Keeping the momentum going – building the UK’s full-fibre future

27 April 2018

Ofcom, Government and leading figures from across the telecoms industry gathered at a conference this week to get behind the drive to increase investment in full-fibre broadband in the UK.

The Building a Full-Fibre Future event, hosted jointly by Ofcom and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), was an opportunity to hear how the UK can build on recent momentum and further increase the availability of ultrafast, full-fibre broadband.

Panel of 6 people seated on stage in front of an audience, having an open discussion at the Building a Full-Fibre Future event

Full-fibre broadband uses fibre-optic cables to deliver the broadband connection all the way from the exchange building to your home. It means you don’t have to rely on decades-old copper cables to provide your broadband, which can suffer faults and see speeds drop-off significantly at peak times.

Only 3% of the UK can currently access full-fibre broadband. Ofcom and the Government want to see this increase significantly and have been working to encourage more investment and competition in the market.

In recent months companies including Openreach, CityFibre, Virgin Media and TalkTalk have committed to rolling out new full-fibre networks. This could mean up to six million properties will be able to access full-fibre broadband in the coming years.

Man (Matt Hancock) speaking at podium on stage in front of an audience at the Building a Full-Fibre Future event

At the conference, attendees heard how countries such as Spain and Portugal have successfully rolled out full fibre to the majority of people, meaning benefits such as far fewer faults, significantly faster speeds and more consistent connections. And broadband providers heard how customers who switch to full fibre are far less likely to leave their provider, because they are much more satisfied with their service.

Ofcom chief executive Sharon White highlighted the importance of modernising the UK’s networks, so people and businesses have the connections they need for today’s data-hungry society.

“Our vision, shared by many of you, is to move the UK decisively away from a Victorian-era copper network to a modern, full-fibre network fitting for an advanced economy,” she said.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport opened the event and was also clear on the potential power of full fibre, saying: “As we saw when we moved from dial-up to broadband. full fibre presents colossal opportunities to transform our lives and our economy.”

The event also included speakers from leading broadband companies such as BT, CityFibre, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, Openreach, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Vodafone.

Find out more about how full fibre works and the benefits it can offer in our guide.