Broadband: Rural Areas

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 7th March 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress his Department has made on its plans for an outside-in strategy to build full-fibre networks in rural areas.

Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what funding his Department has allocated to subsidise full-fibre networks in rural areas.

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

Work has already started to build full fibre networks in rural areas, with up to £700 million allocated by Government for rollout up until the end of 2021.

The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review identified that around 10% of premises would not get full fibre commercially by 2033, largely in rural and remote areas. To reach the Government’s targets for nationwide full fibre coverage by 2033, these areas will require additional funding of around £3 billion to support investment, ensuring delivery in the final 10% occurs alongside commercial rollout.

Funding already committed to these areas includes around £200 million from the BDUK Superfast programme, which is building on the 96% superfast coverage in the UK, and now rolling out full fibre connections.

The Local Full Fibre Networks programme (LFFN) is designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks in both rural and urban locations across the whole of the UK. LFFN will have invested almost £300 million across the UK by the end of the programme in 2021.

At Budget 2018, a further £200 million was allocated from the National Productivity Investment Fund, for the 2 year Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme starting in April 2019.

Longer-term options for funding rural connectivity under the Outside-In approach will be determined as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.

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