To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking increase the availability of full fibre broadband in Stoke-on-Trent.
Good progress has been made in the Stoke-on-Trent North constituency, with over 99% of premises in the constituency able to access superfast broadband. This is up from 73% in March 2013. Gigabit-capable coverage in the constituency stands at 8%.
There is an active Local Full Fibre Network Project (LFFN) taking place in Stoke-on-Trent with around 110km of new fibre network being built with the aim of creating 100% city wide full fibre connectivity. DCMS have invested over £9 million into this project with a supplier also contributing. There is a video which gives an overview of this Government funded project in Stoke here: https://vimeo.com/368247591
On top of that, 25 premises took advantage of our recently closed Gigabit Voucher Scheme in the area.
For those premises that are still struggling with slow speeds, there are a number of options available to them. DCMS runs another 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. However, Staffordshire County Council have recently committed to “top up” these voucher values investing £1m of funding in addition to eligible funding from the Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme. This means that in rural areas of Staffordshire, residents can get a voucher of up to £3,500 and small businesses a voucher of up to £5,500.