Yesterday afternoon the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, delivered the Budget. In total, the Government has stated that around £640bn of gross capital investment will be provided for ‘roads, railways, communications, schools, hospitals and power networks across the UK by 2024-25. The Government will publish a National Infrastructure Strategy later in the spring, and the Comprehensive Spending Review will provide full departmental spending plans.
Of particular interest to ISPA will be the following announcements:
• £5bn of funding towards the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband in the hardest to reach 20% of the country.
• £510m of funding for the Shared Rural Network agreement to improve 4G mobile coverage to 95% of the UK’s landmass by 2025.
• Review of existing domestic or EU derived regulations that might “hinder digital competition and entrench monopoly behaviours” ensuring reforms in the digital and tech sectors are forward-looking.
Chair of the Internet Services Providers’ Association Andrew Glover commented: "The £5bn promised for gigabit capable broadband within the Chancellor's Budget was a welcome first step, but increased funding alone will not allow the industry to get the job done.
Broadband rollout is largely privately funded and in order to provide industry with a chance to meet the Government’s 2025 ambition, today’s announcements needs to be backed up with further reform on wayleaves, new build legislation, action on street works and further investment into digital and engineering skills.
The broadband industry is ready to get the job done, but needs the full support from Government to do so."