Nation Infrastructure Commission publishes in-depth assessment of the UK | DMA

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Nation Infrastructure Commission publishes in-depth assessment of the UK


The National Infrastructure Commission—the expert body that advises the government on issues of infrastructure—has today released their UK-wide report. The assessment gives analysis of the current setup and also looks at the United Kingdom’s future economic infrastructure needs up to 2050.

Importantly, it makes key recommendations regarding telecoms and internet accessibility. This is a key are that the DMA has advocated for greater and more equitable investment by the government, as many parts of the UK—particularly rural areas—suffer from abysmally poor internet connections. This has a negative effect on business and puts them at a disadvantage when competing for tenders with companies based in London or other metropolitan hubs.

The National Infrastructure Commission’s report also follows the recent Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review by Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, which recommended the rapid expansion of connectivity throughout the country, earmarking rural areas as the places that should receive particular focus. Both reports influence will the UK Government’s modern Industrial Strategy.

For digital and telecom improvements, the Commission recommends that “government should set out a nationwide full fibre connectivity plan by spring 2019, including proposals for connecting rural and remote communities. This should ensure that full fibre connectivity is available to 15 million homes and businesses by 2025, 25 million by 2030 with full coverage by 2033. To achieve these targets:

  • Ofcom should promote network competition to drive the commercial rollout of full fibre, by deregulating where competition is effective and guaranteeing a fair bet on risky investments before regulating any uncompetitive areas
  • Government should part subsidise rollout to rural and remote communities, beginning by 2020, starting with the hardest to reach areas
    and community self-build
  • Government and Ofcom should allow for copper switch-off by 2025
  • Government and Ofcom should take action to cut the cost of full fibre deployment including: Government should ensure the processes for obtaining wayleaves and connecting new builds are the same for digital infrastructure as other utilities by 2019; Local government should designate ‘digital champions’ to improve telecoms processes such as street work permissions and access to publicly owned assets; Ofcom should monitor the accessibility of Openreach’s duct and pole infrastructure by levels of usage.”

The full digital review can be read here. The full report can be accessed here.

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