Broadband: Voucher Schemes

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 12th June 2020.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the gigabit broadband voucher scheme in each region of the UK.

Photo of Matt Warman Matt Warman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

To date the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (the Scheme) has connected 25,394 homes and small businesses with a further 18,324 already in the pipeline. Vouchers have been issued to premises across each nation and region of the United Kingdom using funding from the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme and the Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme. Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), who administer the Scheme, work with local bodies and devolved administrations in the UK to ensure that every region has oversight of the Scheme in their area.

On 14 May 2020 we announced that we would no longer accept any new voucher requests associated with the LFFN funded part of the Scheme because the £68.5m of available budget had been fully committed - 10 months sooner than expected - such has been the huge popularity of the scheme. Suppliers have 12 months to complete a connection from the point at which a voucher is issued therefore the final connection is not expected until May 2021. A full benefits and evaluation analysis will be completed after the final connection has been made.

In this financial year, £71m of funding remains available for the RGC funded part of the scheme. We expect to continue to be able to accept requests and issue vouchers for eligible rural premises until 31 March 2021 with connections being made up until March 2022. Similarly, a full benefits and evaluation analysis will be completed after the final connection has been made.

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