Broadband News

Man who promised 100% full fibre coverage now Prime Minister - UPDATED

Promising is easy, delivery can be harder and that sums up the ambition to get full fibre to every home in the United Kingdom by the end of 2025 (i.e 31st March 2026).

Boris Johnson has won the Conservative leadership election and is due to start his job as Prime Minister on Wednesday afternoon. His acceptance speech text includes a snippet on the full fibre plan mentioned during the campaign.

And like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity with better education, better infrastructure, more police, fantastic full-fibre broadband sprouting in every household.

Extract from Boris Johnson speech, full text on The Spectactor

As one of those that raised doubts about reaching the target, the aim around what we have said is not about being negative but being pragmatic and understanding the scale of the task ahead. 

Talking about fantastic full fibre for every household is going to be popular but delivering means getting manifolds or fibre pots installed outside some 28-29 million homes across the UK and with other infrastructure projects that will compete for people who can do the street works required the issue is not technology but getting enough humans on the streets building the network. The providers rolling out full fibre are ramping up hence the announcements from CityFibre of new civils contracts being signed and Openreach recruiting more staff to help them hit their current targets.

The question that DCMS and Chancellor will need to address even before Brexit (be it deal or no deal) happens on 31st October 2019 is what help either financial or resources will be available to the private sector so that they can commit to the existing 15 million that is roughly what is in the pipeline for 2025. We say commit since there are various conditions about stability that could see operators (and we are not just talking Openreach) scale back their existing ambitions. 

One question now is how much further beyond the 15 million premises can the commercial operators commit to within the timescale. 

If there is going to be more public money available then how this is shared out becomes the hot topic, does the LFFN (Local Full Fibre Network) and RGC (Rural Gigabit Connectivity) schemes get topped up with several billion pounds at which point our presumption is that we would see a lot more of the CityFibre announcements about various councils being anchor tennants and full fibre to the residential areas to follow in a couple of years.

Of course passing the 30 million plus households in the UK with full fibre is one thing, actually connecting millions of them is another whole logistical battle. If the roll-out to get 100% premises passed goes into overdrive we predict that we will very soon comments appearing of people waiting for many months for someone to come back and actually connect them to the bit of the fibre in the street.

Full fibre for all for 2025 is to be welcomed, the questions now are around who pays and who builds it and who connects the public up to it. Of course we are assuming that the 2025 date has not already changed.

Update 24th July 2019: In his first speech as Prime Minister on returning from Buckingham Palace Boris Johnson has referred to full fibre broadband as one of his aims, alas no more detail but was included when talking about improving infrastructure across the UK. It is likely that more detail will appear in the next week once the make up of the cabinet and people have moved into their various roles and announce the changes that are planned.


More likely to happen by the year 2525 and by that time it will be very old technology assumimg the human race is still on earth or for that matter the earth still exists :P

  • 21again
  • 3 months ago

I can see them reaching 80-90% by 2025, but not 100%. It's good to be ambitious, but this isn't realistic.

  • steve14
  • 3 months ago

"or for that matter the earth still exists"

That at least I can reassure you on...the earth will still exist. :-)

As to full fibre, I don't even know why it's so important to the majority of the UK or even England.

Perhaps someone with an objective viewpoint would like to explain the importance because beyond the "sexy" I don't see the need, (yet).

  • nervous
  • 3 months ago


Live in a house with kid / adults, all with PCs and phones and tablet and our 350Mb connection is well used. FTTP would help me, but if you're a single adult who only reads emails then fair enough.

With 4k streaming becoming the norm there is an insatiable appetite for ever faster speeds

  • nameGoesHere
  • 3 months ago

God help us

  • andrum992
  • 3 months ago

nervous - those of us outside the cities frequently have to makeg do with really slow speeds because we are so far from the cabinets. Without fibre, this will not change since there are minimum cluster sizes required for infill cabinets to be viable. I manage with 6Mbps down and 0.8Mbps up and there are two of us trying to use it. Even one Youtube stream buffers at 1080p. I can manage at 720p providing nothing else is using it. That is why the "100%" promise is so interesting.

  • DanielCoffey
  • 3 months ago

Any new BDUK contracts now are already FTTP based, the FTTC still appearing under the BDUK rural elements is stuff planned a year or more ago.

In terms of minimum size, as small as 16 premises via the VDSL2 bricks is what has been done in the past

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

We can but continue to hope, let down by Superfast Scotland, and continuing to wait for R100. Can only console ourselves that this years ADSLmax to ADSL2+ pushed us to the current giddy heights of 4.6Mbps down and 0.4Mbps up.

  • brianhe
  • 3 months ago

Bo Jo is likely to have been long gone in 6 years time, even if he isn't he won't give a *.

  • burble
  • 3 months ago

The chance of 100% coverage by 2025 is zero, optimism or not - there’s not enough labour to do it. 50-60% is more likely, with Openreach hitting around 15 million premises, other a bit more plus a lot of overlap too.

  • New_Londoner
  • 3 months ago

It's ok. He can now do what all politicians do once they gain the position they were aiming for, realise that their policies and promises aren't feasible and just not do what they said they would.

Situation normal.

  • Swac3
  • 3 months ago

It will be like going back in time to the 60's and 70's where you waited long periods to get a telephone line for exactly the same reason. Unfortunately most people are dullards and think privatization fixed that. What we know from that time is actually connecting more than 300k properties per year is really pushing it.

  • jabuzzard
  • 3 months ago

So when are the shiploads of civils engineers alongside fibre engineers to install the goodies into the kit the civils guys make available arriving?

Some more network planners would be a good idea too. Along with outbidding others to get at prodigious amount of fibre required.

Huawei and Nokia OLTs it'll have to be.

Oh, and who's playing for redirecting a significant proportion of the civils and fibre engineers in Europe to a country with a shaky exchange rate, imminently unstable inflation and dubious social environment?

  • CarlThomas
  • 3 months ago

While I cannot see how 2025 can be met, Project Stratum in NI can be delivered and and will thus be the nearest to 'fully' fibred before 2025.

The funds exist for plenty of other areas to follow.

  • ValueforMoney
  • 3 months ago

Hi Andrew,

Could you just translate "Any new BDUK contracts ...... as small as 16 premises via the VDSL2 bricks is what has been done in the past" for me?

We are presently waiting to be migrated to a shiny new AIO FTTC cabinet #21 on Woburn Sands exchange under a BDUK contract that is already many many months late...the date of Aug 4th has now been given to us.

Are you suggesting that new BDUK contracts to convert FTTC to FTTP might be underway? Or have I misunderstood?

  • shirvilleg
  • 3 months ago

You may have missed the bit where I said 'the FTTC still appearing under the BDUK rural elements is stuff planned a year or more ago'

So we still see new VDSL2 cabinets appearing and other locations where it looks like VDSL2 is planned, i.e. delivery on the way and this is from areas just like yours where there may have been delays etc.

Where a BDUK contract has delivered VDSL2 these are not being ripped out to be replaced with FTTP either. The later contracts though are doing things like those on these cabinets not getting superfast speeds may see FTTP become available.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

@shirvilleg, I guess you are under Central Beds like me, we had the first BDUK VDSL2 cabinet in Central Beds, for a couple of years I was not happy as I only get 5Mb at my end of village, the later phase 2 and 3 had no provision for anything else, out of the blue last year we had survey for fibre which has now been laid to pole, the 'new' local council officer for BDUK had no idea what was happening, but fortunately I kept in touch with Trish the old officer and it seems that after phase 3 excess money is used to put fibre in where possible.

  • burble
  • 3 months ago

Hi Broadband Watchers.
With aprox 100K Cabs showing fibre on demand there most be spare fibres in the locations so is it possible for the PM being correct or very rear 100% at the end of the time span. I think he means digital all the way this covers copper, fibre and coaxial.

  • Blackmamba
  • 3 months ago

To be clear here, an exchange having fibre on demand does NOT count as FTTP premises passed.

Absolutely no idea what you mean by 'digital all the way this covers copper, fibre and coaxial'

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

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