back to article Surprising everyone, spending watchdog says the UK's 2025 deadline for nationwide gigabit broadband is 'unreachable'

The 2025 deadline to deliver UK-wide gigabit broadband is "unreachable", according to a damning report from Parliament's spending watchdog. Improving Broadband, published by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), identifies several flaws in the strategy taken by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Please stick to approved nomenclature. I kept wonder who this DCMS was until I realised - Ministry of Fun.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @Doctor Syntax

      Whenever I hear 'Ministry of Fun' I always think of Black Sabbath- rock and roll rebel:

      'The ministry of joy that still hasn't laughed'

  2. xyz Silver badge

    I live in a tiny wee village in Catalunya and...

    We got fibre optic installed throughout the village last week and were 5Ged up a few months ago.

    Mind you, around these parts the internet is marketed as a new way to watch TV but saying that, there is one woman who buys her clothes online so it's not really a wasted expenditure.

  3. dave 81

    They installed fibre in my street last January.

    Messed up the grass verge much to the neighbors annoyance. However, to this day, I have not been able to get FTTP despite contacting every fiber provider including BT. What gives, it been a year since the physical fiber was installed!?

    1. Lee D

      Re: They installed fibre in my street last January.

      Their official coverage stats go by how many houses are fibre "capable", not by how many actually have it.

      By converting your cabinet they can claim hundreds of fibre-capable houses in your area, even if they never hook up a single one, and thus contribute to their whatever-percentage-coverage legal obligation.

      Also FTTP is vastly different and they don't really care, because FTTC is so much cheaper for them to implement.

      I have FTTC in my road, last time I checked they offered me "up to 4Mbps" on it. I bought a 4G router instead, get 80Mbps+ and unlimited data for £15 a month. Judging by the local Wifi SSIDs, quite a few of my neighbours do the same.

      Irony is that I could hit the town centre of a major inside-M25 town with a stone from my bedroom window, and live in a tightly-packed urban environment.

      I gave up waiting for BT to provide decent broadband years ago, and have lived in VM-fibred areas or used 4G ever since. To be honest, despite my hatred of Musk, if he manages to get his Starlink thing going, I'd far rather give him money than BT, and at least I could take that with me when I moved house.

    2. Danny 14

      Re: They installed fibre in my street last January.

      Very similar in our village. We had FttC installed fairly quickly but with a tiny connection card, about 3 dozens houses signed up and noone else could after that. We were lucky. If someone moved house then you had to swoop quickly as migrations in were not guaranteed. The cabinet needed upgrading again and this didnt happen, now we are getting FttP apparently so the FttC upgrade is on hold.

      Luckily the vodafone 4g+ mast has good connectivity.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Increasing the divide?

    Unless forced it will be gigabit cities and still sub-broadand rural regions. Restrict them to connect ALL rural customers first before city customers if there is to be any chance of fixing the digital divide

    1. SImon Hobson

      Re: Increasing the divide?

      Sadly the realities of raising money would mean that such a demand would simply guarantee that no-one got it.

      What might work would be to parcel up bits of the country, rank them, and pair them - to the "tastiest" bits to put a service into would be paired with one of the worst. That way, providers would have to use the profits from the profitable customers to provide a service to the unprofitable ones - rather than allowing them to promise to do it but just pocket the profit instead.

      I suspect that even this would not be palatable to industry. The unpalatable truth is that large parts of the country just aren't profitable to supply with this sort of technology - so you either have to force cross-subsidy (e.g. with my idea above), or publicly subsidise the non-profitable areas.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: Increasing the divide?

        I heard somewhere that an international specialist of this kind of setup & subsidies would be available by the end of this month.

        I don't remember his name, it was Indian sounding if I am not mistaken.

        But he has experience working with Super-PAC, not PAC, so I am not sure he would be a good fit.

  5. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    I recall the review of fixed line telephony services (PSTN and ISDN) published in 2014 IIRC. It started that PSTN and ISDN should be switched off by 2025. However it also confidently predicted that most customers would be migrated to alternative services by 2020. Really? What percentage of PSTN and ISDN haves already been migrated to other services I wonder. Three information doesn't seem to be available.

    Back then the review wasn't talking about full gigabit broadband (that's some creep in only six years) only about replacing PSTN and ISDN with TCP/IP based services. A lot of politicians and CPs were until very, very recently still talking about full fibre gigabit to every home by 2025. But if this was the career why was (and is) FTTC and it's big brother G.Fast still being rolled out?

    Well G.Fast will give gigabit connections, which sounds good to Joe public and any politicians you may need to impress. The reality however is that in order to get sync of a gig you need to be a very sorry distance from the cabinet (under 100 metres from your street cabinet anybody?) So as an alternative to fibres this would mean a start cabinet every couple of hundred yards. Not only would that be bloody expensive and time consuming, but you also need planning permission for each and every cabinet. As such G.Fast seems to be a blind alley. Unless of course the next amendment to the plans is going to be that they will roll out "up to 1Gbps". They already call fibre to the PCP (ie copper to the premises) a fibre connection so don't be surprised if by 2025 your promised gig fibre connection becomes something under 100Mb copper.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      or you can just change the meaning of Gbps: Great-Britain Pound Squared, anyone?

  6. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    The strangest thing about the fibre rollout is the amount of work being done for no results. My local exchange had stacks of fibre drums in the car park until recently. All this fibre is now strung to every pole in the village. When I saw the work being carried out I got quite excited at the thought that I would soon be able to get full fibre.

    So I jumped into the Openreach website only to find that there was no date showing on there for the rollout. Working as I do in the bcomms industry I have access to enhanced availability checkers from a few providers. So I thought I'd get more info from there. Nope. No date for the fibre rollout. No end date for WLR.

    I spoken to an openreach engineer who was fixing a fault nearby recently. He told me that yes the fibre is all run to a rack of fibre trays. However that rack strands alone. They haven't even installed the track to take the kit that the fibre will connect to.

    I just don't understand why they would put all that money and effort into stringing up all that fibre and then just leave it there with no plans to connect it to anything.

    1. illiad

      yeah, they have put all the cables in place without checking if any one really wants it or can pay for it...

      It is like big housing projects..

      "I am paid to build something, it is someone else's problem to sell it.."

  7. illiad

    how many rich people??

    yup, how much are they planning to charge, once they get it going??? VM is almost £100 a month....

    Openreach??? LOLOLOL you want it when???? LOLOLOL problems with your new BB?? dont worry it will only take 2 weeks....

    VM is a lot faster!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Great year to bury bad news.


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...has failed to be transparent about the potential for escalating costs and delays...

    That's by design.


  10. hoola Silver badge

    Gigabit Broadband

    Like everything else to do with connectivity now you can have gigabit but at some point the contention will bring a slice of reality. Do people seriously believe that once this become ubiquitous there speeds will be maintained? Just like ADSL, when you they hit the exchange you will be contending with everyone else's 1Gb. There is only so much bandwidth available and there has to be a natural bottleneck somewhere. Heck, my place of work (a University) only has 10Gb symmetrical onto JANET and we don't see that maxed out.

    I also question the genuine need for these sorts of speeds. With 4 of us working from home (2 adults and one at university then one at 6th form) I have not had any issues of bandwidth that are not unexpected on out FTTC, 70/20 connection. Even if the yoofs of not doing their college work they will be using even more capacity with streaming or gaming.

    Surely it would have been much better to get 100Mbs accessible than going for this panacea of 1Gbs.

    1. illiad

      Re: Gigabit Broadband

      It all depends how much bandwidth is **needed**..

      most feeds are 'multiplexed' , and many websites only use one of these.. have a look at the speed check to see !!

    2. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Gigabit Broadband

      Same with 5G

      if everyone could get 10Mbps and 3G it might be worth pushing 1Gbps and 5G, but the so called Universal Service Obligation, is starting to look like a most people something, if you feel like it.

      IIRC BT were gearing up to roll out fibre everywhere in the 90s before HMG flogged their remaining 50% they even built fibre fabs in ipswich and birmingham

      1. illiad

        Re: Gigabit Broadband

        The problem with BT fibre back then is that they used a **totally** different spec...

        A whole housing estate was wired with optic fibre, and when people moved in, it was found to be 'wrong' so it all had to be pulled out and replaced with cable!!

        **tech guys, if YOU know why, do explain..

        next point is, due to stupid 'standing line charges' on landline phones, *everyone* is starting to DUMP them for 'pay as you go' mobiles...

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