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UK makes solemn vows about national infrastructure

fibre cable 3

The UK National Infrastructure Commission has published an assessment that says UK national infrastructure needs to get better.

At first glance this looks like one of those broad public sector studies that serves to both rubber-stamp proclamations made by their political sponsors and loosely demonstrate that the state is on the case, knows how important this sort of thing is, and is doing loads to make sure it gets sorted out.

The report covered a broad swathe of infrastructure categories from energy to transport to mitigating climate change, but the first one concerned ‘building a digital society’. You can read that section here, but it seems to be a collation of a bunch of other public proclamations on the matter, including the aim of connecting 15 million premises to fibre by 2025.

“Whether it’s electric or driverless cars, new energy sources, tackling the risk of climate change or preparing for the newest and fastest broadband speeds, the issues we’ve been considering profoundly affect people’s everyday lives,” said Sir John Armitt, one of the associated Commissioners.

“The whole purpose of the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment is to think beyond the technologies of today and to ensure we can make the most of future innovations. It’s why it’s not just a one-off but something we will be repeating every five years to ensure we remain on the front foot.

“This is not some unaffordable wish-list of projects: it sets a clear direction for how to meet the country’s future infrastructure needs, and makes a realistic assessment of what can and should be delivered within the stated aim of Ministers for steady and continued investment over the coming years.”

“From businesses who need reliable high speed bandwidth to manage their global supply chains in real time, or families streaming the latest film releases via smart TVs, we are all looking for fast, reliable broadband connections – and so are our international competitors,” said Andy Green, another Commissioner.

“We can’t afford for any community to be cut off from these essential technologies and so alongside private companies, the Government must also play a role. A National Broadband Plan would make clear that the government needs to take action to ensure rural areas as well as our cities can take full advantage of the digital revolution.”

Maybe Andy, but Openreach has already made it clear that it’s not aiming any higher than ten million FTTP installations by the mid 2020s so is the recommendation that the tax-payer foots the bill for the remaining five million? The report also calls for full national FTTP coverage by 2033 – good luck with that.

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