January 11, 2021
The Committee warns the Government that it risks failing to meet its revised-down target for gigabit-capable broadband in the face of “considerable challenges to infrastructure roll-out”. The Committee says that evidence to the inquiry found little confidence that nationwide gigabit-capable broadband by 2025 (see item above) could be delivered and “no genuine belief” within the sector that it was achievable. Challenged on the target throughout the inquiry, Ministers reassured the Committee of the Government’s commitment to it, however, within weeks of these appearances before MPs, the Government abandoned its commitment to nationwide gigabit-capable broadband by 2025, aiming instead for 85% coverage by that date.
The Report says that it would not be acceptable, having abandoned one unrealistic target, for the Government to fail to meet a second less ambitious target through lack of effective planning or inadequate investment. MPs also flag concerns that only 25% of the Government’s £5 billion to support roll-out to the hardest-to-reach premises will be made available during this period.
The Report finds the Government’s target for majority 5G coverage by 2027 “equally ambitious”, given rulings banning the use of equipment by high-risk vendors. MPs warn that its roll-out risks repeating the legacy of mobile “not-spots”. To read the Committee’s news release in full and for a link to the report, click here.