Details of the plan to achieve a transformation in broadband in the UK
Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, is delivering superfast broadband and local full fibre networks to the nation.
- is supporting investment to provide superfast broadband coverage to as many premises as possible beyond the 95% level achieved in December 2017
- is also introducing a broadband Universal Service Obligation so that by 2020 everyone across the UK will have a clear, enforceable right to request high speed broadband
- has provided access to basic broadband (2Mbps) for all for those who do not currently have coverage otherwise
- is supporting investment to stimulate private investment in full fibre connections by 2021
Superfast Broadband Programme
The Government has ensured superfast broadband (speeds of 24Mbps or more) coverage for over 95% of UK premises and has provided universal access to basic broadband (speeds of at least 2Mbps).
You can check whether superfast broadband is available in your area using the superfast broadband postcode checker and find out more details about what is happening in your local area using our Google Map
If you have broadband access which is less than 2Mbps you can find out what options are available to you using the Basic Broadband Scheme postcode checker
More information on the Government’s approach to delivering superfast broadband is available in the UK Next Generation Network Infrastructure Deployment Plan.
BDUK Local Body Information Spreadsheet
Information and take-up data on all procurements on the Superfast Broadband Programme can be found in the spreadsheet below. The spreadsheet also contains links to gainshare consultations published by local broadband projects. Table of local broadband projects
Further information on State aid is explained on the State Aid Advice web pages.
Local Full Fibre Networks Programme
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 22 November 2017 that local bodies could start applying for funding from the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) Challenge Fund. The aim of the fund is to help locally led projects across the UK leverage local and commercial investment in full fibre, which is the “gold standard” for fast and reliable broadband.
The LFFN Challenge Fund is part of the Government’s £740m National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to support the next generation of digital infrastructure. The Challenge Fund will periodically announce waves of funding available for local bodies to bid into, and bids will be selected on a competitive basis. The aim is to help deliver projects that can meet the objectives of the LFFN programme:
Stimulate more commercial investment to deliver more gigabit-capable connectivity
Directly maximise the availability and benefit of gigabit-capable broadband services to public sector, business and residential users
Improve commercial investment conditions in local areas.
The Chancellor announced in the 13 March 2018 Spring Statement the first successful wave of the Challenge Fund, providing over £95 million for 13 areas.
We plan to open the next wave of the Challenge Fund during Summer 2018.
A number of projects are currently underway to test the delivery methods outlined in the Challenge Fund prospectus, including the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme market test.
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
In March 2018 we launched our £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. The voucher scheme is designed to further the strategic objective of the Local Full Fibre Networks programme to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre coverage across the UK. The scheme follows a successful market test which was launched in November 2017 in four areas across the country. The national scheme is building upon the lessons learned from this market test.
If you are a small or medium-sized business you may be able to get a grant of up to £3,000 to help upgrade your business broadband to a gigabit-capable connection. Local communities can also benefit from the scheme - groups of residents can combine with local businesses to access gigabit speeds in community group projects. In a group project each residential user can access grants of up to £500 each to contribute towards the cost of connection.
If you are interested in benefiting from the scheme you can find details of suppliers in your local area on the scheme website. If there are no suppliers listed in your area you may wish to contact your existing supplier and encourage them to register for the scheme.
700MHz Clearance Programme
The 700MHz clearance programme is a Government funded programme to clear airwaves in the 700MHz spectrum band, currently used for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and PMSE (Programme Makers and Special Events) services. Once cleared the airwaves will be available for future mobile broadband services. The changes will be rolled out across different regions nationally and the programme is due to be complete by the summer of 2020.
Current users of 700MHz spectrum, including viewers of Digital Terrestrial Television, will be impacted by clearance events. The majority of viewers will simply need to retune their TV equipment to continue to receive services. This clearance follows a successful trial in the Scottish Borders (at Selkirk). While most viewers are likely to find restoring their service relatively straightforward, additional support will be available for those who need it.
Benefits of broadband
Improved connectivity is revolutionising our quality of life, from how we work and how our children learn, to how we spend our leisure time, how we do our weekly shop, and how we engage with public services. Find out more about how broadband can benefit you. A detailed review of the economic impacts of broadband is available in our UK Broadband Impact Study.
European funding for broadband
BDUK acts as the Broadband Competence Office to provide assistance with European funding for broadband projects. This includes the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). These funds are administered by other government departments but BDUK can provide support to help.
Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme
The Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme ran from December 2013 until October 2015. Over 50,000 vouchers for superfast broadband connections were issued to SMEs during the scheme, with 37,000 vouchers issued since April 2015 across 50 UK cities.
More information on the scheme and its benefits can be found on the Connection Vouchers website.
Mobile Infrastructure Project
The Government Mobile Infrastructure Project supported investment in mobile infrastructure to improve coverage for voice calls and text messages for the final 0.3-0.4% of UK premises that were unable to receive a service.
A detailed review of the Mobile Infrastructure Project is now available in our Impact and Benefits Report.
Market Test Pilots
The Government also supported seven Market Test Pilots to gain understanding of the challenges in rolling out superfast broadband to the hardest to reach areas of the UK.