Digital Infrastructure Fund
BtL are pleased to confirm the Treasury’s intention to provide £1bn to support the roll-out of pure fibre and 5G infrastructure as outlined in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement 2016.
It includes £400m dedicated to a digital infrastructure investment fund (DIF) which aims to increase commercial financing for emerging fibre broadband providers that are looking to scale to meet growing demand.
The Autumn statement has been welcomed by the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, who has signalled his belief that gigabit speeds and pure fibre optic connectivity are the future.
While the DIF will constitute around £400m, it is expected that the private sector will more than match this. It’s hoped that the total public and private investment could reach up to £1.5bn over the lifetime of the scheme which will run until 2021.
Currently, only 2% of the UK has access to what’s been referred to as gold standard full-fibre broadband. This is roughly 35 times faster than the 28.9Mbps average UK speed internet connection according to OFCOM.
So far, most of the public money invested in broadband infrastructure has gone to BT, whose strategy has been to roll out fibre to the roadside cabinet, not to the home.