Telecoms.com published its ‘2020 Telecoms.com Annual Industry Survey’ at the beginning of November with the bold statement: ‘With resolution and defiance, the telecoms industry is standing firm in adversity’. We whole-heartedly agree with that statement and are proud of our team here at VX Fiber, its commitment and hard work during the unprecedented circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
The report is a compelling read and great insight into the market with a focus on the roles of 5G, digital transformation, edge computing and security, along with broadband in driving recovery and growth. What piqued our interest, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the section on broadband. In particular, the challenges identified in the study that were impacting the deployment of new architectures – specifically legacy copper network footprint (as the leading constraint) and the lack of ‘Public’ funding.
VX Fiber’s business is full fibre, so it’s not rocket science for us to agree that full fibre ‘laid all the way to the doorstep’ is the gold standard in internet connectivity. But we are not the only ones to believe this. It is why, the UK government in partnership with mobile infrastructure and telecom providers, is on a mission to get Britain connected to a full fibre network, replacing the existing copper infrastructure. The Prime Minister’s initial pledge was to ensure that every premise has access to full fibre by 2025. However, it now plans to ‘go as far as it possibly can’, which means the original 2033 target could be more likely.
And it’s true that funding this full fibre network continues to be a ‘top of the agenda’ discussion point. But this is where we perhaps differ from the research respondents, we have been saying all along that the industry cannot, and should not, rely solely on public funding.
This is why we have been very vocal about the importance of increased public and private collaboration – specifically between the UK government, industry and the investor community – to getting Britain connected. One of the solutions that we’ve heralded is the need for third-party investment opportunities such as individual regional or local digital infrastructure projects to be opened-up to multiple external investors. Not only does this present a huge and scalable opportunity, it will open-up a more sustainable territory for private investors. This is only one example of what can and should be done.
When it comes to the provision of broadband, support is needed from other sectors of society, not just the government via public funding. Perhaps those who potentially will gain profusely from both the economic and socio-economic benefits of full fibre connectivity need to play their part too.