To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government target of at least 85 per cent nationwide coverage of gigabit capable broadband by 2025, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of Openreach’s proposed discounts on its competitors’ ability to attract investment, particularly those building in high cost rural areas.
Ofcom, as the independent regulator for telecoms, is responsible for regulating pricing in the telecoms market for operators that it has determined have significant market power. Ofcom is currently consulting on Openreach’s proposed FTTP offer and whether it raises competition concerns, this consultation closes on 6 September 2021.
As referenced, the Government is targeting a minimum of 85% UK gigabit-capable coverage across the UK. It is the Government's view that the best way to achieve this target is to create a competition-friendly environment in areas where deployment is commercially viable while focussing government funds on the 20% of the country where commercial deployment is unlikely. As a result of this approach, there is now a thriving market of over 80 providers rolling out gigabit broadband all over the UK.
Our plan, to stimulate investment, bust barriers and drive competition, is working and we are on track for one of the fastest rollouts in Europe and for 60% of all households to have access to gigabit speeds by the end of the year. It is a huge leap forward from 2019, when it was just one in ten.