Broadband: Cricklewood

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 12th September 2017.

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Photo of Dawn Butler Dawn Butler Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment of the effect of limited (Exchange Only) internet speeds on businesses operating in the Cricklewood Broadway area.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

No specific assessment has been made of the effect of Exchange Only (EO) lines on businesses operating in the Cricklewood Broadway area.

Upgrading EO lines is more complicated (and more expensive) as there are greater engineering challenges. For instance, because EO lines do not have the copper lines routed through a copper cabinet, there is no aggregation point to which a fibre cabinet can be connected. For these reasons it can take longer for EO lines to be upgraded. Openreach have confirmed this, and have advised that they currently fall outside any commercial rollout. However, they have said there is potential for EO lines to be brought into scope for upgrading through their Community Fibre Partnerships.

For those that do not see improved connectivity through publicly funded and commercial investment, we will ensure universal broadband coverage of at least 10Mbps, so that no home or business is left behind

We are keen to ensure even better digital connectivity in the UK. We announced a package of measures worth £1.1 billion at Autumn Statement 2016 to support this:

  • The Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, which was launched on 3 July 2017 will provide finance for new fibre investments.
  • The Local Full Fibre Networks programme, which will support local bodies in stimulating the market for fibre connectivity in their areas.
  • A Bill to enable business rates relief for new fibre build.

Together, these investments and incentives will stimulate the market to deliver the increase in capacity that is needed.

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