The Autumn Statement delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised £1.1 billion of investment for faster fibre and 5G broadband services.
The funding will be used to improve the UK’s 5G mobile networks and extend the country’s fibre-optic networks. It is hoped that the project will benefit up to two million homes and businesses. The investment will be divided, with £400 million dedicated to improving fibre-optic networks and the rest reserved for the development of ultra-fast mobile networks.
Some of the funding allocated for the mobile networks will be passed on to local authorities for their own use. The public investment towards fibre-optic networks will be matched by private companies. The funding will also be available to smaller Internet service providers so that they can keep pace with the larger providers. The plan is for the installation of faster fibre-optic cables to reach properties directly rather than be transmitted through cabinets that send Internet connections along copper cables.
The new services will deliver speeds of up to 1Gbps, which only two per cent of UK homes are able to access at the moment.
Ofcom reported earlier in the year that around 1.5 million people have a problem with the speed of their broadband service. The proposed investment has drawn opinions from various consumer experts, including Which? Managing Director of Home and Legal Services Alex Neill, who said that the UK has been trailing other countries when it comes to broadband speeds. She also stated that the investment must bring about the improvements that are needed.