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Broadband: Voucher Schemes

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 57254, tabled on 15 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how her Department defines a rural area when determining the eligibility of premises for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Answered on

22 October 2021

Project Gigabit, and therefore the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, is designed to be responsive to the market so that we focus taxpayers' money on places that are too expensive to build on a commercial basis.

The voucher scheme is designed to target government subsidy towards those living and working in the hard to reach, commercially unavailable areas of the country and we are reliant upon independent sources of reference. In terms of the rural classification, this is defined using agreed standard measures according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) or equivalent.

For premises in England and Wales, rural is defined as those premises with the classifications D1-F2 inclusive as defined within the Office for National Statistics publication "The 2011 Rural-Urban Classification For Small Area Geographies”.

Ruralility for premises in Northern Ireland are based on classifications E-H inclusive as defined by the “Review of the Statistical Classification and Delineation of Settlements”, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

For premises in Scotland, rurality is determined by classifications 3-8 inclusive, as defined within Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2013-2014.