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UK MPs launch full-fibre, 5G roll-out inquiry

March 5, 2020

By Colin Mann

The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has launched an inquiry into the challenges facing full-fibre and 5G roll-out, examining Government’s pledge to ensure every home and business in the UK has gigabit-capable broadband by 2025.

The Committee monitors the policy, administration and expenditure of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and its associated bodies, on behalf of the House of Commons and the electorate,

The inquiry will focus on how realistic the ambition is, what is needed to achieve it, and what the Government’s target will mean for businesses and consumers. It will also look at what role 5G technology might play, and what initiatives such as the Shared Rural Network mean for improving mobile connectivity across the UK.

“The delivery of full-fibre broadband is critical to the success of the UK, particularly the need to ensure that our businesses of the future are equipped with a reliable, future-proofed network no matter where they are based,” declared Julian Knight MP, DCMS Committee Chair.

“The Government has said it wants to achieve this nationwide roll-out by 2025. We’ll be carrying out a reality check to find out what steps must be taken now if this target is to be reached.”

Terms of Reference:

  • How realistic is the Government’s ambition of nationwide gigabit-capable How realistic is the Government’s ambition of nationwide gigabit-capable broadband by 2025, and what measures (regulatory, financial, technical, other) will be needed to achieve it?
  • What are the challenges to the roll-out of 5G and gigabit-capable networks? To what extent do existing legislative, regulatory and spending plans address them? What needs to happen to ensure the Government’s ‘outside in’ approach successfully addresses the digital divide while also delivering value for money?
  • What does take-up of broadband and mobile services indicate about consumer and business attitudes to digital connectivity? What needs to be learnt from this for the roll-out of, and switchover to, gigabit-capable networks?
  • What will be the impact on individuals and communities whose broadband and mobile connectivity fails to keep pace with the rest of the country over the next 10 years? What is the link with other DCMS policy concerns, such as changing patterns in the consumption of digital media?
  • How effectively do the different stakeholders (UK and devolved governments, local authorities, Ofcom, industry) work together in both the mobile and broadband sectors? How might these relationships be improved to support gigabit-capable roll-out?

The Committee is seeking written evidence by 18.00 Thursday 2nd April 2020.

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