Several groups representing the broadband and telecoms firms in the UK have issued a letter to the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, MP Nicky Morgan explaining that they’re eager to see 100% full fibre coverage but that it requires the government’s full commitment to resolve several issues that are slowing down progress. The representatives went further and said that the most pressing issues need to be solved in the next 12 months.
Industry outlined four issues that require urgent attention. The first is the fibre tax; in the UK fibre cables are taxes as though they're business buildings. Industry wants to see changes to this so that businesses are more encouraged to deploy more cables. The second issue pertains to unresponsive landlords. Industry says that landlords who don’t respond to ISPs looking to deploy fibre cables delay rollouts in urban and rural areas, they want to see the government change the rules so they don’t have to wait as long before they can deploy the cables.
The third item on the list says that too many new homes are being built without fibre connectivity, industry says that the government ought to mandate that fibre should be available at all new builds. The final item pertains to skills; the rollout of fibre will require people to be trained with engineering skills so industry is asking for more investment into this sector of education as well as the ability to compete for global talent to fill the gap.
In the letter, the bodies said:
“Our members are ready and waiting to take on this considerable engineering challenge. They are building ambitious business plans, ramping up investment and training thousands of engineers, but this must be supported by a fully coordinated cross-Government strategy, championed by yourself as Prime Minister. A sustained and active focus will be needed at all levels of Government to drive this forward.”
During the Conservative party leadership campaign, Boris Johnson said that he wanted to deliver full fibre to every home by 2025, eight years ahead of the existing schedule. He failed to provide any information on funding or how it would be possible. If he is serious about the target, he will be considering the industry suggestions.