The days of fast and reliable internet as a “nice-to-have” are over. Connectivity is key for everything from working at home, video-calling loved ones from a distance or streaming films and TV on multiple devices at once.
But too many new homes are still being built without future-proof broadband. This is effectively leaving people behind and it has to end.
So the government is acting to make sure housebuilders constructing new-builds provide gigabit-capable connections to people moving in. We are determined to invest in digital infrastructure and it is a top priority for this government.
Although the most proactive developers and operators are doing good work bringing gigabit-capable networks to consumers, we need to go further, faster. There are too many occasions where developers and operators have not worked together, and too many consumers who are let down.
We need to make sure that by the time the first brick is laid, agreements are in place between home-builders and broadband operators. That’s what this announcement does – makes it compulsory for developers to install high-quality digital infrastructure as a priority part of the build.
We have come a long way in recent years.
Since the publication of the Future telecoms infrastructure review in 2018, the number of full-fibre connections has doubled, with more than three million homes and businesses now able to connect.
Recently I met with mobile network operators with the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport secretary of state, Oliver Dowden, and we signed a £1bn Shared Rural Network deal to end patchy signal in the countryside.
This deal will take 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by the end of 2025, and will be backed by more than £500m of government funding to make sure coverage not-spots are completely eliminated.
We are also investing £5bn to deliver gigabit broadband to the hardest-to-reach parts of the country, making it easier and cheaper for the private sector to deploy faster broadband to the most commercial areas of the country and bringing forward new legislation to make it easier for telecoms firms to connect blocks of flats.
Together, this will help distribute wealth, prosperity and opportunity right across the country and provide the conditions for people to succeed and thrive.