The Chancellor’s pledge was reaffirmed during the Queen’s Speech, with a promise to accelerate the delivery of fast, reliable and secure broadband networks to millions of homes.
The Government has also committed to amending legislation so that building regulations require all new-build developments to have the infrastructure necessary to support super-fast, gigabit-capable connections.
The LGA has been making the case for councils to have this statutory backing, as currently they have no power to require developers take digital infrastructure into account when designing new homes.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board, said: “It is good that the Government has pledged to invest in providing full-fibre broadband in hard-to-reach areas. Councils have long called for funding and support to bridge the digital connectivity gap so that rural communities are not left behind. Poor digital connectivity threatens the future success and prosperity of rural areas and therefore the UK as a whole.”
He added: “Equally important is a decent mobile connection. With access patchy in some areas, it is critical the Government ensures good mobile coverage nationwide. This is why we are calling on the Government to work with Ofcom to launch a rural mobile roaming scheme allowing customers to roam onto any available network should 4G coverage not reach 95 per cent by 2022.”