We’re ready, and in a unique position, to help deliver the Government’s targets of providing the UK with the gigabit infrastructure it needs. We’re investing in FTTP and mobile networks across the UK to deliver a converged network and seamless connectivity for our customers. Government and Ofcom play a vital role in making sure this is a success.
BT is already bringing together its market leading mobile, broadband and Wi-Fi networks into one smart, experience that gives customers seamless connectivity wherever they go. The new converged, smart network – which will be the first of its kind in the UK – is due to be available in 2022 and will enable a new era of connectivity for the UK (see for example BT Converged Consumer Strategy).
Underpinning this, our expanding 4G network infrastructure is already laying the groundwork for 5G. The actions we take now to support 4G will have a positive impact on the roll-out of future technologies. Like any complex infrastructure, there are many external factors affecting where and how quickly new sites can be built. Issues like disparate national planning laws, business rates, power and transmission costs and landlord negotiations all impact on a mobile network.
With the largest existing FTTP footprint, and firm plans to reach 3m premises in the next two years, Openreach is laying the basis for scale FTTP coverage that will serve the country’s retail communications providers including providing much needed backhaul capacity to help support the deployment of 5G.
To continue to invest in 5G and in fibre deeper into the network, we need to be confident of making a fair return. While the Government’s framework should allow that, the regulatory details will be crucial. We’ll keep working with Ofcom and the rest of the industry to get those details right and to remove any barriers to progress.