In last month’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond said that more than £1 billion will be invested into boosting broadband speeds for millions of homes and businesses.
The announcement follows criticism of the high-speed broadband rollout. In his pledge, Mr Hammond said that two million more homes will receive access to full-fibre broadband, which can provide speeds higher than 1Gbps. To put this into context, a connection of that speed would allow a household to download an entire TV boxset in less than a minute.
Currently, full-fibre broadband is only available to around two per cent of homes and businesses. It is hoped that this new push by the government will encourage providers to speed up the rollout of super-fast broadband, especially in rural areas, where fast broadband is virtually non-existent.
Of the £1 billion fund, £740 million will go towards a scheme which will enable local authorities to bid on fibre connection and 5G internet trials. Another £400 million will be put into a new Digital Investment Fund, the goal of which is to persuade emerging broadband providers to provide the fastest internet connection they can to businesses and consumers.
On top of the £1 billion investment, the government is planning to pass legislation that will give every person in the UK access to an internet connection of at least 10Mbps. If the ruling, known as the Universal Service Obligation, is passed, BT will provide these connections.
Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk, said the company has “long been convinced” that full-fibre connectivity is “vital for the UK’s digital future”.
“We’re delighted that the government is support this cutting-edge infrastructure, and encouraging competition between alternative providers to ensure that people up and down the country can enjoy full-fibre broadband as quickly as possible,” she stated.