[T]ens of thousands of businesses and homes across the UK are set to benefit from a £67 million investment in faster internet connections, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced today.
The Nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) will provide vouchers worth up to £3000 for a small or medium sized business or £500 to residents to help with the costs of connecting to full fibre broadband.
The scheme is part of a wider government plan to get more homes and businesses connected to full fibre broadband. It builds on the £200 million Local Full Fibre Networks programme which gives funding to local areas to boost full fibre delivery. £95 million of this funding was allocated at Spring Statement to 13 successful bidders across the UK.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “We’re backing Britain’s small businesses by investing £67 million to bring full-fibre broadband to more businesses up and down the country.
“This means faster, more reliable broadband access as we build the digital infrastructure we need to make our economy fit for the future.”
DCMS Secretary of State, Matt Hancock said: “Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and now they can turbo-charge their connectivity with gigabit speeds.
“By building a full fibre future for Britain we are laying the foundations for a digital infrastructure capable of delivering today what the next generation will need tomorrow.”
Full fibre connections are faster, more reliable and cheaper to operate than traditional copper lines, and are capable of supporting not only gigabit, but terabit and even petabit speeds, which will serve the UK far into the future. Currently only around 3% of UK premises have access to a full fibre connection.
The scheme forms part of the Government’s commitment to make full fibre broadband available to at least 10 million homes and businesses by 2022. Over the past 18 months, the government has taken significant steps to support the commercial roll out of full-fibre broadband.
Responding to today’s announcement, councillor James Airey the Conservative’s group leader on Cumbria County Council said: “This is welcome news for South Lakeland. Small and medium sized businesses are the beating heart of our local economy and this announcement means they can receive more help from the government to increase connectivity with gigabit speeds.”
Rory Stewart MP said: “I welcome this fantastic news, which will increase connectivity and improve the lives of people across Penrith & The Border. The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme demonstrates the Government’s commitment to getting more homes and businesses connected to full fibre broadband. This generous investment by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which will help prepare the ground for 5G rollout, will be fantastic for Cumbrian businesses, homes and communities. I would like to urge people to take advantage of these vouchers and I very much look forward to seeing the results.”