15/10/2019

Government has big plans for Britain’s broadband

At the Opening of Parliament speech, the Queen summarised the government’s ambitious plans to introduce new legislation for providing ‘gigabit-capable’ broadband speeds to millions of homes. 

The announcement comes shortly after the government pledged £5 billion to rollout gigabit capable broadband to the hardest to reach 20% of the country, in itself a 10% increase from previous Prime Minister Teresa May’s promise. As it stands, the government has already invested £1.8 billion on providing superfast broadband to 96% of the country. 

Broadband experts doubt the 2025 deadline

Experts from the broadband industry have previously criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans for the gigabit-capable rollout, claiming his ambitious 2025 target was only possible if there was a change in law. Currently, broadband installation companies face lengthy battles to gain access to sites where permission can’t be obtained. 

In a document supporting the Queen’s speech, this barrier has been addressed. It states there will be ‘a cheaper and faster light-touch tribunal process for telecoms companies to obtain interim code rights (or access rights) for a period of up to 18 months. This will mean that they can install broadband connections where the landlord has failed to respond to repeated requests for access.’ 

The document also highlights the expected benefits of the new legislation as providing: 

  • Faster speeds (one gigabit, i.e. 1,000 megabits per second) boosting productivity, driving innovation in our public services and giving people the fast connectivity they need to access equal opportunities and reap the benefits of the digital revolution.
  • Increasing download speeds with a gigabit-capable network, which are more than 30 times the speed of superfast broadband and will allow you to download a HD film in fewer than 45 seconds.
  • Faster and more reliable internet connections for people living in flats. New measures will also ensure that all new homes are built with the fastest connectivity available, increasing certainty for businesses investing in gigabit speed networks and making it easier for people to switch to better broadband deals.

As Mr Johnson lacks a majority in the House of Commons, the bill is unlikely to be made into law by the current government. It will more likely form one of the Conservative’s key points on their party manifesto at the next general election. 


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