Regulatory changes to spur investment in full-fibre Internet

Telecoms regulatory body Ofcom has announced some changes that will encourage investments in full-fibre Internet in the UK.

These proposed changes are based on the recommendations published in the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review by the UK Government. In the review, the Government highlighted plans that would help the country enjoy full-fibre connectivity by 2033 at the cost of around £30bn.

The review recommended that the Government work with Ofcom on a number of policies, including switching from copper lines to fibre optics, standardising framework deployment, making it easier to install fibre optics via existing infrastructure owned by Openreach or utilities and improving access of mobile service providers to 5G spectrum.

Sharon White, CEO at Ofcom, has welcomed the review by the Government. She said that Ofcom also aims to ensure that the UK in its entirety has full-fibre Internet and access to 5G networks. Ofcom and the Government are working with industry to ensure that businesses and consumers get the latest Internet and mobile connectivity.

The regulatory body said that rules must be consistent so that service providers can focus solely on full-fibre technology to deliver broadband and mobile connectivity.

This shift has seen TalkTalk and CityFibre commit to a large-scale full-fibre rollout that will benefit millions of people and thousands of businesses. The rollout commitment has forced Openreach to change its view on infrastructure from fibre-to-the-cabinet to fibre-to-the-premises.

Ofcom has proposed several changes, including regulating residential and business markets in the same manner, consulting to offer unfettered access to Openreach’s poles and ducts, and adopting different regulatory approaches for various parts of the UK, as needs and market conditions are not the same across the country. Lastly, Ofcom also hopes to create a positive investment environment by ensuring that the regulations stay in place for three to five years, if not longer.


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