Full-fibre broadband 'unlikely' in Shropshire by 2033
It is unlikely Shropshire will have full-fibre broadband by 2033 – a target set by the government, it was revealed today.
The government has revealed a new digital strategy which recommends that all homes across the UK should have access to the very best broadband coverage.
But Shropshire Council has now said that the target is not realistic for the county.
Elliott Lynch, Shropshire Council’s deputy cabinet member for economic support, said: “Given the rural nature of the council area, with premises spread out everywhere, it’s very unlikely that full fibre deployment here will be commercially viable even by 2033.
“Therefore, full fibre will require intervention to address this market failure, in much the same way that Broadband Delivery UK has done through projects such as Connecting Shropshire.”
Full fibre connections - which are faster, more reliable and cheaper to run compared with traditional copper-based networks - only stand at four per cent in the UK, lagging behind other European countries, including Spain at 71 per cent and Portugal at 89 per cent.
The government has said that without change, full fibre broadband networks will at best only ever reach three quarters of the country.
It hopes that changes to regulation and an industry-led switch over from copper to full fibre co-ordinated with Ofcom will help drive private investment and minimise the cost.
Nic Laurens, the council’s cabinet member for economic growth, and with responsibility for the Connecting Shropshire programme, said the county is “desperate” for better broadband.
He added: “While we recognise and applaud the ambition of the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, we know from regular dialogue with our businesses and residents that they are desperate for access to better broadband.”
The proposals set out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also recommend legislation to guarantee new homes are fitted with full fibre broadband.
Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said current coverage was not satisfactory.
He tweeted saying: “Provision of fibre broadband in Shrewsbury and across Shropshire far from satisfactory.
"MP Philip Dunne and I have written to Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach to seek a meeting and further information on their plans going forward.
“Any broadband issues please contact Connecting Shropshire.”