The UK’s Government’s Digital Infrastructure Minister, Matt Warman, is seeking views on changing regulations to make infrastructure sharing easier for broadband companies.
This would open up access for broadband network operators to house their equipment on ‘passive’ infrastructure owned and used by other telecoms companies. Passive infrastructure includes utility ducts, poles, masts, pipes, inspection chambers, manholes, cabinets and antenna installations.
The government will also explore making it easier for these firms to run high-speed broadband cables through the electricity, gas, water and sewer networks that span the UK.
Steve Beeching, Managing Director at Viasat UK, said: “The last few months have made crystal clear just how vital broadband connectivity is to the UK. While this announcement shows a welcome willingness to explore new ways to expand connectivity, it seems we’re still stuck in a mindset of taking 19th century approaches to a 21st century issue.
“We need broadband services in every inch of the country to prevent a stark digital divide and even with the best will in the world, pipes and cables cannot reach everybody. By fixating on fibre broadband, we are at risk of missing the fact that any true national broadband programme needs to use multiple technologies – from fibre to 5G to satellite – to give everyone from consumers to emergency services the connectivity they need, when they need it.”