Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at uSwitch.com, comments: “Ofcom is being strongly pushed by the Government and European Code rules to provide companies with the incentives they say they need to lay more full-fibre broadband cables.
“On the face of it, this is good news for consumers, with many of us still suffering with sub-par broadband. However, where Ofcom is proposing to allow higher wholesale prices, these inevitably get passed on to consumers – so it is important that services consumers are actually receiving, improve markedly too, both in terms of speed and reliability.
“It’s encouraging to see that the regulator recognises the need to support and drive investment in rural areas. If speeds are only improving in the major cities that are already enjoying faster connectivity, it will only serve to worsen the country’s widening digital divide.
“Ultimately any pledge to supercharge investment in fibre broadband will only be effective if people are given genuine choice underpinned by functioning competition between providers.
“Taking consumers along on the journey to full-fibre is another significant challenge faced by the industry, as there is an awareness deficit that needs to be addressed while the rollout of new infrastructure is implemented. Currently, only 56% of broadband customers are aware that they can actually benefit from superfast speeds in their area – despite these services being available to 95% of UK premises.
“Only then will demand for full-fibre start to match supply and consumers will really feel the benefits of more reliable and faster services.”