Rural Hub
Back

The Budget and our Broadband: new initiatives helping England stay better connected

3 mins

The government announced new plans to roll out full fibre broadband networks in the Autumn Budget. We look at what this means for rural communities.

Poor broadband connectivity has always been one of the challenges of living in the countryside. The government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, published earlier this year, aims to tackle this with a goal to have a nationwide full fibre network by 2033.

Full fibre networks are faster and more reliable than copper networks, delivering internet speeds greater than 1 gigabit per second.

In his Autumn Budget last month, the Chancellor set out the government’s next steps to accelerate the rollout of these networks across England, including an interim target of 15 million connected premises by 2025.

We look at the government initiatives planned to boost broadband in rural areas and how you can take advantage of them.


£200 for full fibre broadband pilot projects

A further £200 million of funding was announced in the Budget to boost the provision of full fibre internet in some of the hardest to reach areas in England.

The funding will be used to connect primary schools in remote rural areas and set up a voucher scheme to connect nearby homes and businesses to these hubs.

The Borderlands, Cornwall and the Welsh Valleys will be some of the first places to benefit from this funding. Details of how residents and business owners can get involved are still to be released.


Gigabit capable connections to new build homes

A consultation is currently underway on proposals to connect new build properties to gigabit-capable networks.

The proposals suggest network operators should have a ‘duty to connect’ new building sites and the cost of this work should be shared between network operators and site developers.

Only 5% of UK properties are currently connected to full fibre networks. If the government goes ahead with these proposals, buyers of new homes can be sure their property is ready for the technology of the future.

You can read more about what this may mean for housebuilders in our article on the full fibre broadband pledge for new homes.


Upgraded connections for tenants

Getting a fast broadband connection installed to rented properties could be a challenge for both tenants and operators. Unlike other utilities, there’s currently no legal requirement for landlords to provide telecommunications to their tenants.

To install gigabit-capable networks, operators need physical access to properties, which requires permission from the tenant’s landlord. In some cases, network operators are unable to identify or contact this person, meaning they’re unable to install the connection.

The government is proposing to amend the Electronic Communications Code to place an obligation on landlords to facilitate the installation of digital infrastructure in their properties where a tenant has requested it. This could apply to both commercial and residential properties. The consultation on these proposals closes in December 2018.


Local Full Fibre Networks challenge fund

The government’s £190 million Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) challenge fund was launched in 2017 to enable gigabit connections to public buildings in remote rural areas and incentivise operators to connect local homes and businesses to these hubs.

The government recently announced that Suffolk was the first local area to receive £5.9 million of funding from the third wave of the LFFN challenge fund. Earlier this year, Suffolk County Council confirmed their plans to reach 98% coverage of superfast broadband across the county by 2020.


Fully connected rural homes

Don’t want to wait? Here’s our pick of the best-connected rural homes for sale now:

  • Warracott Farm Barns, Devon – set in the beautiful Devonshire countryside 20 miles from Plymouth, this newly-converted two-bedroom barn conversion has fibre broadband and far reaching views.
  • Dilwyn, Herefordshire – if you want historic charm with fast connection speeds, this five-bedroom Grade II listed house is located in a rural village with fibre broadband available.
  • Downs Way, Baunton, Cirencester – this family house in the Cotswolds has Gigaclear fibre broadband and access to excellent schools.
Stuart Gray
Senior Associate Director, Land Management
St Albans
441727236942
Send a message to Stuart Gray
3 mins

Related Articles

11.09.2019

10 Key drivers of rural change

The 2018 OECD Rural Development Conference identified 10 key drivers of rural change which are likely to shape the way that businesses based in the countryside operate. The ideas include drones, driverless cars and deconcentrated energy systems – all developments that should help farms and estates become more efficient, sustainable and innovative, and better places […]
15.04.2019

Telecoms code leads to fall in number of new leases

The new Electronic Communications Code was supposed to assist in addressing rural not-spots and improve the digital economy across the whole of the UK, but the number of new leases has fallen dramatically as a result of its introduction. The purpose of the Code, introduced in December 2017, was to speed up the rollout of […]
04.01.2019

Rural broadband solutions for farms and estates

Farms and estates are seizing the initiative when it comes to tackling the challenge of poor mainstream broadband connections by investing in their own private high-speed networks. With digital technology now playing a central role in people’s lives, landowners are increasingly finding that it is necessary to be proactive in addressing the problem of slow […]
09.01.2018

Land Business | Cracking the code: Negotiating a telecoms agreement

The 2003 Telecommunications Code achieved a degree of notoriety. After all, not every law can lay claim to being labelled ‘one of the least coherent and thought-through pieces of legislation on the statute book’ by Lord Justice Lewison. Despite this reputation, however, there have only been a handful of court cases and the code has […]

Talk to us

Want to talk to us about our rural specialisms? Send us a message and we will make sure it gets to the right person.

Please write your name
Please write a message

Sign up

Sign up to be notified when we launch new publications so you’re always ahead of the research.

Please write your name
Please write a correct email address
Send me updates about
Please tick a box