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UK government sets less ambitious gigabit broadband goal

A photo of fields in the countryside

The UK’s Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced that the country’s original plan to bring gigabit broadband to every home in the country by 2025 has been scaled back so that the technology will be available in 85% of residences. While those in towns and cities around the country will likely be unaffected by the watering down of the plan, those out in more rural areas will be left with poorer internet connections.

According to the BBC, commercial deployments of gigabit fibre are expected to reach more than 70% of premises by the end of 2025 without help from the government. Under the initial plans, the government would have helped with the last 30% of connections but this has now been reduced to 15%.

Previously, the government cast doubt on whether it would ever have reached the 100% target because about 1% of very remote homes would have been really expensive to connect. Many of those living outside towns and cities typically have speeds under 30Mbps and over the next decade may begin to see the limitations of their network as they try to connect more Internet of Things devices such as smart home gadgets.

Interestingly, the government has not scaled back the budget for this work, keeping it at £5 billion. What has changed, though, is that the amount it will spend next year is much lower. Up to 2024, only £1.2 billion of the £5 billion will be spent with the rest of the money coming nearer the deadline.

Source: BBC News

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