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Government to boost gigabit broadband by making it easier to access infrastructure on private land • TechCrunch


The UK government has announced plans to make it easier for telecom operators to access telegraph poles on private land, part of a wider campaign to bring high-speed broadband to all corners of the country.

The announcement was made as part of the UK’s so-called ‘mini-budget’, which was partly put in place to tackle the snowballing cost of living crisis and avoid the impact of the economic downturn. Measures announced today by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng include reducing the basic income tax rate and freezing energy bills, as well as removing rules that limit bankers’ bonuses. From a technology perspective, however, the government’s eponymous ‘growth plan’ outlined its intentions on critical infrastructure, which includes tabling amendments to the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill. , currently pending in the House of Lords.

Friction

Broadband speeds in the UK are among the slowest in Europe, leading the UK down the path of initiatives such as the £5billion Gigabit Project, which recently awarded its first contract to connect rural areas to high-speed broadband.

Elsewhere, the UK government passed new Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) regulations in 2019 to promote greater competition in fiber networks. This essentially allows third parties to lay their own fiber optic cables into existing conduit infrastructure or connect their own equipment to existing telegraph poles. This opened the door for private companies to introduce their own infrastructure without having to start from scratch.

Today’s news basically builds on that, lowering the barriers for telcos to upgrade or repair telegraph poles – which are essential for internet distribution – when they’re located on private land.

As things stand, businesses must seek permission from landowners to install or maintain telegraph poles located on their property. If the landowner refuses, the telecom operator can still seek access through the courts, but this can be a long and arduous process. This becomes more pronounced when you consider that the UK government is trying to expand the country’s access to gigabit broadband to 85% by 2025, from 70% today.

The government hasn’t said exactly how it plans to make it easier to access telegraph poles on private land, but it may involve cutting out at least some of the bureaucracy and filling in the forms needed to get the permit. permission.


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