Govt connectivity strategy ‘to boost broadband and mobile services’

Govt connectivity strategy 'to boost broadband and mobile services'

The government has set out a new list of strategic priorities for Ofcom for the coming years that will see the communications regulator focus its attention on improving mobile coverage and boosting investment into broadband.

Such measures will be "instrumental" in meeting the government's commitments to reaching 95 per cent mobile coverage by 2022, and having nationwide full fibre availability by 2033.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said that consumers now rely more than ever on both fixed and mobile connectivity, but concerns surrounding mobile coverage and the  availability of high-speed, reliable broadband, have led to lower customer satisfaction than in other sectors.

Therefore, Ofcom will be tasked to address this by supporting the rollout of faster, more reliable solutions across the UK, as well as cracking down on any unfair business practices.

Among the strategic priorities set out by the government will be Ofcom's planned auction of the 700MHz mobile spectrum, which will aim to materially improve mobile coverage across the UK, particularly in rural areas and on major transport routes.

The regulator will also be asked to examine the costs and benefits of options to introduce mobile roaming in rural areas in a bid to improve choice and tackle partial not-spots, as well as ensuring regulation is able to support investment in reliable, gigabit-capable broadband networks across the country. 

DCMS Secretary of State Jeremy Wright said: "As the UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom has a critical role in realising our shared connectivity aspirations for the UK. As well as ensuring the necessary improvements to broadband and mobile services, consumers must also be protected."

The government has laid out "clear, ambitious targets" for the future of connectivity in the UK. This includes making gigabit-capable networks available to 15 million premises by 2025, addressing mobile 'not-spots' and improving connectivity on the UK’s main roads and railways, and becoming a world leader in the next generation of 5G mobile technology, with deployment to the majority of the country by 2027.