On Monday, the UK released the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, which outlined the country’s plans to become a world leader in digital connectivity.

Previously, the review noted, the UK was able to extend broadband coverage to 95% the country. It also saw progress in mobile coverage, with 87% of the landmass having coverage in 2018, up from 78% in 2017.

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Now, the UK government has outlined its plans for further improvement. According to a report from TechCrunch, the UK is looking to “futureproof” domestic networks by supporting nationwide full fiber broadband and 5G mobile technology.

While plans that are expected to increase competitiveness, the UK is still lagging behind its other European counterparts, the report noted.

The UK is planning a full switchover from copper to fiber broadband, which will likely provide nationwide coverage by 2033. Currently, however, the UK only has 4% full fiber connections. This compares dismally to competitors Spain (71%) and Portugal (89%), according to TechCrunch.

This investment in full fiber connectivity will include rural areas and new build developments, the report noted. Similarly, because the government is planning an industry-led switch from copper to full fiber, businesses wouldn’t be left with the expense of switching it themselves.

Because of this, the government expects that there will be a need for taxpayer funding to deliver the fiber/5G upgrade, the report noted. The nationwide availability of full fiber could likely require an additional £3 billion to £5 billion to support the service.

The review proposed the “innovative 5G series” to boost mobile connectivity throughout the country. 5G and full fiber, the review said, are “complementary technologies.” For 5G to succeed, there needs to be a dense fiber network, according to the review. Similarly, 5G may prove a more cost-effective connectivity to homes and businesses.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • On Monday, the UK released the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review that outlined the country’s plans for full fiber broadband connectivity nationwide.
  • This switch could be costly for the taxpayer, and take several more years to see.