Broadband: Voucher Schemes

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 1st November 2021.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of using some of the £5 billion allocated to Project Gigabit to create broadband vouchers that will enable network builders to upgrade the non-commercial parts of an exchange area at the same time as they are deploying full fibre to the commercial parts.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

The government is investing £5 billion through Project Gigabit so that communities which will not gain gigabit connectivity through commercial roll-out are not left behind. Commercial delivery is going further and faster following announcements by suppliers this year and will reach most UK homes and businesses while Project Gigabit is targeted at the remainder.

As part of Project Gigabit, the government is investing up to £210 million into the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS). The eligibility criteria for vouchers was changed in April 2021 when we moved from the previous scheme to the new Project Gigabit criteria which are focused on ensuring we only provide public subsidy in areas which are least likely to get commercial coverage. We will conduct a performance review every six months to monitor the performance and effectiveness of the vouchers scheme, including the eligibility criteria.

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