The government has announced that its £400m Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund will unlock more than £1bn for full fibre broadband, and kick-start better broadband connections across the country.
Ministers are seeking to revolutionise Britain’s digital infrastructure, making internet access more reliable for homes and businesses, and enabling more people to work remotely without disruption.
The flexibility to work remotely has been described as “pivotal” in regards to driving the nation’s economy forward, reducing overheads and helping businesses to start and grow.
The government has already invested £1.7bn to spur industry to roll-out superfast broadband across the UK, with this new fund expected take that to the next level.
Launching the fund, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Jones MP said: “We are investing £400m to make sure the UK’s digital infrastructure is match-fit for the future. As technologies change and people’s habits move with them, it is crucial we play our part to ensure Britain stays at the front of the pack.
Full fibre digital connection is expected to play a crucial role in Britain’s future infrastructure and will require substantial investment from the private sector.
The launch of the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund will help accelerate the roll out of ultra-fast digital networks by increasing access to private finance for companies delivering them.
EEF’s head of business environment policy, Chris Richards explained: “[The] announcement renews the government’s commitment to create a full-fibre digital spine across the UK.
“Manufacturers investing in new digital technologies associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be reassured that their future focused investments will be backed by future proofed digital infrastructure.”
“To date manufacturers have had to invest significantly in leased lines as a stop gap measure while the UK’s digital infrastructure is slowly and, somewhat begrudgingly, brought up to be best in class.
“This must be avoided with future digital infrastructure development, government should put in place a business specific Universal Service Obligation to complement the announcement and provide certainty to industry that the UK will be the best place to anchor the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
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