Telecommunications Infrastructure (Relief from Non-Domestic Rates) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:35 pm on 10th July 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport 5:35 pm, 10th July 2017

The universal service obligation is in law to ensure that everybody can access the service by 2020, but that is an end date, a deadline. As I said earlier, we have now reached 93% of premises. Crucially, that is 93% of premises having access to broadband—they still have to take it up. In fact, everybody who takes up the service in a subsidised area puts more money into the pot so that we can give more people access to superfast broadband.

Just 42% of the country had superfast broadband in 2010, when my right hon. Friend the Member for Wantage took up the reins of delivering it, but now 93% have access to it. We are on track to get to 95% at the end of the year, and then 100% of premises will have access to high-speed broadband by 2020. As my hon. Friend Rebecca Pow can see, we are rolling that out. Crucially, that is delivering today’s technology—it delivers the needs of an average household today—but we also need to make sure we are ahead of the curve on the next generation of technology.

The idea of the digital investment fund is that it supports the commercial finance of alternative developers so we get more players into the market, rather than just having BT and Virgin, the two big players. The Government’s investment will be at least matched on the same terms by private sector investments so we expect it to capitalise more private investment and bring more than £1 billion of investment overall into full-fibre broadband, getting the really high speeds that some people need and want now, but many, many more will need and want in the future as these demands increase.