Supercharging investment in fibre broadband

08 January 2020

Homes and businesses across the UK are set to benefit from much faster and more reliable fibre broadband, under major proposals we’ve set out today.

The UK’s broadband infrastructure needs to be upgraded. Full-fibre broadband connections, which use fibre-optic cables all the way to people’s homes, can deliver much faster speeds than old copper lines.

They are also up to five times more reliable, and less likely to slow down when lots of people use them at the same time.

So, today we are proposing new, flexible regulation that will help to build a full-fibre future for the whole of the UK.

Better broadband and mobile - wherever you are

Our proposals will transform the business case for fibre investment – for towns, cities and villages alike. Next year, we plan to vary our regulation for different parts of the country. This, combined with the Government’s planned £5bn funding for rural areas, will help ensure nobody gets left behind.

Driving competition and investment

Our focus on promoting broadband network competition has helped full fibre coverage to increase at its fastest ever rate.

We are now proposing to supercharge the strategy with a four-point plan to support competitive investment in fibre networks.

  1. Improving the business case for fibre investment, by setting Openreach’s wholesale prices in a way that encourages competition from new networks, as well as investment by Openreach.
  2. Protecting customers and driving competition, by making sure people can still access affordable broadband and preventing Openreach from stifling competition.
  3. Taking rural areas into the fast lane, by supporting investment by Openreach in these areas.
  4. Closing the copper network, as full fibre is built, so Openreach does not have the unnecessary costs of running two parallel networks.

We will also protect customers during this transition, by transferring our regulation – including price protections – from copper to new fibre services.

These plans will help fuel a full-fibre future for the whole country. We’re removing the remaining roadblocks to investment and supporting competition, so companies can build the networks that will drive the UK into the digital fast lane.

Full-fibre broadband is much faster and more reliable. It’s vital that people and businesses everywhere – whether in rural areas, smaller towns or cities – can enjoy these benefits. So we’re making sure companies have the right incentives to accelerate full fibre to every part of the UK.

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom's Interim Chief Executive

Next steps

Today’s consultation closes on 1 April, and we will publish our decisions in early 2021 before the current rules expire in April 2021.