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Will Boris follow through on full-fibre statements?

Boris Johnson will be settling himself into number 10 Downing Street this week as he takes over from exiting PM Theresa May. Johnson, probably most renowned for clowning around and sticking his comedy sized feet in the sticky stuff has made some big statements around the fibre market recently which will be encouraging for the market.

Boris labelled the current targets to go full-fibre by 2033 ‘laughably unambitious’ in his regular Telegraph column. He wrote “If we want to unite our country and our society, we should commit now to delivering full fibre to every home in the land not in the mid 2030s — but in five years at the outside.”

Current estimates put the cost of transitioning the country to full-fibre at £30BN, but the government hasn’t pledged that amount (not even close) and instead focused on regulations which will promote competition in the space and attract investment from the private sector.

Does this mean the Tory government has brought forward the target to 2025? It is currently unclear if this is the case, especially as the cost of accelerating the FTTP plan hasn’t been considered.

Will the Channel be smelling the opportunity? It’s certainly good news for Channel businesses, especially as those that sell into public sector as increasingly these services are being pushed online. Johnson’s emphasis on fibre will hopefully accelerate the digital transition the public sector is going through and provide opportunities to partners.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of Essex based provider County Broadband which is rolling out full fibre broadband across East Anglia, said:

“Full fibre broadband was a key policy in Boris’ campaign and was ranked alongside education and infrastructure in importance in his acceptance speech. Working with unique, local full fibre providers like ourselves, he must now deliver on his full fibre broadband pledge.

“Building next-generation full fibre broadband – and ripping up old Victorian copper-based networks to catch up with the rest of the world – is vital for rural residents, businesses and economies in East Anglia to thrive in today’s connected world, from 4K streaming, online services and file sharing, to attracting investment and becoming digital leaders.

“On behalf of frustrated and digitally forgotten rural communities, we welcome and share the new prime minister’s bold statement of intent to deliver full fibre broadband to every premises in the UK.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine