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The UK must boost broadband installations by 10,000 houses per day to meet targets, BT's Openreach

Currently installs around 40,000 new homes with fiber per week and the deployment of ultra-fast broadband risks falling further behind unless operators can increase their deployment by more than 10,000 homes per day.

A study by EY said Britain’s plans to install gigabit-capable broadband by 2025 would need building rates to increase by 85pc.

BT's Openreach currently plans to install around 3 million new full-fiber connections over the next 12 months. Its current average is around 40,000 homes per week.

Other providers, such as Virgin and CityFibre, are also planning to ramp up their new installations.

The Government had originally planned to cover the whole of the UK with faster broadband by 2025 but has since watered down the proposals to “at least 85pc” of homes.

This would still leave millions of people in hard to reach areas without fast broadband at the end of the five-year deadline.

The Chancellor’s spending review in November toned down the target. Boris Johnson first announced in 2019 that the Government would demand full-fiber access to every home by 2025, but this was changed to “gigabit” capable, meaning mobile networks or copper wires could fulfill the aims.

Praveen Shankar, EY’s UK head of technology, said: “While the revised timeframe is more realistic, for that 15pc of the population the risk of being left behind is greater than ever.”

The Government also softened its spending pledge to support broadband deployment. Originally, £5bn had been promised to networks to accelerate broadband installations, in particular for hard to reach rural areas.

But in the spending review, it was revealed that just £1.2bn of that funding would be available by 2025, described by network insiders as a “kick in the teeth”.

Industry leaders warned any rollback could jeopardize billions of pounds in funding planned by infrastructure funds to support broadband deployments.

EY said the UK had fallen 13 places in global broadband speed rankings to just number 47 globally. The UK’s full-fiber broadband coverage is just 14pc of households, compared to more than 90pc in some countries.

EY’s Mr. Shankar said: “Urgent improvements to the UK’s digital infrastructure are not only essential for businesses to grow and thrive, but they are also required to secure long-term national competitiveness. Without significant attention to gigabit infrastructure, the UK risks falling further behind European neighbors.”


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