Skip to main content

Broadband: Small Businesses

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL13688, tabled on 24 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that full-fibre broadband is accessible for all small businesses.

Answered on

9 March 2021

In areas not covered by commercial delivery, support to provide full-fibre broadband to premises is currently being provided through schemes including the Superfast Broadband programme, Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) and Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) schemes. LFFN is a challenge funded scheme designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks across the UK. This programme will be ending in December 2021. RGC will be ending in March 2021, after which any new projects can be developed as part of the public sector hubs element of the new UK Gigabit programme.

The Government’s ambition for digital infrastructure presents opportunities for growth and security in the UK economy. The National Infrastructure Strategy outlines how the Government is working with industry to target a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage by 2025 and to go as far as possible beyond this as part of our £5 billion UK Gigabit programme. The 2020 Spending Review set out the timeline for how the first tranche of the £5 billion we have promised will be made available to industry.

Furthermore, as announced on 8 August 2020, to develop an evidence-based strategy to encourage take up of gigabit broadband services by consumers and small businesses, the government asked Which?, CBI and the FSB to convene a Gigabit Take-up Advisory Group. The group has been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to develop its evidence and solutions. An interim report with the group’s initial findings was published in December 2020, and is expected to publish a final report by Spring 2021 with its recommendations.