Government pledges £400m for Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund

Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to announce £400m of funding for a new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund.

The money will be aimed at fibre broadband providers who are looking to expand.

Hammond is also due to commit £740 million to the development of 5G and the further rollout of fibre connections. However, there is no launch date for the 5G service yet.

As part of the announcement, the chancellor will say the UK must move towards providing ‘fibre-to-the-property’ broadband, rather than fibre to the roadside cabinet.

Currently only two per cent of the UK has access to this ‘full-fibre’ connection, offering download speeds of up to one gigabit per second, according to government figures,

That is 35 times faster than the 28.9Mbps average UK speed internet connection according to Ofcom.

Full-fibre provision is already offered by some independent broadband providers such as Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and B4rn, but to thousands rather than millions of customers.

Fibre infrastructure provider CityFibre welcomed the announcement. Greg Mesch, its chief executive said: “Britain's industrial strategy needs a digital backbone, and it is essential that we move quickly to plug the UK's 'fibre gap' and empower our service-based economy.”

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