Julia Lopez – 2022 Statement on Project Gigabit (Autumn 2022)

The statement made by Julia Lopez, the Minister of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Commons on 1 December 2022.

Today we have published Building Digital UK’s latest Project Gigabit delivery update. We continue to make excellent progress with Project Gigabit, the Government’s £5 billion mission to deliver lightning-fast, reliable broadband across the UK.

In this Project Gigabit autumn update, we report on the awarding of a £108 million contract in Cumbria that will bring gigabit-capable connectivity to up to 60,000 homes and businesses across the region. This is the first regional contract awarded under Project Gigabit, and follows local contracts awarded in Teesdale and north Northumberland in the past two months.

We also report on the boost we are giving to the gigabit broadband voucher scheme, increasing the value of vouchers to £4,500 for all beneficiaries, up from £1,500 and £3,500 for homes and businesses respectively. To date, over 111,000 vouchers have been provided through the scheme and its previous iterations, with more than 77,000 vouchers used to connect premises to gigabit-capable broadband.

The report also provides an update on the progress of the Project Gigabit procurement pipeline. BDUK has now undertaken market engagement exercises across the whole of England, and has launched procurements with a total value over £780 million, to connect up to 545,000 premises. The publication also reports on the completion of a public review by Highland and Islands Enterprise, working with BDUK and the Scottish Government, ahead of a first potential local procurement in Scotland.

I will place a copy of the Project Gigabit delivery plan autumn update in the Libraries of both Houses.