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To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to expand the availability of gigabit-capable broadband throughout (a) Staffordshire and (b) Stoke-on-Trent.
The Government is committed to delivering nationwide gigabit capable connectivity as soon as possible. Much progress has already been made, with full fibre coverage doubling in the past year to reach 10% of UK premises, according to the latest Ofcom figures.
This Government will continue to take action to remove barriers to network rollout and to ensure that those in the hardest to reach areas are not left behind. We have introduced legislation to make it easier for operators to deploy broadband in blocks of flats, will be legislating to mandate gigabit connectivity in new builds and will invest £5 billion of funding to support gigabit rollout in hard to reach areas.
Specifically in Staffordshire, the Government has already invested £9.6 million into better broadband. Superfast coverage is 98.9% across the area, compared to the UK average of 96%. The Government has also provided £9.2 million to the City of Stoke-on-Trent for a Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) Wave 3 project. In partnership with VXFIBER, this project will develop a publicly owned and operated, open access and gigabit-capable, 60 mile long network with citywide coverage by spring 2021.