100% 4G coverage 'will reach UK by 2020'

Digital minister also promises 5G within a decade

Fibre broadband

Superfast broadband and 4G will be universally available in the UK by 2020, according to digital minister Matt Hancock.

Speaking yesterday at Broadband World Forum, Hancock said that deeper connectivity throughout the country, including rural areas, is essential to "keep up" with demand for high speed internet.

"By 2020, the volume of global internet traffic is expected to be 95 times its volume in 2005," said Hancock. "In the UK, fixed internet traffic is set to double every two years."

To ensure Britain is able to provide the capacity for this data demand, broadband needs to be considered as the "fourth utility", according to Hancock.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

The UK superfast broadband network is currently available to 91% of homes, due to rise to 95% by next year, with average speeds of 24Mbps.

But Hancock believes this extensive rollout of "part-fibre" broadband has meant that only 2% of premises enjoy full-fibre speeds.

Alongside a promise to roll out 100% 4G coverage by 2020, Hancock outlined plans for an extensive 5G network are also in place over the next decade.

"The future is fibre. Around the world the evidence increasingly points to fibre roll out as the underpinning of a digital nation," said Hancock. "Our ambition is to be a world leader in 5G - by defining industry standards and attracting and retaining investment in research."

But before work begins on an even faster 5G network, Hancock stressed the importance of "strengthening" the current 4G rollout. The current maximum 64% coverage has been described as "poor" by a research body.

The government has put pressure on UK network providers by imposing a legally binding obligation to deliver universal coverage. Although the "market will have to lead", the government has promised increased support.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"Reforms to planning laws and the Electronic Communications Code will make it cheaper to deploy infrastructure, including more masts by permitted development, taller masts, and small cells," said Hancock.

A competitive market is needed for plans to go ahead, he added. Companies such as BT will be "forced to open up access to, and maps of, its ducts and poles".

The government hopes this will provide greater fairness in the market, placing stronger emphasis on the role of the Advertising Standards Authority to deliver clarity.

Hancock also acknowledged the severe lack of connectivity on rail routes and has outlined plans to deliver 100% coverage of free Wifi on all passenger journeys by 2020, including boosts to mobile connectivity by filling in rail 'not-spots'.

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/mobile/28690/lte-vs-4g
Mobile

LTE vs 4G

16 Sep 2019
Visit/mobile/28105/4g-vs-5g-whats-the-difference
Mobile

4G vs 5G - what's the difference?

25 Mar 2019

Most Popular

Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/policy-legislation/data-governance/354496/brexit-security-talks-under-threat-after-uk-accused-of
data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354533/dell-xps-13-new-9300-hands-on-review-chasing-perfection
Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020