Full fibre broadband is expected to reach half of UK homes next month, local telecommunications regulator Ofcom (Office of Communications) has said. Ofcom announced as the construction of the country's new broadband backbone continues, competition drives better broadband for everyone. Five years ago, only 6% of households had access to full-fibre connectivity. However, due to healthy competition and considerable investments from network builders, this figure rose to 42% by September last year, according to Ofcom.
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Ofcom says Full-fibre broadband surpasses traditional broadband in terms of reliability and speed, offering significantly faster connectivity compared to previous years' widely used 'superfast' connections.
According to the latest data, Ofcom anticipates surpassing the 50% threshold by March and achieving more than an 80% coverage rate within the next two years. While a significant amount of work is still required to bring faster connectivity to all areas of the country, progress has been remarkable in recent years.
Role of Competition in Building Broadband Networks
Increased competition among network providers leads to greater innovation and investment. To encourage such competition and ensure a fair playing field for operators, including Openreach, Virgin Media, and a variety of smaller, alternative network providers, Ofcom has established rules for the wholesale broadband market. Investment in independent broadband builders is expected to reach 17 billion Euros by 2025.
"For Ofcom, the alternative networks to Openreach provide a vital part of our strategy for better broadband. They help form the engine room of the UK's digital infrastructure."
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Ofcom says, "ensuring healthy and effective competition also entails monitoring the actions of the largest network firm, Openreach, to prevent it from distorting the market with its dominant position. Currently, we are scrutinizing a new pricing plan from Openreach and seeking feedback from various industry stakeholders. Our decision on the matter will be announced by the end of March."
Additionally, Ofcom says, "it is collecting data on whether regular pricing changes, such as those recently introduced by Openreach, impede fair competition from other firms. Our latest report on Openreach's compliance with our regulations will also be published in June."
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"Competition is the force that is driving better broadband for everyone. We can help secure the UK's digital future by promoting it and keeping it fair and effective," said Ofcom in its release.