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Broadband: Hassall

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 71726, tabled on 9 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that OpenReach connect properties and businesses in the Hassall Parish Council area that are yet to have fibre connections installed.

Answered on

23 July 2020

The Connecting Cheshire programme, which covers Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington Borough Councils, have launched a new procurement
exercise at the end of June, under the BDUK Superfast Programme banner. The available funding through this procurement is £4.5m targeting the remaining premises within the area that are currently without a superfast broadband connection. Until the procurement activity is concluded in the Autumn it isn't possible to confirm which supplier could be awarded a contract or which premises will benefit from this activity.

Hassall Parish Council and other rural areas can benefit from the Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme. The Government wants to ensure nationwide coverage of gigabit capable broadband as soon as possible. Many addresses in the Hassall Parish Council may be eligible for the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme, which is delivered by many suppliers in the area, including Openreach.

The Government has also announced that it will invest a further £5 billion to provide gigabit-capable networks in the hardest to parts of the UK. This funding will focus on connecting more rural and remote areas but, alongside this, the Government is also taking action to reduce the barriers to deployment, and make it cheaper and easier for operators, including BT Openreach, to roll out broadband commercially.

Finally, some addresses may be eligible to request an improved connection under the Universal Service Obligation. BT is the designated Universal Service Provider for all areas
the UK, apart from Hull. The USO provides every UK household with the legal right to request a broadband connection that provides download speeds of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps, where this is not already available or is not due to be made available within a year through a publicly funded intervention.

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