The old and long-discredited estimate that full fibre would cost the UK £28bn has finally been reduced to between 3 to 6 £bn.
The comparison is not entirely fair (it doesn’t tackle the entire job) but this new lower estimate is now paraded as a ‘massive’ cost that will, eventually, fall on consumers.
The new estimate does not however reflect the more-than-massive savings in operational costs that are enabled by fully-fibred networks that will work in all weathers and can be future-proofed to cope with massive traffic growth – in both directions.
Nor does the new lower estimate reflect a wide range of benefits elsewhere from vastly better connectivity – from recycled copper to unconstrained creativity, lower public sector cost burdens and the scope for future 5G mobility.
There is, of course, a good chance that the network investment will be contrived to limit those wider potential benefits – but from a UK plc viewpoint, Full Fibre always was, and now more certainly is, a bargain that should not be left to chance. The passive infrastructure (holes and poles) must now surely be opened up to more-efficient network providers – even if (see previous blog) the law as currently writ says otherwise.
The choice is stark: accelerate the UK’s digital catch-up imperatives or adjust expectations to a dismal and declining digital future.