UK Government committed to high-speed Internet delivery

Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, has reiterated that the UK Government is completely committed to providing full-fibre Internet and 5G mobile connectivity as part of the country’s digital strategy even after the UK exits the European Union.

Talking about the country’s digital infrastructure policy, Mr Hancock said that the Government is committed to ensuring that high levels of Internet connectivity are available across the country through commercial investment.

Previously, Mr Hancock had announced the formation of a £400 million fund for full-fibre Internet, a 5G strategy for the UK and a universal service obligation for Internet connectivity. He said that these measures are still a priority for the Government.

The Minister went on to add that the Government is keen on removing regulatory barriers to investment and will be working more closely with Ofcom regarding infrastructure and spectrum for 5G.

In regard to Britain exiting the European Union, Mr Hancock said that the EU is presently working on its telecoms regulatory framework, and it is important that the framework gives importance to investment. The UK is also holding discussions with allies across the EU to ensure that British telecoms companies and network providers benefit.

However, Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO of Arqiva, begs to differ with Mr Hancock. He believes that the Government does not have its aspirations right when it comes to Internet connectivity.

Arqiva will be conducting field trials from July 2017 for fixed wireless connectivity, and Mr Beresford-Wylie said that his company wants to roll out this service quickly, as it is important to the country’s competitiveness. He believes that the UK requires high-quality Internet service, and it should be among the first countries in the world to roll out 5G connectivity. If this does not happen, then the country will lose its competitive edge, and this, in turn, will affect productivity.


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