Philip Hammond promises full fibre connections for 15m premises

Chancellor Philip Hammond has pledged to install "full-fibre" superfast broadband connections for the majority of the UK - including homes and businesses - by 2025.

Hammond made the announcement at the annual CBI dinner earlier in the week, saying the government will work closely with telecoms businesses to make it reality, promising that the roll-out will not stall, with just a million premises currently connected to full FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises).

"I will set a target to see full-fibre connections being available to 15 million premises - that's the majority of homes and businesses - by 2025," Hammond told attendees at the dinner. "This is ambitious and it will require industry to connect more than two million additional premises a year for the next seven years."

He promised that the roll out of the plans will not be taken lightly by the government, which will ensure market conditions are adjusted to allow for fast growth.

"We will use all the tools at the government's disposal to ensure all parts of the country can benefit from fibre technology and we'll go further, by committing to finishing the job and delivering a nationwide full-fibre to the premises network by 2033," he added.

For the scheme to succeed, it will need significant investment from both ISPs and the government. Added to the huge costs associated with hooking businesses up with full-fibre broadband is also the fact that many rural communities at present don't even have access to standard faster broadband services.

Hammond hasn't revealed how this will be done, despite saying that it will happen at some point before the 2025 deadline.

Nevertheless, it's a step in the right direction, according to the CBI, which has been campaigning for better broadband services across the UK for years.

"Firms have led the way on ideas to lift the UK's productivity and spread great technology through British firms of all sizes and now government is helping transform these ideas into action," Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI's director-general, added. "Partnerships like this will make the UK a winning global economy and help raise living standards across the country."

"The UK's digital infrastructure is the backbone of our future success, so businesses will warmly welcome the chancellor's commitment to widen full fibre broadband access, which will ensure the UK remains competitive as the pace of technologies change."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.