The govenement has announced a £5bn investment in a plan to bring fibre broadband to more remote places in the UK.
The funding follows Prime Minister Johnson’s ambition to have “gigabit-capable” internet in every home by the end of 2025, eight years forward from Theresa May’s 2033 target of full fibre connection.
Unlike May’s target, ‘gigbit-capable’ connections would include 5G connectivity – the successor to 4G connection – which in the correct circumstances would remove the necessity for a cable to be installed.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid announced the funding plans at the Tory party conference yesterday as part of a large plan he called an ‘infrastructure revolution’.
“We have rolled out superfast broadband but we have fallen behind many European countries on the next generation of technology,” he said.
“And as we catch-up I don’t want any part of our country to fall behind others.
“So I can announce we are committing £5bn to support full-fibre rollout to the hardest to reach 20 per cent of the country.
“All of these measures will level up areas of our country that feel left out.”
MP Nicky Morgan said the £5bn announced is in addition to a £650m investment in fibre rollout in the three years to 2021, which is also prioritising rural areas.
The firms which will carry out the installation of this infracstructure – fibre or otherwise – and the areas to first receive the upgrades are yet to be announced.
Further details will be set out later this year in the National Infrastructure Strategy, said Mr Javid’s team.
Labour has criticsed the plans, which also included public transport commitments.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “This combination of re-announcements and damp squibs shows up the real difference between the parties: the Tories tinkering around the edges, versus Labour’s fundamental shift of power and wealth from the few – to the many.”