Rural areas promised better internet as government pledges £5bn towards speedy broadband and £510m towards 4G coverage
- The Chancellor pledged £5bn towards speedy broadband in rural areas
- Government also announced £510m investment into 4G coverage
- It is hoped the changes will improve connectivity in the hardest to reach places
Households in rural areas of Britain have been promised better internet speeds as the Government pledged £5billion towards providing fast broadband to ‘the hardest to reach places’ in the Budget.
It said the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband will improve connectivity in the most difficult to reach 20 per cent of the country.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also announced that 95 per cent of the country will receive 4G coverage within the next five years thanks to a £510million investment into the shared rural mobile phone network.
The Government said that this level of funding will be ‘more than matched’ by the mobile industry who are supporting this scheme to improve mobile coverage.
New funding from the Government should mean that rural areas have better internet signal
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also intends to legislate to ensure that all new build homes will be built with gigabit-capable broadband.
Gigabit-capable broadband is typically delivers speeds of 1,000Mbps – a Gigabit – 40 times faster than standard superfast broadband.
Sunak said: ‘We are committed to levelling up across every region and nation in the UK and that is why we are making the largest ever public investment into broadband.
‘This investment delivers on our promises to the British people, boosting growth and prosperity across the country.’
Broadband and mobile investments were first announced in the Conservative manifesto in December.
Holly Niblett, head of digital at Compare the Market, said: ‘The Chancellor’s commitment to improve broadband connectivity in rural areas will be a welcome relief for homes which have been suffering with unacceptably poor speeds for years.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the funding to 4G and broadband in the Budget 2020
‘Ofcom figures show that there are currently 155,000 UK properties without a decent broadband connection and our research suggests 63 per cent of homes suffer broadband outages or significantly slower internet speeds at least once a month.
‘Many of these outages will be in rural areas and those households are often forced to choose between just one or two providers. This investment will lead to greater connectivity, better choice for consumers, and more competition in the market.’
The changes didn’t go as far as some hoped, however, with many hoping the Government would extend business rates relief to aid fibre rollout.
Caroline Normand, Which? Director of Advocacy, added earlier in the week: ‘Substandard 4G and broadband continues to be a huge problem for many people around the country, shutting them out of important online services and frustrating their daily lives, so it is good to see the government keeping its promise on this much-needed investment.
‘When it comes to 4G, the government and industry must urgently clarify plans and how the right level of geographic coverage will be delivered if it is to match what people actually need.’
More than 100 schools in rural areas are also set to receive full fibre broadband in the next twelve months under the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme.