Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Boris Johnson's broadband pledge currently not viable, telecom bosses warn

Four key issues need to be fixed within the year to make the 2025 deadline, telecoms chiefs have warned. Credit: PA

Major changes are needed if Boris Johnson's pledge to deliver full-fibre broadband across the UK by 2025 is to be met, major telecom firms have warned.

In an open letter to the prime minister, experts warned that four key issues need to be resolved within the next year for the target to be achievable.

They listed these as:

  • Ensure all new-build homes are developed with fibre connectivety
  • Investment in digital and engineering skills to meet the challenge of rolling out the scheme
  • Reform so-called fibre tax, where buildings with fibre cables are taxed as if they are business buildings
  • Allow telecoms providers to access land where landlords have not responded

The letter was signed by the chairman of the Internet Services Providers Association, the interim chief executive of the Federation of Communication Services and the chief executive of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association.

In their co-signed letter, they said it required “mix of leadership, pioneering spirit and Government support to be possible”.

They added: "As you yourself have written, ‘it cannot go on like this’,”

“Nationwide full-fibre coverage is not a can that can be kicked down the road, and these issues need to be resolved by your Government within the next 12 months to ensure that industry can continue to accelerate roll-out.

Mr Johnson wants broadband connectivity for all by 2025 Credit: Rui Vieira/PA

“As you said on the steps of Number 10 as you began your Premiership: ‘let’s start now.’

“Industry is ready and willing to work with yourself, your Government and the new Digital Secretary to ensure that Britain’s connectivity is fit for the future. But that work needs to start now, and 100% fibre coverage requires a 100% commitment from Government.”

The Prime Minister said during the Tory leadership campaign that he wanted full-fibre connections available across the country “for all by 2025” – eight years ahead of the former target of 2033.