Evan Dixon, CEO, European Broadband Retail at Viasat Inc.
The government needs to properly future proof the UK’s broadband infrastructure as a matter of urgency, and today’s investment is an admirable step in ensuring this happens. But 2033 is a long time away. What will the people in rural communities do today to get connected? As a country, the UK has become fixated on fibre to deliver broadband, blinding us to other ways of delivering internet. Providing a fibre connection outside of urban areas is challenging, disruptive to infrastructure, and incredibly expensive, as outlined by the additional £3-£5bn budget required to reach rural areas.
We need a mix of technology to connect people now, or we risk showing off our full-fibre network in 15 years’ time when other countries may have already taken the next leap ahead. The government needs to be much more ambitious in providing better connections irrespective of technology, rather than relying solely on fibre. Without this variety, we risk further widening the divide by delaying rollout to other areas, creating a two-tiered nation of broadband haves and have-nots. This two-tier problem will have ongoing effects on education, opportunity and investment, creating a vicious circle where the gap between haves and have-nots keeps expanding.