The UK government has announced that a milestone has been met with regards to the gigabit broadband rollout that it has invested money in. It said that government investment alone has made nearly 500,000 premises gigabit-ready. The work to get more premises gigabit-ready has been on-going since the summer of 2018. The government will have invested £1 billion through the end of 2021 and a further £5 billion is expected to be spent to help connect hard-to-reach areas.
The government’s funding has been accompanied by commercial investment, in total, more than 7.5 million premises can now access gigabit broadband compared to just 1.4 million premises two years ago. With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the trend to work at home, faster internet connections will become more necessary and this investment better prepares the country for that transition.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman, as part of the announcement, called on people and businesses to take advantage of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which is available until March. They can be used to subsidize the cost of gigabit broadband infrastructure to homes and businesses. This scheme is targeted at those in rural areas with poor internet connections that aren’t likely to be connected through the commercial rollout of gigabit networks soon.
Commenting, Warman said:
“It’s fantastic to see so many people getting access to gigabit speed broadband. This is thanks to our investment alongside the sterling work of industry.
“Today I urge people in rural communities in the digital slow lane to apply for the immediate financial help available so they can seize the benefits of better connectivity - from making work easier to catching up with family and friends.”
The broadband speeds available at the moment in most areas of the country are satisfactory for existing technologies, but over the next decade with an increase in VR, AR, and game streaming the demand for faster internet will grow. Getting gigabit infrastructure in position now will make the country ready for these emerging technologies.