Digital connectivity is a critical building block for the modern UK economy but only 5% of UK premises currently have access to a fibre to the premise (FTTP) connection (source: Ofcom, Connected Nations 2017 report).  Demand for speed and reliability in our digital networks is growing exponentially as the Internet extends into every sphere of economic and social activity, outstripping the capabilities of legacy networks.

While already a major contributor to growth and productivity, the potential scope of the digital sector is vast. The proliferating reliance on data communication everywhere means that the physical assets that make up digital networks will assume their full place alongside electricity, gas, water and transport networks as core economic infrastructure.  Investment to upgrade to the next generation of reliable, high-capacity digital infrastructure is vital to maintaining the UK’s competitiveness in the global economy.

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Amber sees full-fibre broadband, together with the fibre networks that underpin 5G and wireless connectivity, as one of the most promising sectors in the infrastructure and wider alternative asset class. Digital network infrastructure, which connects us to the Internet, and to each other, is increasingly recognised as core economic infrastructure, like electricity, gas and water. Once mature, long-life fibre network assets are expected to offer the same stable return characteristics as traditional utility networks.