The front-runner to become the leader of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, has made a pledge to provide “full-fibre” internet to all parts of the UK by 2025 if he is chosen to become Prime Minister.
Johnson wrote in The Telegraph that it was disgraceful that superfast broadband was not available in rural communities, and he categorised the government’s goal of providing coverage to the entire country by 2033 as “laughably unambitious”.
Johnson, who had previously been the UK’s Foreign Secretary, did not provide any substantive details about funding sources he would use to meet his target or how he planned to meet it faster than the government’s current goal.
“This will cost some public money, but the productivity gains are immense,” he said. “We will have to step up very substantially the rate at which we install full fibre – currently running at about 20,000 premises per week. But this is not only a huge economic opportunity – it is part of our moral mission to unite Brexit Britain.”
He added that he would give priority to providing access to the country’s rural areas, which are currently lagging behind urban areas in terms of superfast broadband.
Currently, more than 95% of residences and businesses in the UK can access superfast broadband if they desire. However, an estimated 600,000 residences and businesses either don’t currently have access or are not included in planned rollouts of superfast broadband. MPs who represent rural areas have frequently said that improved broadband connectivity would improve the quality of life for their constituents.