UK.gov tips £400m into digital investment pot

'Now you can watch Game of Thrones in peace'

The UK government has today launched its £400m Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, aimed at boosting Blighty's full-fibre infrastructure.

The country currently has just two per cent fibre-to-the-premise connections – but digital minister Matt Hancock has said he wants the UK to go on a "full-fibre" diet in order to catch up with other countries.

The fund was first announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the Autumn Budget last year and will be matched by private finance, totalling a cash pot of £800m.

Launching the fund, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Jones MP is expected to say: "Gone will be the days where parents working from home see their emails grind to a halt while a family member is gaming or streaming Game of Thrones in the next room.

"Full fibre will provide us with the better broadband we need to ensure we can work flexibly and productively, without connections failing."

Mark Collins, director of strategy at small broadband provider CityFibre, said he welcomed the fund. "Addressing the yawning fibre gap which sees the UK at just 2 per cent full fibre penetration vs countries like Spain on 80 per cent is essential," he said.

"This fund will help to underpin investor confidence and catalyse competitive full fibre roll‑out."

The Independent Networks Co-operative Association also called for a series of policy regulatory changes that would enable commercial deployment of 80 per cent of FTTP coverage by 2026.

Two infrastructure investment firms have been appointed to manage the fund: Amber Fund Management Limited and M&G Investments, part of Prudential PLC.

The government is encouraging those interested in accessing the cash pot to contact the fund managers directly. ®


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