Broadband: Rural Areas

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 30th November 2020.

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Photo of Fay Jones Fay Jones Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there is competition within the market for rural broadband.

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

In 2018, the Government published the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR), which set out the Government’s strategy to deliver nationwide gigabit capable broadband

as soon as possible, including in rural areas, by encouraging greater network competition and commercial investment.

The strategy focuses on:

  • Making the cost of deploying gigabit capable networks as low as possible by addressing barriers to deployment, which increase costs and cause delays.
  • Supporting market entry and expansion by alternative network operators through easy access to Openreach’s ducts and poles, complemented by access to other utility infrastructure.
  • Stable and long-term regulation that encourages competitive network investment.
  • Supporting the timely switchover to new gigabit capable broadband networks.

The Government has recognised that not all areas of the country, particularly those in the most rural and remote areas, are likely to benefit from network competition and receive

gigabit capable broadband through private investment alone, which is why we have committed to invest £5 billion in supporting deployment in these areas. The use of this funding will encourage a variety of rural broadband providers to deploy gigabit networks.

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