Broadband coverage isn’t the greatest in the United Kingdom, with the country slipping from 31st to 35th place in the global broadband league table earlier this week. The National Infrastructure Assessment 2018 report claims that this is set to change, however, as over 25 million homes are predicted to finally have access to ‘full fibre’ broadband by 2033.
To achieve full fibre broadband connections, fibre cables must run directly to a building from the exchange rather than piggybacking off already-laid copper wiring to cover what’s known as ‘the last mile’. The latter is much more common in 2018, with just a slim margin of UK residents getting access to full fibre.
Removing the use of copper wiring requires telecoms operators to invest exuberant time and money into laying new fibre cable, which can be particularly disruptive for nearby residents, drivers and pedestrians. This in particular makes the report’s expected 15 million homes and businesses covered by 2025 seem like quite the task, let alone 25 million buildings blessed with full fibre access by 2030.
Even if telecoms operators decided that the demand for fibre was great enough to warrant the effort, which in itself seems unlikely, there are numerous challenges that can potentially arise. Current property legislation and parameters gives landlords and management firms of leasehold buildings permission to deny changes made to their properties, effectively halting progress on full fibre adoption.
Despite the skepticism from us here at KitGuru, the government is formally required to address the recommendations made by the first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment, although it’s uncertain when as no deadline date has been set for a response. Considering the government has its hands full with the monumental changes brought about by Brexit, it’s still doubtful that broadband will be at the forefront of concerns for UK officials.
5G connectivity is finally rolling out as of next year, offering a feasible if not expensive alternative with faster speeds than the majority of UK households. By the time 2033 does roll around, it’s possible the tentatively titled 7G could be right around the corner, and there’s no telling how fast it might be in comparison to its equivalent broadband.
KitGuru Says: I truly hope the National Infrastructure Assessment 2018 report is correct, because the UK is in dire need of an infrastructure overhaul or it risks falling further and further behind other developed countries. Do you think the UK can achieve widespread full fibre just 15 years from now?