MPs have warned that the UK may fail to get its target of offering superfast broadband to 85% of the UK by 2025.
The government had initially aimed for nationwide coverage within 5 years. However, targets were affected when it was found that only 25% of the promised £5bn funding would be available.
The Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said the cuts, paired with a “lack of effective planning” meant the UK could end up playing catch-up to other countries.
The report mentioned that there was “no genuine belief” from within the sector that the government’s current goals were possible within its current timeframe.
“The government’s decision to abandon its 2025 gigabit-capable broadband target within weeks of ministers reassuring us of their commitment to it was a belated recognition that it was unrealistic and unachievable, underlining concerns we’d heard from industry,” said committee chairman Julian Knight.
The government said on the same day that homes and businesses that did not yet have access to superfast broadband would be prioritized in the ongoing roll-out.
Lloyd Felton, of County Broadband, said this would be crucial in making sure the UK’s broadband was fit for future generations.
“Continued growth in the rollout of full-fiber broadband is much-needed, as a recent Ofcom report revealed only 18% of the UK can access full-fiber services.
“It is vital that we take the opportunities to invest in full-fiber infrastructure now, to e
The committee has also shown concern that the government would not achieve its 5G coverage target, some areas may remain without connectivity.
The government had announced its target for 5G coverage in the UK by 2027 as part of its £5bn plan.
However, the DCMS said the plans in their current state failed to address problems with coverage in hard-to-reach rural areas.
“The government’s target to deliver to the majority of the population, rather than the majority of the country, risks repeating the same errors that led to mobile ‘not-spots’,” said Mr. Knight.
“If investors cherry-pick areas of high population, it leaves people in remote rural areas without hope.”
Mr. Knight added that current plans risked “embedding digital inequality rather than solving it”.