To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the economic merits of full-fibre broadband roll out in the context of the findings of the CEBR report, Ultra Fast Full Fibre Broadband: A Platform for Growth, published April 2021.
The Government notes the CEBR report, commissioned by Openreach, which predicts a huge productivity boost from nationwide gigabit connectivity, suggesting a £59 billion boost to the UK’s Gross Value Added (GVA) by 2025.
Increased productivity is one of reasons why the Government remains committed to delivering national gigabit connectivity as soon as possible. Today, over two in five premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the Government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage, working with industry to reach as close to 100% as possible.
On the report’s suggestion that 270,000 people could move from urban to more rural areas as a result of changing attitudes towards home working, the Government recognises the importance of strong digital connectivity in rural areas. That is why we are investing £5bn to ensure those living in hard-to-reach areas get the gigabit connectivity they deserve. This is consistent with the Government's wider ambition to level-up the UK.