Rural areas to get 5G mobile priority
Hard-to-reach rural areas will get priority for new fixed broadband and 5G mobile connections as part of new measures proposed in a UK-wide plan for telecommunications.
The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review was announced on the first day of the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells as part of the UK Government’s modern Industrial Strategy.
It proposes the changes that are needed to give the majority of the UK population access to 5G, connect 15 million premises to full fibre broadband by 2025 and provide full fibre broadband coverage across all of the UK by 2033. Full fibre infrastructure is vital to underpin 5G coverage.
The new approach is aimed at driving large-scale commercial investment in the fixed and wireless networks that are vital for the UK to remain globally competitive in a digital world.
DCMS Secretary of State, Jeremy Wright said: “We want everyone in the UK to benefit from world-class connectivity no matter where they live, work or travel.
“This radical new blueprint for the future of telecommunications in this country will increase competition and investment in full fibre broadband, create more commercial opportunities and make it easier and cheaper to roll out infrastructure for 5G.
“The FTIR’s analysis indicates that, without change, full fibre broadband networks will at best only ever reach three quarters of the country, and it would take more than twenty years to do so.”
It also indicates that 5G offers the potential for an expansion of the telecoms market, with opportunities for existing players and new entrants.
It was also announced that rural businesses and communities are set to benefit from improved broadband access as part of a £45 million boost by the government.
The new funding for the government’s Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme adds to the £30m investment announced last year, increasing the total pot of funding available to £75m.
The money will be made available through grants to local authorities that have already applied for funding, in areas where broadband services at speeds of 30Mbps or faster are not available or planned. The funding will be used to support full fibre wherever possible.
North Yorkshire is one of the local authorities to receive funding through the scheme with a grant offer of over £11 million.
“I am delighted to announce today that North Yorkshire has been awarded a grant of £11 million towards improving its broadband infrastructure,” said Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner.
“Rural areas should not be left behind in the connectivity slow lane, missing out on the opportunities high speed broadband can bring.
“The funding made available through the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme champions our countryside communities and businesses by opening up access to broadband of at least 30 Megabits per second, in some of the most hard to reach areas.”