UK officials have pledged to meet a new goal to raise broadband speeds. By the year 2033, they promise to bring fiber broadband to every home in the UK. At the halfway point in 2025, fiber, which is faster than copper, will be available in 15 million households, the government claims.
Fiber connections are more consistent, faster, and more affordable than copper connections, but it’s also ineffective to have a hybrid mix of both fiber and copper. In order to attempt to accomplish this lofty goal, the government is ordering that new homes be built with fiber connections, and it’s also investing £3 billion to £5 billion to assist companies to bring fiber to rural parts.
These goals, if achieved, would help bring the UK up to speed, compared to the other European countries it trails behind. Only 4 percent of the UK currently uses fiber, according to the press release, while Portugal and Spain lead the charge at 89 and 71 percent, respectively. The percentage is even greater in certain Asian countries: South Korea is at 99 percent and Japan is at 97 percent. A recent government study found that without more investment on a policy level, fiber connections in the UK would only be available for 75 percent of the population at most, and it would take over 20 years to achieve this.
Still, the UK’s downward spiral toward being the developed country with the slowest internet speeds has gone on for a while, and the government has made similar promises before — and failed to keep them. Back in 2012, it pledged that the UK would have the fastest broadband in Europe by 2015, a promise that was clearly not fulfilled. This year in the global rankings, the UK came in 35th place for speeds, trailing behind the US and over a dozen other European countries.