In response to Budget 2021 announced today, our CEO has released a comment.
Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, commented: “Whilst we welcome the announcement of a new UK Infrastructure Bank, we see this as more of a ‘fund’ rather than a transactional bank, operating in a similar way and, directly replacing, the European Infrastructure Bank that British businesses no longer have access to post Brexit. We suspect the majority of any funding available from this will be more focussed on non-digital infrastructure such as the power sector, and will not impact the rollout of full-fibre in the UK. The digital infrastructure sector has already demonstrated its ability to raise private investment supported by significant existing government support from the Gigabit Voucher Scheme and Outside-In Programme recently launched.
“The biggest hurdle we face is widespread confusion in the consumer market. Existing superfast broadband networks are promoted as ‘fibre’ despite their copper limitations, creating apathy towards real full-fibre which holds back progress. Why would consumers buy something they think they already have? If the government is serious in its commitment to deliver next generation connectivity by 2025, then we must implement stricter rules over how different broadband services are promoted.
“Existing networks are reaching their limit and over the coming months and years the demand for data will soon outstrip capacity. Only new Hyperfast full-fibre networks can deliver the future-ready speeds and reliability we need. We must increase the rate at which we are building full-fibre Hyperfast networks now if we are to meet the government’s gigabit coverage targets of 2025. It we wait until the last minute it will already be too late. As the rest of the world races ahead, we don’t want to be left peddling a bicycle.”