Broadband: Wigan

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology written question – answered at on 7 May 2024.

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Photo of Lisa Nandy Lisa Nandy Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will take steps to encourage broadband provider competition in Wigan.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

Having a competitive fixed telecoms market has been integral to the government’s strategy to deliver nationwide coverage of gigabit-capable broadband. Competition keeps prices low and standards high for consumers, whilst encouraging companies to build quickly. In the 2018 Future Telecoms Infrastructure review and our 2019 Statement of Strategic Priorities to Ofcom, we brought forward proposals to make it easier for new firms to enter the market, such as granting competitors access to Openreach’s national duct and poles network.

Ofcom is responsible for regulating competition in the broadband market. In 2021, Ofcom published its Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review (WFTMR), which set out its decisions for regulation of the fixed telecoms market until 2026. The WFTMR makes explicit mention of the Government’s desire to support market entry and expansion by alternative network operators and is fulfilling this by, for example, providing competitors with effective access to Openreach’s ducts and poles.

Thanks to these measures to incentivise competition, there are now over 80 companies investing over £40bn to connect premises all over the UK. Gigabit coverage in Wigan constituency is currently at 92% (Think Broadband), which is up from just 1% in December 2019.

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