The UK government has announced a £1billion fund for full fibre broadband across the country, it is enough?
There are three things about Monday that make it interesting: It is the first day of the week, it follows the weekend and it comes five days before the last day of the working week. You may have noticed; the three things are actually the same. The government has announced, to great fanfare, a digital investment fund. But critics say it is simply announcing something it has already announced.
“Brits will soon see the back of internet buffering and painfully slow download times, following the launch of a new fund today, which will support the rollout of cutting-edge connections across the country,” says the UK government. It would be hard pressed to find anyone who does not think that is a good thing, but some might say it is too little, too late.
“The government’s £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) will unlock over £1 billion for full fibre broadband, and kick-start better broadband connections across the country.” Well, hurrah for that – but maybe £1 billion is quite small for a fund designed to catapult the UK up the productivity rankings.
“The government has already invested £1.7 billion to spur industry to rollout superfast broadband across the UK. This new fund will take that to the next level,” it said.
This is good stuff, but just recall, this is the same fund announced by the chancellor, Philip Hammond in the Autumn Statement and the Spring Budget, it seems that the government has announced the plan for the third time, for the second plus one time, and in a trio of identical announcements.
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Jones MP said: "Gone will be the days where parents working from home see their emails grind to a halt while a family member is gaming or streaming Game of Thrones in the next room. Full fibre will provide us with the better broadband we need to ensure we can work flexibly and productively, without connections failing."
Deputy-Chief Executive of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) and government Head of Project Finance, Matthew Vickerstaff said: "Full fibre digital communication networks will be a crucial part of our future infrastructure and will require substantial investment from the private sector. The launch of the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund will help accelerate the roll out of ultra-fast digital networks by increasing access to private finance for companies delivering them."
It’s to be applauded, of course, but the time to celebrate is when you can download videos while you are on the tube and maybe, although this is only indirectly related, make phone calls from a train journey – without constantly losing the line, and having to say things like “I’ll call you back, I am on a train.”