Chancellor promises business a share in £67m broadband boost

Philip Hammond

Tens of thousands of businesses across the UK are set to benefit from a £67m investment in faster broadband connections, Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced.

The Nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme will provide vouchers worth up to £3,000 for a small or medium sized business or £500 to residents to help with the costs of connecting to full fibre broadband.

The scheme is part of a wider government plan to get more homes and businesses connected to full fibre broadband. It builds on the £200m Local Full Fibre Networks programme which gives funding to local areas to boost full fibre delivery. £95m of this funding was allocated at Spring Statement to 13 successful bidders across the UK.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “We’re backing Britain’s small businesses by investing £67m to bring full-fibre broadband to more businesses up and down the country.

“This means faster, more reliable broadband access as we build the digital infrastructure we need to make our economy fit for the future.”

DCMS Secretary of State Matt Hancock said: “Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and now they can turbo-charge their connectivity with gigabit speeds.

“By building a full fibre future for Britain we are laying the foundations for a digital infrastructure capable of delivering today what the next generation will need tomorrow.”

Full fibre connections are faster, more reliable and cheaper to operate than traditional copper lines, and are capable of supporting not only gigabit, but terabit and even petabit speeds, which will serve the UK far into the future. Currently only around 3% of UK premises have access to a full fibre connection.

The scheme forms part of the Government’s commitment to make full fibre broadband available to at least 10 million homes and businesses by 2022. Over the past 18 months, the government has taken significant steps to support the commercial roll out of full-fibre broadband.