£200 million to kickstart full fibre broadband across UK
This will also allow us to test new approaches to fibre rollout in rural areas, benefiting tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the UK with the Borderlands, Cornwall, and Welsh valleys amongst the first areas to be targeted.
Earlier this year the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) outlined plans to ensure that the country’s broadband infrastructure is fit for the future. This was backed up by the Chancellor who set ambitious targets for nationwide full fibre coverage by 2033.
The plans will see mostly competitive commercial investment made across the UK however the FTIR identified that around 10% of the country would need additional funding, from whatever source, of around £3 billion.
To ensure that the hardest to reach areas are not left behind an ‘outside-in’ approach will be needed to connect these areas at the same pace as the rest of the country.
The Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme is the first step in this process, with funding coming from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF).
The £200 million will trial models for local hubs in rural areas, starting with primary schools, alongside a voucher scheme for funding full fibre connectivity to nearby premises, providing full fibre connectivity to homes and businesses.
Government has also kick started the process of making the provision of full fibre broadband compulsory for all new builds. New build developments are a clear case in which opportunities for boosting full fibre broadband coverage are not being seized. Whilst there are examples of the most proactive developers and network providers delivering good connectivity, sites with no, or slow, connections are inexcusable. ■