Julia Lopez – 2021 Statement on Project Gigabit

The statement made by Julia Lopez, the Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, in the House of Commons on 29 October 2021.

Today we have published the third Project Gigabit quarterly update and, thanks to the work of industry and our record £5 billion investment, we are making phenomenal progress delivering the biggest broadband roll-out in UK history.

We are on track for 85% gigabit coverage by 2025 and we have now passed the connectivity milestone of more than 57% of UK homes and businesses that can now access the fastest broadband speeds available.

In this Project Gigabit autumn update, we report on a significant further expansion in commercial plans, including more telecom providers focused on building in under-served rural areas. Greater commercial investment is positive for the UK and shows strong market confidence in customer demand for gigabit infrastructure.

This delivery plan update also reports on:

progress with, and changes to, phase 1 roll-outs and phase 2 procurements;

sequencing and dates of English phase 3 rural projects, covering around 500,000 premises in Essex, Lincolnshire, Devon and Somerset, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, Dorset, Cheshire, and North Yorkshire;

an update on how we are utilising gigabit voucher subsidy as part of our roll-out plans;

information on the evaluation of the benefits of our superfast broadband programme; and

details of an additional £8 million to deliver full-fibre to 3,600 premises in Scotland, as part of the Scottish Government’s R100 project, and c.£22.6 million to connect rural and remote parts of Northern Ireland, and information on the Welsh Government’s open market review and scheduled next steps.

Gigabit broadband will bring much faster and more reliable connectivity to rural and hard-to-reach communities. This will make them more attractive places for people to settle, raise families and start and grow businesses, improve education and healthcare services and increase accessibility.

This is how we level up and strengthen our Union—ensuring rural communities in every part of the UK have the same chances and opportunities as our urban towns and cities. That is why this is at the top of the Government’s agenda, and as Secretary of State, I am fully committed to doing everything I can to make Project Gigabit a UK success story.

I will place a copy of the “Project Gigabit Delivery Plan Autumn Update” in the Libraries of both Houses.