Broadband News

AA President suggests more should be spent on broadband

More money pouring into broadband to help with home working is something the broaband industry is very likely to welcome and those struggling with a poor connection will obviously welcome. The AA President has been quoted in various media outlets talking about the longer term impact of the pandemic and how important broadband has suddenly become.

Arguably in future, we should invest more in broadband because what this current crisis has shown is that the majority of companies can continue working from home, and it can be more efficient.

AA President Edmund King

The Governments target is 100% Gigabit coverage by the end of 2025 and these speeds should be a lot more than the vast majority will need for home working even in 2025. £5 billion of public money has been set aside to ensure a Gigabit service is made available to the 20% of properties that the Government believes commercial operators will not reach with their own money. The impact of the pandemic on this target is difficult to quantify since building work is carrying on, but what has slowed down is the hooking up of people to the services.

For many years now, a spell of bad weather and people working from home for a day or two triggers coverage that broadband will mean millions working from home in the future and while a small number do switch to home working each year, the pandemic has kick started a massive experiment.

Obviously the Governments focus will be on reducing the health impact of the pandemic and our feeling is that is if the pandemic is brought under control swiftly life and work travel will return to the same levels as in the past. The real difference will be if the pandemic results in a lockdown period of several months and working from home becomes engrained as opposed to daily commute in a tin box on your own or crammed on public transport. Add to this whether home grocery shopping services scale up to handle the demand and we could see the big out of town supermarkets transform.

Diverting public spending from road building to alleviate congestion to broadband would probably not bring the 2025 target date closer, where it would be better spent is helping support firms and people in working from home e.g. encouraging take-up of what is available, tax breaks for firms which encourages home working, support for the extra costs of heating being at home all week can incur, support for small firms in terms of IT support.

We suspect that lots of households looking out of the window of their front room will be thinking about the expensive lease deals they have on a vehicle that is currently only making a once a week trip to the supermarket. Also homes with 2 or 3 cars might be considering ditching one vehicle to save money on tax, insurance and maintenance.


We should not be paying more to heat homes, we should be requiring decent levels of home insulation. UK housing stock is incredibly inefficient.

  • Fellwalker
  • 11 months ago

surely the lack of costs in travelling to and from work will offset the extra heating costs OR you could just put on an extra jumper

  • threelegs
  • 11 months ago

why should other taxpayers, which is what is being suggested, pay to heat a house that someones is working in.

  • threelegs
  • 11 months ago

All well and good, but this current situation comes with a massive bill, It's anyones guess how that will impact future spending and Government interventions.

  • Swac3
  • 11 months ago

"support for the extra costs of heating being at home all week can incur" - this is already a thing -

  • matthewsteeples
  • 11 months ago

Let's have 25-50% (3-6 months) of road tax/duties diverted to Fibre infrastructure. At £35 Billion pa, an extra £9-17 Billion for fibre wouldn't be bad. Can't use the roads right now. The Gov was planning to spend to reduce congestion anyway.

Full fibre across the whole UK is overkill, in demand and in costs. A reduction in contention across exchanges and cabs (maximising each user's line), while providing FTTC to those hard to reach places would be more productive/inclusive.

A public speedtest awareness campaign might be good around now too. Something to do while stuck in the house. :D

  • camieabz
  • 11 months ago


FTTC isnt the technology to service the 'hard to reach' Look at the TBB maps and use FTTC on the coverage selector. FTTC produces islands of connectivity across rural areas and counter to what you suggested is actually Less inclusive.

You can reduce the contention all you want thats not going to solve the limitations of long copper phone lines Put me on a 1:1 line at the exchange but i'll still get sub 2M on adsl.
Public speedtest campaign Would be great,sure there are variances ie wired/wifi etc but a big national awareness and mass testing would be interesting.

  • Swac3
  • 11 months ago

FTTC is the technology that's been used for the easy to reach, concentrated groups of properties within around a 1km radius of an existing cabinet. Rural properties that are more dispersed with longer lines, have just had the response "too far from the cabinet", and the cost of installing a cabinet to serve just a few premises will never make sense.

  • brianhe
  • 11 months ago

I fail to see the point investing in cabled infrastructure. When 5g becomes the norm cable to the home in any form will become pretty obsolete overnight.

  • buggerlugs
  • 11 months ago

5G once it becomes commonly available at Gigabit speeds will be reliant on cable infrastructure to many points in streets.

Also bandwidth management on individual sectors will remain an issue, something that is easier to scale with FTTP e.g. 10 Gbps symmetric is possible today over FTTP.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 11 months ago

"A reduction in contention across exchanges and cabs (maximising each user's line)"

Contention is largely a none-issue on the Openreach network, peoples lines are ALREADY maxed out and its only getting more as people are upgrading to VDSL.

My line used to capable of 100Mbit, its down to 74Mbit pushing to its absolute limit. FTTP is absolutely the ONLY fix for the crapped out infrastructure and the back-end network upgrade is part of that. Its not like they are going to roll out Gigabit with the same backhaul they used for ADSL.

  • alexatkinuk
  • 11 months ago

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