The Department for Communities and Local Government has recently released a consultation seeking views on how draft regulations will implement 100% business rates relief for new full fibre to operators of telecom networks. This new fibre will be eligible for 100% relief from business rates for the 5 years from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2022.
With a ministerial foreword by Marcus Jones MP, Minister for Local Government, and The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital, these draft proposals currently under consultation relate to England only and existing dark fibre which is lit after 1 April 2017 will be excluded.
Through draft regulations made under powers contained in the Telecommunication Infrastructure (Relief from Non-Domestic Rates) Bill, DCLG will make regulations that deliver the relief to companies that install new fibre on their networks. The Bill will be next considered by MPs in a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday 5 September 2017 and the remaining stages will be considered on that date.
In recent techUK report From Good to Great: Digital Connectivity for a World Class Economy, a number of priorities and clear recommendations were identified - such as: putting sustainable investment at the heart of Government and regulators decision-making such that suppliers are not penalised when upgrading their existing infrastructure, and a consistent approach for planning to dramatically reduce costs and delays in fibre installation and operation.
Having hosted a roundtable that brought together over 40 local Government and tech industry leaders (inc. ISPs, MNOs and manufacturers where there was broad agreement that leadership and collaboration is central to successful 5G & fibre roll-out, techUK also called for a working group to drive collaboration across Central Government, Local Government, Ofcom, Telecoms, Infrastructure and Equipment Providers to reduce barriers to implementing next generation communications infrastructure and maximising benefits to local communities and economies.
To further drive this collaboration across industry and local central Government to enable the Digital Place, techUK is bringing together industry and Local Authorities to share and inform best practice and enable an integrated approach to provide digital connectivity for citizens on 20 September at techUK: Enabling the Digital Place: Integrated Approach to Provide Digital Connectivity.