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Openreach expects full fibre to benefit the UK economy by £60bn

Research commissioned by Openreach reveals that full fibre broadband for everyone by 2025 would boost the economy by almost £60bn.

The research: The estimates that connecting the whole of the UK to a FTTP broadband network by the end of 2025 could result in a £59bn economic boost (equivalent to £1,700+ per worker), rising to £70bn by 2038. These figures were achieved by modeling the potential productivity impacts of a nationwide full fibre deployment. This offered a range of different potential impacts depending on when nationwide full fibre can be deployed, but are based on the government’s target for gigabit broadband for everyone by 2025.

Openreach stands ready to invest: Openerach has said it stands ready to deliver the government’s ambition, but has made clear that it’s dependent on the right regulatory framework being in place. Specifically they are calling for a consistent and long-term regulatory framework that supports investment and competition. Openreach believes that with the right regulatory environment, up to 90% of the UK could potentially be commercial for full fibre investment and build.

What’s being asked for from government? As well as the predictable regulatory framework from Ofcom, Openreach are asking for a number of barriers and hurdles to be removed. These include: improved access to multiple dwelling units and local authority buildings, the removal of business rates, the mandating fibre in new build developments, more efficient streetworks and traffic management, access to the right engineering talent, and access to a range of global suppliers. That last one a reference to the still undecided supply chain review and the use of Huawei equipment. 

Broadband and the Queen’s speech: While the Queen’s speech is more of a ceremonial affair, it is worth noting that nowhere was Boris Johnson’s original 2025 target date mentioned. The policy commitment simple reads that the purpose of the legislation is to: “roll out gigabit capable broadband across the UK to achieve nationwide coverage as soon as possible”. A further softening of the target already?