Broadband: Worcestershire

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid Conservative, Bromsgrove

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the roll-out of superfast broadband to rural communities in (a) Worcestershire and (b) Bromsgrove District.

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

Good progress has been made in Worcestershire, with over 96% of premises able to access superfast broadband - up from 25% in November 2010. In Bromsgrove District, over 96% of premises have access to superfast broadband, up from 24% in October 2010. Gigabit-capable coverage in the District stands at 49% which is almost double the UK figure of 26%.

For those premises that are still struggling from slow speeds, DCMS runs a voucher scheme that can be used by rural communities across the UK to reduce the cost of installing gigabit-capable connectivity. This provides a voucher worth up to £3,500 for eligible small businesses and vouchers worth up to £1,500 for residents. The department is also in discussion with Worcestershire County Council about a ‘top-up’ scheme which could potentially increase these voucher values.

Furthermore the government has pledged £5 billion to invest in the hardest to reach areas of the UK. Supplier engagement has taken place over the summer, and their feedback will be used to refine and finalise the delivery vehicle of the programme.

Bromsgrove was included in recent Openreach announcements of towns that they have included in the first wave of their national fibre rollout programme which they call “Fibre First”. The full list, including Bromsgrove, is here: https://www.openreach.com/content/dam/openreach/openreach-dam-files/images/fibre-broadband/fibre-first/DCMS%20Transparency%20Data%20Capture%2029%20Jul%202020.pdf

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