Autumn Statement outlines £1 billion of funding for digital communications

The government will invest over £1 billion by 2020-21, including £740 million through the NPIF, targeted at supporting the market to roll out full-fibre connections and future 5G communications. This will bring faster and more reliable broadband for homes and businesses across the UK, boost the next generation of mobile connectivity and keep the UK in the forefront of the development of the Internet of Things. This will be delivered through:

• £400 million for a new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, at least matched by private
finance, to invest in new fibre networks over the next 4 years, helping to boost market
ambitions to deploy full-fibre access to millions more premises by 2020.

• A new 100% business rates relief for new full-fibre infrastructure for a 5 year period from
1 April 2017; this is designed to support roll out to more homes and businesses.

• Providing funding to local areas to support investment in a much bigger fibre ‘spine’
across the UK, prioritising full-fibre connections for businesses and bringing together public
sector demand. The government will work in partnership with local areas to deliver this,
and a call for evidence on delivery approaches will be published shortly after the Autumn
Statement.

• Providing funding for a coordinated programme of integrated fibre and 5G trials, to keep
the UK at the forefront of the global 5G revolution; further detail will be set out at Budget
2017 as part of the government’s 5G Strategy.

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