I have received an update from the Minister on what the Government has done to improve access to superfast broadband.
● Superfast broadband is now available to more than 94 per cent of UK homes and businesses, up from 45 per cent in 2010.
● Since 2013, more than 4.5 million homes and businesses have superfast broadband available for the first time thanks to the Government’s Superfast Broadband Programme.
● We are reaching thousands more properties every single week and on track to reach 95 per cent of the UK by the end of the year.
● We have announced that up to £645 million is to be made available to help take superfast broadband coverage to 98 per cent of the nation over the next few years. Together with other planned delivery, it is estimated that this could see more than 900,000 extra UK homes and businesses gain access to superfast speeds at the end of this year alone
● Up to £56 million of this funding will help take superfast speeds further across Wales. This will build on the 650,000 Welsh homes and businesses that our rollout has already reached.
● And up to £78 million of this funding will help take superfast speeds further across Scotland. This will build on the 800,000 Scottish homes and businesses that our rollout has already reached.
● We have pledged to ensure that 100 per cent of the UK will have access to affordable, fast and reliable broadband by 2020. The success of the Government’s superfast broadband rollout programme will help us reach the final 5 per cent.
● We are investing £1.1bn in digital infrastructure to support the next generation of fast and reliable mobile and broadband communications for consumers and businesses. The National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) will invest the money by 2020-21, with a focus on priority areas that are critical for improving productivity: economic infrastructure, housing and R&D.
● We are investing £200 million to fund a programme of local projects to test ways to accelerate market delivery of new full-fibre networks. The first stage of a £200 million Local Full Fibre Network scheme to help bring the UK’s fastest and most reliable Gigabit connectivity to businesses, communities and public buildings was launched on 3 September.
● We have announced a £25 million ‘5G Testbeds and Trials’ competition to select projects for funding in 2018-19 to support the next generation of digital infrastructure. Part of the £740 million National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF), it will help to ensure the UK’s position as one of the world’s leading countries in the development of 5G technology by attracting inward investment to the UK, creating new opportunities for businesses and improving productivity.
● We are introducing 100% business rates relief for operators who install new fibre on their networks. The move will incentivise operators to invest in the broadband network, increasing speeds for both businesses and homes.
● And we have provided immediate assistance for those people living in the hardest to reach places with the slowest internet speeds. More than 10,000 rural homes and businesses have already used our Better Broadband Subsidy scheme to get a huge boost to their broadband speed.