BT claims PM Boris Johnson’s plan to give all Britons superfast broadband by 2025 requires ‘Herculean effort’ as doubts grow about ambitious target
BT has claimed that Boris Johnson’s plan to give all Britons superfast broadband by 2025 will require a ‘Herculean effort’ as doubts grow about the ambitious target.
The Prime Minister revealed his plan last year to connect the whole of Britain to one gigabit per second broadband by 2025 and committed £5billion to the goal.
But industry sources say the already ambitious plan has been thrown into doubt by coronavirus delays. The industry also faces disruption if controversial Chinese firm Huawei is stripped out of the network.
Man with a plan: Boris Johnson wants to connect the whole of Britain to one gigabit per second broadband by 2025
BT said the goal – which it is estimated will cost £30billion in total – will require effort from all sides, including the Government and regulators.
The Internet Services Providers’ Association said that the target was now harder to achieve and called on the Government to cut taxes on new fibre, rip up stringent planning laws, and ease consumer regulations.
The trade body’s chairman Andrew Glover said: ‘Despite the guidance being clear from Government that network building could continue during lockdown, this was interpreted differently across regions and local authorities, with the result being that rollout plans in numerous areas were delayed or put on hold.
‘Delays through Covid, possible disruptions of the availability of skills and potential disruptions to the supply chain all make the Government’s 2025 ambition more difficult to achieve, which is why the Government needs to step up its support.’
BT said: ‘To provide full fibre or other gigabitcapable broadband to the whole country by 2025, we’ve stepped up to play our part by setting our target for Openreach to reach 20million premises in a similar timeframe.’
The Government said it was still committed to bringing gigabit-speed internet to the whole country.