Exploring Full Fibre Funding

Introducing the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review

Earlier today, the UK government released the findings of the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, a large scale project designed to take a full look at the nationwide level of Internet connectivity across the UK, evaluating improvements and setting firm policy and targets for future work.

While the FTIR may not sound like the most exciting thing to begin with, it’s a genuinely important document, laying out plans for hundreds of millions in funding over the next few years, all aimed at improving the state of connectivity for home users, businesses and schools in a number of key ways.

Taking a look through the document, we’ve identified some key points to be aware of. Right away, it’s worth focusing on a couple of foundation facts cited in the introduction - 95% of UK households now have access to “superfast” (24 Mbps+) connectivity and 87% of the UK’s area is now covered by 4G. Both these statistics represent major changes from the last few years, and indicate the overall direction the FTIR takes, creating an environment where effective connectivity is far more open to all, creating a strong foundation to build from.

The creation of this foundation doesn’t just stop with superfast connectivity. In order to support the digital society of the future, it’s essential that ultrafast fibre connectivity becomes available to more people, more businesses and more schools. Fibre Internet is designed to deliver far faster speeds than are available through copper-based services, opening the doors up to a huge range of possibilities, from high-quality streaming and large scale Cloud usage to a host of new services.

Fibre connectivity isn’t necessarily next-generation - it should be a standard wherever possible. As such, the FITR sets out some clear targets, aiming at connecting 15 million premises (up from a little over 1 million at the moment) to fibre service within the next 7 years, through great programmes like the LFFN (check back next week for more info about that!).

With the report estimating the total cost of a national fibre rollout at £30 Billion, a full-on deployment isn’t going to be an overnight event. Nevertheless, the government has created a number of schemes designed to help minimise costs while ensuring an effective, fast rollout.

With fibre installation requiring construction, the report aims at ensuring that all newly-built property is connected to fibre networks, while also broadening the ‘right to entry’ previously available for other service providers, ensuring that ISPs can access property to install services regardless of objections from landlords.

Along with these regulatory changes, the FTIR brings together a vast amount of funding to support the development of fibre networks across the country, amounting to a little over £700 Million in the near future. With the vast amount of funding available, we’re hopeful that the FTIR creates a real change for the market when it comes to fibre connectivity - right now, we’re proud to be one of the first companies to benefit from the programme, with our upcoming rollout of DarkLight connectivity in West Sussex having received some key funding courtesy of the scheme.