An inquiry has been launched into the feasibility of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s claim that high-speed internet will be available to every UK home and business by 2025.
Johnson previously promised to make “poor mobile signal a thing of the past” as part of the Government’s plan to improve connectivity in the UK. He also wants to bring gigabit-speed broadband to the whole of the country within the next five years.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee will now examine the nation’s broadband and 5G networks to determine how realistic the ambition is, what work must be carried out in order to make it reality, and how it might impact businesses.
Currently, about 14% of the UK (4.3 million premises) can access a 1Gbps-capable fixed broadband ISP network, dropping to 12.5% if only taking ‘full-fibre’ (FTTP) networks (3.7 million) into account.
DCMS committee chair Julian Knight said: “The delivery of full-fibre broadband is critical to the success of the UK, particularly the need to ensure that our businesses of the future are equipped with a reliable, future-proofed network no matter where they are based.
“The Government has said it wants to achieve this nationwide roll-out by 2025. We’ll be carrying out a reality check to find out what steps must be taken now if this target is to be reached.”
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The DCMS will also look into the role that 5G technology could play in achieving this target, and various initiatives geared towards improving mobile connectivity across the UK.
Among the current initiatives is The Shared Rural Network, which involves EE, O2, Three and Vodafone investing in a £1 billion shared network of new and existing phone masts in less well-connected areas of the UK. This initiative plans to bring 4G to 95% UK coverage by 2025.