The UK government has launched a £400m infrastructure fund to further investment in “full-fibre” broadband.
The aim is to offer speeds of up to one gigabit per second (Gbps) or more to households and businesses by having fibre optic cables run right up to their properties, rather than relying on copper cables to connect them to roadside cabinets.
The Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund’s goal is to offer “ultra-fast” fibre-to-the-property broadband to millions of premises by 2020, and the government is tapping private investors to match its investment. At present the figure is close to one million premises.
The fund was originally announced in November as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and has been criticised as being “a drop in the ocean” for what is required to make “full fibre” the norm.
The digital skills minister Matt Hancock appeared on the Today programme to mark the launch.
He was questioned about his predecessor Ed Vaisey’s assertion last week, that although the vast majority of the British population already has access to “superfast” broadband speeds – meaning 24 megabits per second (Mbps) or more – many have opted for slower deals.