Government to spend up to £5bn on broadband for rural Britain

By Sean Farrell

Date: Monday 23 Jul 2018

Government to spend up to £5bn on broadband for rural Britain

(Sharecast News) - The government has said it will spend up to £5bn to bring full-fibre broadband to all parts of Britain by 2033.

Publishing a long-term strategy for UK telecommunications, the government said new legislation would make full-fibre connections mandatory in newly-built homes. It will be easier for operators to gain access to premises to make upgrades and new rules will encourage investment and competition.

The government said commercially viable areas would be served by network competition but difficult-to-reach places would get state support.

Funding of £3-5bn will be needed to support investment in the most remote 10% of the country, the government said.

"There will be some parts of the country where it will be unlikely that that the market will be able to deliver alone," the government said. "These often-rural areas must not be forced to wait until the rest of the country has connectivity before they can access gigabit-capable networks."

The UK only has 4% full-fibre connections compared with 71% in Spain, 89% in Portugal and 28% in France, where coverage is increasing quickly. The government wants to connect 15m premises by 2025 and have full coverage by 2033.

Without further measures, full-fibre will at best only reach three-quarters of the country over more than 20 years. The government said it had identified about £200m in the existing superfast broadband programme that could be used immediately.

Shares of BT, which runs the UK's broadband network, rose 1.3% to 222.25p. Shares of Talk Talk, which aims to connect more than 3m homes to full-fibre, rose 1.25% to 113p.


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