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Major Bottlenecks Unless UK Fibre Optic Broadband Rollout is Accelerated

Posted: 14th May, 2010 By: MarkJ
fibre optic cableRoger Webster, Managing Director of Nottingham-based Webro, a specialist in communications cables and connectors, has called on the new UK government to press on with plans to support the rollout of fibre optic broadband infrastructure. Webster warned that failing to do this will "continue to cause major bottlenecks" unless "investment plans are driven quickly forward".

Roger Webster, MD of Webro, commented:

"Now the election has come and gone and we have a new era in Government, we need to drive forward the plans and catch up with the rest of the world, growing the number of households with broadband access.

The funding programme behind the Government’s plan for broadband roll-out is a subject of much debate but wherever that money comes from, the value of the results will undoubtedly outweigh the investment.

Fibre is a far bigger growth market than was first anticipated and we’re working with companies such as Sky and doing what we can to help push forward this growth in new technology. But we need other companies and the Government to play its part too.

The development of more new housing and the simultaneous laying of fibre cables are helping to push the country forward in its development of broadband access. However, the country’s slow take up of fibre to date will continue to cause major bottlenecks unless additional investment plans are driven quickly forward.

The UK is hampered by the legacy of aging copper installations and needs to continue to push out the laying of fibre optic cables to bring super fast broadband to as many homes, schools and businesses as possible. This is especially important with the rise in population of applications such as the BBC iPlayer and social networking."

The news comes less than a day after BT revealed a significant expansion to its own fibre optic broadband rollout plans, which is now due to cover 66% of the population by 2015 thanks to an additional investment of £1bn (here).

However most believe that reaching the last 10-30% of UK homes and businesses will require investment from the government. Luckily plans are already in place to do this, though it is not yet known how the new LibDem/Conservative coalition will approach this (i.e. will they stick with the Conservative plan or do something different?).

In fairness it usually takes a few months for any new government to settle down. They will also have much more pressing matters to tackle first, such as reducing the national deficit. The reality is that next generation broadband is likely to be put on the back burner for awhile.

That could be risky, especially at a time when so many private investors require more certainty before being able to proceed with bigger plans. We have tried and failed to get a reply from the government on these issues, which isn't at all surprising considering how they only walked into the office a few days ago.
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