms to reduce the telecoms industry’s risks of investing in new networks and to make sure that customers can afford to move onto new services.

New ‘demand management’ measures should be used, according to SMF, where central and local government should commit to purchasing full fibre broadband services for public sector buildings such as hospitals and schools, as a means of providing some ‘certainty of demand’ and encouraging industry investment.

The SMF said the new approach could also include the creation of new New Zealand-style ‘Local Fibre Companies’, jointly run by public sector bodies and private companies, to deliver the broadband in remote and costly areas.

Scott Corfe, SMF research director, said: ‘Delivering the rollout of full-fibre broadband fairly and quickly is hugely important for the UK economy, and all the more so because of pandemic restrictions that have left so many of us working and socialising online.

‘The 2025 target is extremely ambitious and the UK still has a mountain to climb to reach it. Getting there will require some radical changes, especially in how the public sector uses its huge buying power to support demand for broadband and offer the industry some certainty that funding new networks will pay off.

‘To keep the Prime Minister’s bold promise of connecting every household in the country by 2025, minsters should look to the example of New Zealand and ask whether Britain’s Brexit outcome could allow the creation of new local public-private companies to deliver the most expensive final miles of the new network.’

Theres a whiff of purpose once more on devolution image

There's a whiff of purpose once more on devolution

Devolution should rock the status quo and create a new culture of governance which pushes everyone who currently holds decision-making power out of their comfort zones, says deputy chief executive of New Local Jessica Studdert.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Practitioner – Family Assessment Centre

Haringey London Borough Council
£43,860 – £48,819 per annum
This post is part of a specialist team working as part of the internal resource for... Haringey, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Haringey London Borough Council

Leader's Office Manager

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£40869 - £43860 per annum + n/a
Help us make Royal Greenwich a place where everyone can succeed and prosper. This interesting and unique job carries responsibility for managing the o England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Social Worker – Family Assessment Centre

Haringey London Borough Council
£33,418 – £44,860 per annum
This post is part of a specialist team working as part of the internal resource for the conducting of... Haringey, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Haringey London Borough Council

Service Development Manager – Waste

North Yorkshire County Council
£39,880 to £43,857
As our Service Development Manager your core focus is to drive service improvement by seeking out opportunities for the County Council in... North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Children's Services – Advanced Practitioner (Team Based)

Lambeth Council
£45,594
We are looking for reflective, dedicated social workers Lambeth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Lambeth Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue