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BT CEO warns it could be 2033 before UK gets 'Gigabit for all'

by Mark Tyson on 28 September 2020, 13:31

Tags: British Telecom (LON:BT.A), UK Government

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaeol2

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Last year the UK's PM, Boris Johnson, set a target of giving every home in the UK access to Gigabit-capable broadband by 2025. "We are setting out plans to invest £5bn to support the rollout of full-fibre, 5G and other gigabit-capable networks to the hardest-to-reach 20% of the country," said a press release about the plans. The plans superseded those of Theresa May's government which had targeted full fibre connectivity in 15 million premises by 2025, with the full country only getting this level of coverage by 2033.

At the time a BBC report thought the advancement could be aided by switching from a pure full-fibre pledge to a more pragmatic Gigabit connectivity promise, embracing both fibre, 5G networks, and other options.

In July this year the government appears to have watered down Johnson's 2025 pledge, perhaps fearing becoming best known for a habit of over-promising then under-delivering. The updated goal took Johnson's pledge of "gigabit broadband sprouting in every home" by the end of 2025 and diluted it to "go as far as we possibly can by 2025."

A report today published by ISP Review appears to confirm that full gigabit broadband UK coverage by 2025 isn't going to be achievable. It quotes the CEO of BT Group, Philip Jansen, who has warned MPs that at the current pace it will take until 2033 to achieve universal UK coverage of gigabit-capable broadband.

The government has set aside £5bn with special focus on the costly final 20 per cent of hardest to reach premises. However, Jansen indicates that the goal isn't going to be achieved. Instead the BT CEO suggests that if the government provides some £9bn worth of cuts in tax and reduces red tape that gigabit-capable broadband would be available UK-wide by 2027.

If no more funds or relief are coming to help accelerate the gigabit capable networking rollout, Jansen reckons we will be back at Theresa May's targeted date - 2033 - to achieve universal UK coverage of gigabit-capable broadband (not full fibre, but a mixed solution in this case). This will be eight years later than Johnson's 2025 target, and it is a timescale characterised by Johnson last year as being "laughably unambitious".



HEXUS Forums :: 25 Comments

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So that'll be around 2047 then, and 100 billion over budget.
In all honesty never expected gigabit internet here in 2025 and 2033 seems far to early based on their usual speed of rollout….

And lets be fair to they Government and BT, they should be allowed at least another year over 2025 due to delays caused by coronavirus etc.

The funny thing is I literally see a bt van parked up the road from me every week at the ‘junction’ box…. the amount of time they've spent there dealing with ‘copper’ connections they could have fitted fibre lol.

I also don't understand why the government are having to pay BT, a commercial entity with near monopolistic ownership of the telephone network, 5 BILLION (or 9 if BT gets their tax breaks)to basically upgrade the infrastructure they didn't even pay to install in the first place… BT should be paying for it out of their own pocket imo, it's not like they don't charge excessive amounts (compared with other countries) for usage or anything..
That sound ambitious, we Danes say 100 mbit at least for all, but i dont recall the time frame, but we should almost be there.
The only reason Denmark are listed as it is on broadband speed indexes is most are cheap and do not have a big fat connection even if they can get that.

I know a guy that have 30 / 30 mbit on fiber, and he could probably get 1000 / 1000 for the same price just switching ISP.

If i lived the right place i could get 5 / 5 gbit on fiber for the same i pay for 1000 / 100 on cable right now, but sadly that ISP are pretty limited in where they do business.
LSG501
In all honesty never expected gigabit internet here in 2025 and 2033 seems far to early based on their usual speed of rollout….

And lets be fair to they Government and BT, they should be allowed at least another year over 2025 due to delays caused by coronavirus etc.

The funny thing is I literally see a bt van parked up the road from me every week at the ‘junction’ box…. the amount of time they've spent there dealing with ‘copper’ connections they could have fitted fibre lol.

I also don't understand why the government are having to pay BT, a commercial entity with near monopolistic ownership of the telephone network, 5 BILLION (or 9 if BT gets their tax breaks)to basically upgrade the infrastructure they didn't even pay to install in the first place… BT should be paying for it out of their own pocket imo, it's not like they don't charge excessive amounts (compared with other countries) for usage or anything..

don't confuse BT with openreach. Two different things but somehow blurred together in a way I don't fully understand. From what more knowledgeable people have told me the government would do well to demand total separation of the two.

IMO they should create a NFP organisation whose sole task is 1GB for every property FTTP and fund that. No propping up of pension schemes and legacy culture to deal with then.
I've always found its the upload that sucks, I'd probably be happy with fibre backbones everywhere and then 500/250 at the house.