Today we have published the third Project Gigabit quarterly update and, thanks to the work of industry and our record £5 billion investment, we are making phenomenal progress delivering the biggest broadband rollout in UK history.
We are on track for 85% gigabit coverage by 2025 and we have now passed the connectivity milestone of more than 57 per cent of UK homes and businesses that can now access the fastest broadband speeds available.
In this Project Gigabit Autumn Update, we report on a significant further expansion in commercial plans, including more telecom providers focused on building in under-served rural areas. Greater commercial investment is positive for the UK and shows strong market confidence in customer demand for gigabit infrastructure.
This delivery plan update also reports on:
progress with and changes to Phase 1 roll-outs and Phase 2 procurements;
sequencing and dates of English Phase 3 rural projects, covering around 500,000 premises in Essex, Lincolnshire, Devon & Somerset, Herefordshire & Gloucestershire, Dorset, Cheshire, and North Yorkshire;
an update on how we are utilising Gigabit Voucher subsidy as part of our rollout plans;
information on the evaluation of the benefits of our Superfast Broadband programme; and
details of an additional £8 million to deliver full-fibre to 3,600 premises in Scotland, as part of the Scottish Government's R100 project, and c.£22.6m to connect rural and remote parts of Northern Ireland, and information on the Welsh Government’s Open Market Review and scheduled next steps.
Gigabit broadband will bring much faster and more reliable connectivity to rural and hard-to-reach communities. This will make them more attractive places for people to settle, raise families and start and grow businesses, improve education and healthcare services and increase accessibility.
This is how we level up and strengthen our Union - ensuring rural communities in every part of the UK have the same chances and opportunities as our urban towns and cities. That’s why this is at the top of the Government’s agenda, and as Secretary of State, I am fully committed to doing everything I can to make Project Gigabit a UK success story.
I will place a copy of the Project Gigabit Delivery Plan Autumn Update in the Libraries of both Houses.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords