Broadband: Rural Areas

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 23rd March 2021.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Conservative, Tatton

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the practicability of rolling out fibre broadband in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

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

The government remains committed to delivering nationwide gigabit connectivity as soon as possible and is investing £5bn to deliver gigabit-capable broadband in the hardest to reach parts of the UK.

To achieve this, the government has published the first phase of its gigabit procurements, as part of Project Gigabit. These initial procurements will deliver gigabit capable networks to an estimated one million homes and businesses in areas that are harder to reach.

In addition, the government has implemented a number of other measures to help people in rural and hard to reach areas upgrade their broadband connection including Gigabit Broadband Vouchers and the broadband Universal Service Obligation.

For the most remote premises, the government has also published a call for evidence to explore all possible options for improving broadband connectivity. The evidence provided will allow us to develop our understanding of these areas and seek more information on demand, benefits, barriers and future technology approaches.

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