UK Government to Invest £1 Billion in 5G and Faster Fiber

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Across the Atlantic in Europe, many of us think and feel that Europeans have it a lot better when it comes to broadband speeds as well as the monthly price they pay for their wireless bill. In a lot of European countries, that’s true, as there’s more choice and generally better value, until that is, we look at our cousins in the UK. Despite the myriad of different ISPs that UK residents can sign up to, such as Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet and so on, the majority of these rely on copper that was laid by BT years ago, and a lot of the ISPs in the country use BT’s fiber optic lines, too. Only Virgin Media takes care of their own – generally far superior – network on a national scale. There are smaller, private firms starting up to offer smaller sectors of the nation faster access to fiber optic broadband, but now the UK Government is pledging £1 Billion in the investment of both better and faster broadband, as well as the future of wireless networks in 5G technology.

As part of the UK Government’s Autumn statement earlier this week, the Government pledged to invest £1 Billion in both 5G and fiber broadband, the former will get the majority of this figure, with a whopping £740 Million set aside for the development of 5G, and £400 Million or so set aside for a “Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund” which will help provide support for private networks to expand their fiber broadband offerings. The UK’s Chancellor, Philip Hammond said that he wants the UK to be a leader in 5G networks, and that that meant “a full fiber network, a step change in speed, security and reliability”. Given that South Korean networks have already started to trial 5G networks, and big names in the States such as Verizon already have some plans in place, the UK might have more catching up to do than they originally first thought.

Regardless, this sort of investment is key to ensring the future of such technologies, and as the world continues to feel a smaller, and smaller place it’s good to see that key nations such as the United Kingdom are looking to invest in future technologies, sooner, rather than later. Compared to the United States and other countries, the UK was one of the last to get a 4G LTE network, so hitting the ground running with 5G will be a big boost to the economy.