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Broadband: Urban Areas

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL4653, tabled on 18 May 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to mandate the rollout by Openreach of fibre-to-the-premises broadband to urban areas; and what is their timeframe for this rollout.

Answered on

2 June 2020

The Government's ambition is for nationwide coverage of gigabit capable broadband as soon as possible. Gigabit capable broadband can be delivered by fibre to the premise broadband, as well as other technologies, such as upgraded cable networks.

We believe the best way to deliver nationwide coverage is to promote network competition and commercial investment by BT Openreach and other operators wherever possible, and to intervene with public subsidy where necessary. To deliver this, we are taking action to reduce barriers to commercial deployment including, for example, through the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold) Property Bill, which will make it easier to connect tenanted properties with an unresponsive landlord. At Budget, we also committed to invest £5 billion to deliver gigabit capable deployment to the hardest to reach areas of the country.

The Government does not have formal powers to mandate the rollout of gigabit capable broadband by a private sector company like BT. However, BT recently announced their ambition to deliver gigabit connectivity to 20 million premises during the 2020s.