UK Gov targets 2026 for proper 5G – that’s goodish. Right?

UK Government Matt Hancock BBWF Broadband

UK minister for culture, media and sport, Matt Hancock, told the Broadband World Forum audience the government would like to see proper 5G in the mid-2020s. It’s good to see it’s a top priority over in Westminster.

In an ironically-titled presentation (“The UK as a Global Leader”), Hancock lamented Britain’s fall from digital grace, and said we as a nation rested on our laurels back in the early 2000s when we legislated a minimum access speed for all of 28 Kbps. That’s Kbps. With a K.

“Legislature for data and mobile connections was set at 28 Kbps back in 2003,” said Hancock. “And it stayed there. So let that be a warning to all of us. While 10 Mbps may feel like enough for today’s needs, it won’t be enough for the future.”

In all honesty, Matt, most people would argue that 10 Mbps isn’t enough, even today. In fact, one audience member submitted a question saying “How can you call 10 Mbps ‘superfast’ broadband? 10 Mbps is not even broadband.”

During his keynote, Hancock conceded that it’s just not been good enough, and we as a nation need to do better, and do better interwebs, and that 5G will really help catch us up with the rest of the world. But then…

“We must start now on 5G and fibre for more than a decade ahead.”

Wait, what? “We must start”? “A decade ahead”?

Surely work must already have begun, like it has in the rest of the world. Plus, most countries are talking about 2018 to 2020 as a ballpark launch date; we can’t be lagging THAT far behind, can we?

This needed some more digging into, so got a question in at the end Hancock’s presentation.

“Over the next decade we see 5G having a roll to play in the rollout of full fibre, this is something to help deliver ubiquitous 5G over the next decade. It’s not just about going for full rollout by 2020, but looking much longer term and using these technologies as part of a ubiquitous strategy by 2020.”

Whatever that means.

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