The UK’s digital revolution is set to benefit from a multi-million pound boost, under plans announced by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.
A new Local Government Finance Bill will make it easier for companies to connect more homes and businesses across England to gold standard full fibre broadband and help get the UK ready for 5G by cutting the cost of laying the cables.
Currently telecoms networks pay business rates on the fibre infrastructure needed to deliver high quality broadband and mobile connectivity to their customers. The Bill introduced in Parliament will give these companies a tax break for up to 5 years on the new infrastructure they lay for full fibre broadband – a saving of £60 million, which can be reinvested in this work.
This new tax relief will not apply to existing infrastructure, giving companies an added incentive to move further and faster to get people connected to the best possible services as they become available.
The move is part of a £1 billion package of measures by the government, announced at Autumn Statement 2016, to help communities get digitally connected. The package also includes:
- a £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, at least matched by private finance, to invest in new fibre networks over the next 4 years
- £740million funding to encourage the market development of full fibre networks in both urban and rural areas
- a coordinated programme of integrated fibre and 5G trials, to keep the UK at the forefront of the digital revolution
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“We need to have the best possible digital technology and broadband connections if we’re to create an economy that works for all.
The Local Government Finance Bill will offer a £60 million boost to deliver ever-faster broadband connections, making UK PLC an ever-stronger competitor on the global stage.”