The British government’s GBP 400 million Digital Infrastructure Fund officially came into effect earlier today. The fund has been established primarily to support alternative network ISPs in implementing ultra-fast fiber broadband FTTH/P networks within approximately 2 million additional UK premises.
The fund was initially announced in 2016 by Chancellor Phillip Hammond during his statements at the government’s Autumn Budget general meeting. He elaborated that the government’s aim is that the fund will eventually end up being valued at over GBP 1 billion once investments from the private sector and other sources come into play.
Currently, only a meager 2% of the UK has access to fiber-to-the-premises connectivity, while countries like Spain boast around 80% of their geography having such features available. With the UK having ground to make up, digital minister Matt Hancock plans on putting the country on a “full-fiber” diet.
For Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones MP, optimism is difficult to contain:
We are investing £400 million 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.
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.
The funds are to be distributed by the British Business Bank’s Venture Capital Catalyst programme, with several interested investment managers expected to organize a pitch meeting with senior bank officials to validate eligibility criteria.