£200 million to kickstart national full fibre broadband

Digital Minister Jeremy Wright has announced that £200 million will be allocated to fund full fibre broadband connections in hard to reach areas across the UK.

The planned roll-out will begin with all primary schools who would otherwise never have had access to high-quality broadband, before 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.

The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) outlined plans earlier this year to ensure that the country’s broadband infrastructure is fit for the future, with the Chancellor establishing ambitious targets for nationwide full fibre coverage by 2033.

With poor connections having a disproportionate impact on residents and communities, the government plans to ensure delivery of gigabit-capable connections to all new build homes, reversing the trend of new build homes being associated with poor connections. 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.

Wright said: “Through our modern Industrial Strategy it’s our ambition to have a full fibre Britain that is fit for the future. By changing our approach and investing in the hardest to reach places first, we will ensure that the whole country can reap the benefits of full fibre broadband.”

Minister for Digital Margot James also said: “Too many new build homes are built with slow, or no, connections. This needs to change. Making full fibre mandatory for new builds will help us meet our ambitious broadband goals, connect people and places and strengthen our digital society.”

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