Just days after being told the UK had slipped four places on the global broadband speed table, the government has decided it wants to ditch the antiquated copper-wire internet system for good. The timing of the announcement may be suspicious, but government moves too slowly for the 2018 National Infrastructure Assessment report to be put together so it's probably just a coincidence.
The report has laid out the 2033 deadline, with the goal of making sure everyone has 'full' fibre by 2033. Full fibre being a proper fibre-to-the-home connection, and not one that connects to a green box down your street and leaves the final leg of the journey to strands of metal. The rough plan right now is to make full fibre available to 15 million homes and businesses by 2025, 25 million by 2030, and then all of them by 2033. How that's all going to rollout isn't clear right now, since the government has yet to formulate a detailed plan.
The government is currently aiming to "formulate a national broadband plan" by next spring, with some emphasis on people who live in the country and generally get shafted when it comes to internet speed - be it wired or mobile.
It's quite an ambitious goal to say the least, and I wouldn't be surprised if those deadlines got pushed back at least once. Regardless, it hopefully means that proper fibre internet will be getting rolled out in areas that the likes of BT and Virgin have been hesitant to expand into. And a proper fibre connection is probably going to be more convenient for customers than BT's G.Fast technology, which is a fibre-to-the-cabinet connection that boosts the speed of the copper-based finale. That's good, but not as good as wiring up people's houses properly.
All the goals laid out are quite a long way off, so this isn't going to change anything overnight, but hopefully getting to work on the rollout means the UK's average broadband speed won't stay behind the likes of France and Madagascar forever.
It'll also be interested to see what happens to the legacy copper. Will it all be ripped by Openreach as it rolls lays out the new fibre cables, or will it be left in the ground to either rot or be ripped out and scrapped by thieves? [TechRadar Pro]