Government considers paying for broadband fibre

The government is considering the possibility of funding high-speed fibre cabling to the home (FTTH).

Government considers paying for broadband fibre

Although the backbone of the UK’s broadband network consists of fibre-optic cabling, including BT’s 21st Century Network (21CN), the links between homes and telephone exchanges are still largely copper, creating a bandwidth bottleneck.

BT has repeatedly stated that it can’t justify the expense of FTTH, prompting Stephen Timms, the UK’s minister of state for competitiveness, to chair a summit that will investigate the possibility of government funding.

The UK has fallen behind many other European countries in regard to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), such as Sweden, where utilities companies have already installed last-mile fibre connections to many households.

The investigation will look into whether funding might be possible, and how much investment would be required. As the former e-commerce minister, Timms is well aware of the importance of high-speed connectivity for business and innovation, but whether the government could justify the multi-billion investment required is questionable.

Timms announced news of the summit to the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), which has long campaigned for a large scale rollout of fibre connections in the UK.

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