Government full fibre strategy under threat

Red tape and punitive business rates on fibre infrastructure are undermining the investment case for full fibre and slowing down its roll out, according to Openreach CEO Clive Selley, who says this scenario puts the Government's ambitious targets under threat of not being realised.

"With the right policies and regulation, we can build a better, more reliable broadband network faster than any other country in the world and unlock the benefits for the whole UK," he stated. 

“If that doesn’t happen, then many people will be locked out of a more connected future and the UK could lose its status as a global digital leader."

Selley's warning follows the release of research findings that suggest FTTP broadband by 2025 would deliver a near £60bn boost to UK productivity through smarter ways of working, better public services and greater opportunities for the next generation of home grown businesses.

The study by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (commissioned by Openreach) examined the economic impacts of a fully-fibred UK. 

“Full fibre is a vehicle to turbocharge our economy post-Brexit, with the power to renew towns and communities across the UK," added Selley.

In response to the report, Openreach has published proposals designed to enable Government and the industry to accelerate the roll out. 

These include an exemption from business rates in order to stimulate more investment; Government action to lower costs and reduce barriers to deployment; and the regulator setting the right conditions to unlock the commercial case for companies to build across most of the UK.

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