Clive Selley also called for an easier process for street works and access to multi-dwelling units during fireside chat at Connected Britain 2019

The Government’s “bizarre” tax on fibre is one of the barriers currently halting the pace of full-fibre roll-out in the UK, according to Openreach CEO Clive Selley.

Speaking on Day 2 of Connected Britain, Selley slammed the cumulo tax during a fireside chat with Paolo Pescatore, TMT Analyst at PP Foresight.

In a debate which covered a range of topics from full-fibre roll-out targets and 5G to overbuilding and Brexit, Selley also highlighted the need for improved regulation, particularly in regard to street works and access to buildings.

“[…] I would ask though that the Government leans in and delivers a bunch of barrier-breaking initiatives, perhaps through legislation,” he said. “For example, making it easier to get the right to do street works, to put out traffic management facilities in the UK. I would like easier access to multi-dwelling units and I would love the Government to do away with the cumulo tax on fibre infrastructure. I find it bizarre that, at a time when all of us are rallying to the cause of delivering full fibre to the UK, we are subject to a tax that explicitly penalises those that do this work at scale.”

When asked by Pescatore whether the right conditions would facilitate greater deployment of fibre, Selley agreed that they would.

“We all have to play a role in delivering ever-faster FTTP deployment rates,” he continued. “The Government has a bunch of things to do; I’ve just catalogued those for you. The regulator has made great strides to articulate future regulation that is investment friendly and I see huge movement there and I’m really encouraged by that. We all – regulator, Government, Openreach, the wider infrastructure build population – have our part to play in creating ever-quicker FTTP deployment rates for the country.”

In regard to the role Openreach has to play, Selley was quick to provide a positive report on the progress made so far. According to Selley, Openreach is “absolutely on target” to hit its aim of passing four million homes with FTTP by March 2021 and he is “fully confident” that the company has the capability to hit or exceed its target of passing 15 million homes by the mid-2020s.

Selley added: “We just need the Government and the regulator to do the things I have articulated and create the conditions for successful investment.”


Also in the news

Nokia: Britain’s single digit fibre penetration is simply not good enough

BoJo promises FTTH for all by 2025

What next for the UK’s fledgling FTTH networks?