The UK’s full fibre-to-the-home roll-out
The UK is in the middle of a digital revolution and it’s being powered by a new type of broadband technology that’s faster and more secure than anything you’ve seen before.
It’s called full fibre-to-the-home, or FTTH. It will enable more people to launch their own businesses, unlock the potential of those people who have been left behind, and support a slick, super-secure digital connection that’s unaffected by bad weather and data congestion.
FTTH broadband is the future, so here’s a look at what the UK government is doing to make sure everybody is a part of it.
What is fibre-to-the-home broadband?
Fibre-to-the-home broadband (FTTH) is the high-tech digital infrastructure, delivering lightning-fast internet speeds, direct to your home.
Unlike other networks that rely on copper wires or wireless technology, FTTH runs a pure fibre-optic cable from a nearby data exchange, straight to your home.
Cutting out those old-fashioned copper wires makes FTTH the UK’s fastest and most reliable type of broadband. It can guarantee up to 1 gigabit of data per second. That’s around 10 times faster than the UK’s average home broadband speeds.
Why the UK needs full fibre to the home.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unexpected challenges that few could have predicted. It also accelerated existing trends, including the adoption of new digital technologies and ways of working.
These changes are here to stay and they offer a once in a generation chance to level up local economies, provide job and educational opportunities, and create a robust digital infrastructure that will power 21st century innovation.
Full UK FTTH coverage means over a million more people could access employment through increased flexible working options.
Two million more people could work remotely from home. Skilled workers and high earners will be able to do their jobs from anywhere, reducing housing and transport pressures in cities and bigger towns.
Research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) had previously shown that full fibre could provide a real boost to communities across the country and boost labour productivity by nearly £59 billion by 2025.
Small towns and rural areas would also benefit. They would attract more high earners and retain those who already live there. Both would provide a welcome boost to smaller, local economies all across the UK.
According to research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), over half a million people could be free to live and work where they choose with FTTH full coverage.
Even more young people could access online college and university courses, giving them the chance to learn employment skills from anywhere in the UK. Cost, location, and other socio-economic factors would no longer be barriers to higher education or employment training and that means more equal opportunities for more people.
Better broadband is linked to better life outcomes.
A recent report from Ofcom found that around 10% of homes in the UK cannot access full fibre broadband.
These homes are in less dense and rural areas. Economically deprived areas are also underrepresented in terms of full fibre coverage.
As many experts have identified, those without fast and reliable internet speeds have less work and educational opportunities. They also suffer from poorer physical and mental health outcomes, including feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
A network everyone can be a part of.
The UK government is fully committed to ensuring that everyone has the right to high-speed FTTH broadband, no matter where they live.
Earlier this year, the government announced a £5billion digital investment scheme. All the funds will go towards building FTTH, gigabit ready broadband networks in rural and hard to reach areas.
It’s part of the government’s Building Digital UK (BDUK) initiative. Sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the BDUK is tasked with increasing the UK’s FTTH coverage to 95% by the year 2025. It’s aiming to reach 99% of households by the end of this decade.
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