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Gov MPs Pessimistic Over UK 5G Mobile and Gigabit Broadband Targets

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024 (3:53 pm) - Score 1,560

A new survey of 104 Ministers of Parliament, which was conducted by consultancy firm Cluttons and YouGov, has revealed that both Government (Conservative) and opposition (Labour) MPs are extremely pessimistic about the country hitting any of the current coverage targets for 5G (SA) based mobile and fixed gigabit broadband networks.

The relevant targets relate, firstly, to the Government’s £5bn Project Gigabit broadband roll-out, which aims to help extend related fixed line network coverage to reach 85% or more of UK premises by the end of 2025, before rising to “nationwide” coverage (c.99%) by 2030 (here). The fact we’ve already passed the 80% mark earlier this year (here) suggests there’s a good chance of achieving this, albeit more due to the work of commercial operators than public investment.

The second target is more difficult to gauge because it reflects mobile coverage and the recently introduced ambition to “blanket the country with the fastest, most reliable wireless coverage available” – with the plan being for “all populated areas to be covered by ‘standalone’ 5G (5G-plus) by 2030“ (here).

The lack of a solidly defined % figure here for Standalone 5G makes life difficult, but it’s probably reasonable to equate this to 99% population coverage (this is a fair bit weaker than using a measure of geographic coverage). In addition, Ofcom currently only tracks regular 5G coverage and not coverage for the superior end-to-end 5G Standalone networks.

However, according to the latest ‘Connecting today for tomorrow‘ from Cluttons, only 1 in 5 MPs said they were confident the targets could be achieved for 5G, and only 1 in 4 said it would happen for gigabit-capable broadband. A third (33%) were not confident that the broadband target could be reached by 2030 and 28% said they were not confident that the 5G threshold would be met.

The survey results were also affected by a very low percentage of Labour MPs saying the Government will meet its targets (Labour: Broadband 0%, 5G 3%), yet at the same time only a third of Conservative (Government) MPs are confident that the 5G targets will be met, and less than half (44%) are confident that the gigabit-capable broadband targets will be reached.


There is clearly a problem when MPs are not convinced that the UK will meet its own targets for augmenting digital connectivity. As examined earlier in the report, the UK is already lagging globally, and these targets are the minimum we should be aiming for,” said the report.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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8 Responses
  1. Avatar photo carlconradw says:

    This is more a political statement isn’t it. Labour don’t want to say that the current government is on track and the Conservatives don’t want Labour to get the credit for it if they win, Either way our current crop of politicians is a rather pathetic lot.

    1. Avatar photo John says:

      Considering their position was to “nationalize” the industry, it would be a travesty for them to admit capitalism works

  2. Avatar photo Pixelpetal says:

    Honestly, these results don’t exactly come as a surprise to me given that many things over many years have been slow to adopt or adapt towards not helped by the slowdowns some have added to time of when technological advancements should have happened.

    It’s the same thing with the whole “going green” for the climate problem too. And pretty much same exact reasons why.

  3. Avatar photo Phil says:

    Could it be that only 1 in 5 MPs have the remotest idea about anything?

  4. Avatar photo Chris says:

    This just goes to support what I’ve been saying for years about project gigabit. It’s so far behind that the chance of getting coverage by 2030 is unrealistic. What it does highlight is the need for a revised U.S.O. currently the only option for us is using starlink as all the mobile networks are to congested to provide a decent stable connection. What we need is a subsidised option for those who have no other choices, be it Starlink or OneWeb. Currently we’re looking at a potential wait of 5+ years before we’re serviced by our government promised gigabit connection.

  5. Avatar photo NE555 says:

    At the current build rate, Openreach alone will have 70% FTTP coverage by end of 2025. It’s not unreasonable to hope for half the remainder to be covered by Virgin and/or altnets.

  6. Avatar photo Devaraja says:

    There are places like Croydon where Openreach do not have plan to install fibre, and community fibre removed the plans for deployment. even virgin do not offer service in some locations. So we are stuck with vdsl or 5g.

  7. Avatar photo John Jay says:

    I’m not surprised.

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