Boris pledges full fibre for every home by 2025 - current projection is 2043
Pledging something is very different to delivering and while delivering an additional 27.6 million premises of full fibre is a massive task given enough people to carry out the amount of physical work required it is possible if taking the simplistic view.
The full article based on the pledge from Boris Johnson which has very little to add in terms of how this might be delivered is on The Telegraph website, but the write up does seem to confuse terms such as fast internet, superfast broadband and full fibre, which is not a good start if you want to present a coherent pledge rather than a promise that will be forgotten once in power.
The current ambition the UK Government is hoping to reach is 15 million premises (i.e. half the UK) with access to full fibre by the end of 2025 and 100% coverage for the end of 2033. In theory if the roll-outs talked about by the various full fibre builders deliver the 15 million looks possible, but a lot will hinge on how much overlap there will be in the competitive urban areas.
While there is lots of talk from providers of delivering various large numbers of premises in the next few years, the projections based on what we have seen delivered in the last few months suggest that we need to see a lot more activity visible on our streets if the existing 2025 target is not going to be missed.
- thinkbroadband projection for when the UK will hit 15 million premises passed by FTTP is the end of 2030
- thinkbroadband projection for when the UK will hit 30 million premises passed by FTTP is 2043
2019 has seen Openreach significantly increase its roll-out rate for FTTP but their 20,000 premises a week (i.e. a Salisbury every week) is not enough to hit their own 4 million target for the end of 2021 and needs to increase. So beyond the nice words that keep investors happy we need to see ALL the FTTP providers delivering significantly more, to hit 30 million by 2025 would need around 400,000 premises extra every month.
The pledge does not cover the small matter of who will pay for the increased speed of any roll-out, and let there be no doubt if the firms that supply contractors figure out there is a deadline looming and lots of demand for a limited pool of staff the price will go up.
If public money is to be used to boost the roll-out speed then this needs to be done without comprising spending in other areas such as the NHS, or put another way a Chancellor needs to sit down with their team and figure out where the money will be coming from.