Countries around the world are moving ahead with rolling out high-speed ‘next generation’ broadband based on fibre optics rather than copper. The next generation of broadband is essential to our future prosperity and important for all communities.
The UK has made a start on deployment, but we want to go further. Government will be looking at ways of ensuring a strong, competitive, market-led approach to next generation broadband roll-out across the country.
Much of the cost of broadband roll-out is the cost of civil engineering - for example, digging up roads. Making it possible for companies wishing to build out new high-speed broadband networks to use the infrastructure that is already in place could significantly reduce costs and drive more commercial investment, including in rural areas where the current market case for investment is less attractive
Steps now to reduce the cost could make a significant contribution to broadband availability and open the market to new players.
Powers exist in current legislation which can be used to enable some infrastructure sharing. We need to do more work to understand fully what would need to be done to enable greater infrastructure sharing - what can be done using existing powers and what might require legislation, whether primary or secondary. If we do need legislation we stand ready to bring it to the House as soon as possible.