The Chancellor has promised in his Autumn Statement to invest over £1bn to promote more fibre rollout and to realise his ambition ‘for the UK to be a world leader in 5G’ next generation mobile networks. This investment in the digital communications infrastructure will help the UK remain at the forefront of innovation, which is key to our economic success. The key areas of funding are:
- £400m via a new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, to be matched by private finance, for new ‘full-fibre’ networks.
- Further funding, for partnerships with local areas, to support a bigger ‘full-fibre spine’ across the UK, bringing together public sector demand and supporting availability for businesses.
- 100% business rates relief for new full-fibre infrastructure over five years to support roll out to more homes and businesses.
- £740m funding for a coordinated programme of integrated fibre and 5G trials.
On related topics, there is £535m over a four year period to enhance digital railway signalling and £ 100 million for testing infrastructure for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).
Summing up the key commitments in the Autumn Statement, Raj Sivalingam, Executive Director for Telecommunications and Spectrum, said: “The Government has recognised the pivotal role that digital communications infrastructure will play in UK’s successful economic future. Ultimately, the bulk of the investment needed to upgrade digital infrastructure will come from the private sector and, in order to ensure this, maximising investment incentives are crucial. While we see this as a step in the right direction, the Government should not take its eye off the ball in removing the obstacles and costs at local and central levels. We’ll be working closely with Government and industry to ensure we work together to implement world class digital infrastructure across the UK.”
Read further content regarding the Autumn Statement: