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Gigaclear has called for a national plan that "acknowledges and prioritises" the need to roll out full-fibre across all of the UK.

According to Matthew Hare, Chief Executive of the provider, this is the "only way to secure world-class connectivity" and future-proof Britain's digital economy.

The government has already announced a five-year 100 per cent business rates holiday for broadband providers that invest in a full-fibre network, as well as a £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund.

Speaking to ISPreview.co.uk, Mr Hare said ministers' renewed interest in encouraging infrastructure investment is "certainly welcome".

Furthermore, he stated that it provides an opportunity to consider a "longer-term solution to the rates issue".

However, Mr Hare argued that in order to realise Gigaclear’s vision of every property having at least one fibre network, further cross-subsidy will be required if universal pricing is to be maintained.

Openreach is currently exploring an alternative to full-fibre, as it plans to roll out its G.fast technology to ten million premises by 2020.

Commenting on this project, Mr Hare acknowledged that G.fast would give many properties a speed boost that exceeds the performance of existing copper connections.

However, he said he agrees with the government's view that the "longer-term future is full-fibre".

"So however useful this is in the short-term, G.fast must only be an interim step," he commented.

Openreach is in the middle of consulting with communications providers to identify the level of demand for a major full-fibre deployment, as it believes a large-scale rollout can only take place if there is greater industry and political collaboration.

Mr Hare insisted that he does not see a large-scale deployment by Openreach as a competitive threat to Gigaclear's own rollout.

Indeed, he said that since Britain has around 30 million homes and businesses, there are "more than enough properties to support a competitive fibre market". 

"In urban areas, we expect that in time, these properties will have a choice of three full-fibre networks," Mr Hare commented.

However, he said the economics of delivering full-fibre in England’s most rural areas "makes it very challenging for more than one operator to sustainably invest in the same community".

Mr Hare went on to state that Gigaclear's ambition is to be the leading UK infrastructure operator in rural England by 2027.

He said that by this point, it expects more than eight in ten UK properties to have access to fibre-to-the-premises, while it hopes a copper switch-off will be "well underway" across the country.

"Finally, we expect that the default service for residential customers will be 10Gbps and for businesses it will be as much as 100Gbps," Mr Hare added.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock recently stated that the government wants to create "an attractive environment for private sector providers to increase their rollout of fibre connectivity".

He also stressed that ministers are keen to make sure these measures are as effective as possible, which is why a consultation on the detail of the regulations is being carried out.

Source: ISPreview.co.uk

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