Broadband: Rural Areas

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 9th March 2018.

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Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Conservative, Thornbury and Yate

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to increase access to full fibre-to-the-property broadband in rural areas.

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

We have taken a range of actions to support full fibre connectivity across the UK, including in rural areas.

In the Spring 2017 Budget, £200m of funding was allocated to the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme. This includes a £190m Challenge Fund designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks in both rural and urban locations across the UK and a market trial of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.

£400 million of public funding has also been made available for fibre connectivity through the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, that will unlock approximately £1 billion of private investment.

DEFRA has also allocated £30 million of grant funding from the Rural Development Programme for England, targeted at helping to connect businesses with broadband in hard to reach rural areas.

Beyond this, the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review will assess what further changes could be made to create the competitive conditions to encourage the long term investment needed to deliver the next generation of digital infrastructure in different areas of the UK, including hard-to-reach rural areas.

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