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Sat, 28 November 2020

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We’re shovel ready – It’s time to unleash the power of Full Fibre

We’re shovel ready – It’s time to unleash the power of Full Fibre

At Openreach, we’re determined to lead the way and we’re extremely ambitious, because we know how transformational broadband can be., says Clive Selley, CEO | Credit: Openreach

Clive Selley, CEO | Openreach

3 min read Partner content

If we’re looking for shovel-ready projects to boost the UK’s economic bounce back, it’s time to unleash the power of Full Fibre broadband.

With bold action and cross-party support, your constituents could be connecting to better broadband sooner - boosting the economy and benefiting society, healthcare and the environment. 

Over the last ten weeks we’ve seen the true value of digital communications. And, at Openreach, keeping the UK connected has been our top priority, day and night.

We’ve learnt how to embrace technology and it’s vital that we hold onto those benefits and carry this experience into our new, more connected future.

Our network has supported working, learning, shopping, laughing, crying and a lot of quizzing. It’s kept people informed and ensured the vital work of government and Parliament could continue. But most importantly, it’s enabled health and essential services to care for people when it was most needed.

I want to thank our engineers and telecoms workers, who’ve shown skill and determination to keep millions of homes, businesses, clinicians, care homes and critical services connected, as well as 17 new hospitals.

“Infrastructure” has long been a by-word for roads and rails. Yet for over a decade, the telecoms sector has invested billions into building the UK a modern digital platform.

Without that investment, 97% of homes couldn’t access superfast broadband, and the experience of lockdown would’ve been far more isolating.

In fact, through this pandemic, we’ve glimpsed the future. More people working at home. Better air quality. Online GP consultations. Elderly relatives connecting digitally. Children learning via the web.

We’ve learnt how to embrace technology and  it’s vital that we hold onto those benefits and carry this experience into our new, more connected future.

At Openreach, we’re determined to lead the way and we’re extremely ambitious, because we know how transformational broadband can be.

In fact, we’ve been cracking on with the largest broadband build in the nation’s history, and making the most of quieter streets.

We’re building the next generation of ultrafast, ultra-reliable ‘Full Fibre’ broadband, and we’re aiming to reach 20 million homes and businesses, assuming the Government and Regulator have put the right investment conditions in place.

As a nation we should also ensure that everyone living or working in a multi-dwelling unit has, and all new homes are built with, full fibre – we should accept nothing less.

According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) Full Fibre could boost the UK’s productivity by nearly £60bn, slash carbon emissions from commuting, and enable half a million more people to access employment whilst balancing caring or parenting responsibilities. It would reduce transport and housing pressures in big cities and level-up rural and local economies throughout the country. 

But to make such an ambitious plan efficient and timely needs your help.

We’ve already called for better planning, access and streetworks rules and, post Covid-19, that legislation can’t come soon enough. As a nation we should also ensure that everyone living or working in a multi-dwelling unit has, and all new homes are built with, full fibre – we should accept nothing less.

Removing business rates on the new network until it’s generating income will release the handbrake on investment enabling the private sector to upgrade c.90% of the country. So the £5bn allocated by Government could be used to upgrade only the least commercial areas, minimising the burden on taxpayers.

The transformation is happening right now. And Government can help turbocharge the build by working with the industry to provide long-term, well-paid engineering jobs across the sector and its supply chains.

If we’re looking for shovel-ready projects to boost the UK’s economic bounce back, it’s time to unleash the power of Full Fibre broadband.

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