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
- supports the stimulation of private investment in full fibre connections through a programme that is currently funded through March 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 Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme is designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks in both rural and urban locations across the whole of the UK. Funding for the programme is drawn from a total of £740m from the National Productivity Investment Fund which has been allocated to LFFN and the 5G Testbeds and Trials programmes over the next four years.
In late 2017 LFFN launched the first wave of its programme, designed to test the market stimulation approaches the programme is taking. £10m was allocated to the launch of four pilot projects across the country, along with a project on rail connectivity run jointly with the 5G team. Ongoing analysis and evaluation of these pilot projects has helped us shape both our Challenge Fund and our Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
The Local Full Fibre Networks programme launched its £190m Challenge Fund on the 22nd November 2017. The Challenge Fund is a capital grant programme which funds locally-led public connectivity projects that have the potential to leverage commercial investment in full fibre broadband connections.
Local bodies were invited to submit formal bids to the Challenge Fund to help harness public sector connectivity and aggregate private sector demand in their local areas. The first £95m of funding was allocated in March 2018 to 13 successful bidders that were announced in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement.
The next £95m of funding is now open to local bodies for expressions of interest. Full details about the fund, including how to submit an expression of interest, can be found in the guidance.
Expressions of interest from local bodies will be accepted until 17:00 on 14th December 2018. DCMS will continue to have pre-dialogue calls with local bodies about expressions of interest that have been submitted before the deadline.
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
In March 2018 the LFFN programme launched a £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. Gigabit broadband vouchers can be used by small businesses and the local communities around them to contribute to the installation cost of faster connections using gigabit-capable infrastructure. Small to medium sized businesses can claim a voucher worth up to £2,500 and residents can claim a voucher worth £500 as part of a group project.
The scheme is accessible through broadband service providers who have registered to provide connections through the scheme, so if you are a qualifying business or local community group interested in benefiting from a voucher:
Check whether your business/community group is eligible for a voucher - details are on the website. Then check whether there are registered suppliers in your area using the postcode search on the website. You can also talk to your existing supplier to see if they are participating in the scheme, or to encourage them to register.
Vouchers are issued to the supplier and can only be used to offset the cost of installing a gigabit-capable broadband connection to your premises.
For full details about whether you are eligible for a voucher and to connect you to a full fibre broadband supplier, go to: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk.
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.
Superfast Broadband evaluation
An independent report is available in our Evaluation of the Economic Impact and Public Value of the Superfast Broadband Programme. This is a report by Ipsos Mori for DCMS evaluating the economic impacts and public value of the Superfast Broadband Programme .
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.