Government Help to Accelerate Broadband

Posted on February 27, 2017

Full Fibre and 5G

The last four months have seen great strides in the quest to bring real 21st century broadband to all businesses and residents across the UK.

Following the announcement last October by the Minister for Digital and Culture Policy, Matt Hancock, of the new UK Strategy for a “Full Fibre and 5G” Britain by 2025, several initiatives have been triggered to significantly drive this forward.

In his Autumn's Budget Statement in November, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced nearly £2bn of financing related to this strategy; to help bring 1Gbps broadband to over 2 million premises:

  • A commitment to £400m of funds from HM Treasury as ‘cornerstone funding’ for a new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund to be used by alternative network providers. This will be handled by two fund managers appointed by Treasury, who will also bring private investments of at least the same amount, bringing the anticipated funds available through the DIIF to over £1bn. We expect the fund to be operational by the end of March and will update you further through the year on how ITS have accessed this to deliver our customers advanced broadband services.
  • The creation of a £740m fund to develop 5G solutions and trial them in a series of pilot schemes around the country. ITS is perfectly positioned to support this initiative; we have always provided hybrid (fixed and wireless) solutions and remain one of the UK’s largest operators of Fixed Wireless Broadband (FWA) networks. Most of our larger urban networks are also ideal for 5G trials, especially Bristol and Nottingham who are both recognised pioneers of the ‘Smart Cities’ agenda.

Then in late December, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has said that £440m will be allocated to connect properties in the hardest-to-reach places. The government has taken this committed step towards providing the funding to ensure better infrastructure is put in the ground. She said the scheme should assist in bringing a further 600,000 premises on-line.

Some of the funding has been made available via a claw back from previous public investments. The new scheme will require people to sign up and will aim to push the coverage of 24Mbps+ broadband from 91% to 95% by the end of 2017.

In the meantime, ITS has been at the forefront of using the Government’s Better Broadband Scheme to deliver enhanced broadband to the worst served premises for the last five months; January and February has seen us submit three new packages to this scheme to enable us to deliver hard-to reach premises in our efforts to help push UK coverage beyond 95%.

If you would like to know how ITS can help you with bringing full fibre and 5G capability to your city, ultrafast or superfast broadband speeds in your poorly served rural area, please get in touch.

Call 01928 291 000 or email for more information.

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