Rural Connectivity

Thank you for contacting me about rural connectivity. I wanted to share some important progress with you as we work towards delivering much better connectivity for all by the end of 2020.

As you will know, the Government has delivered a series of initiatives that has seen superfast broadband availability rise from 50% to 96% of UK premises. Due to increased coverage and take-up, average broadband speeds for UK consumers have increased from 5.2Mbit/s in 2010 to 54.2Mbit/s in 2018.

Initiatives to improve connectivity have included:

  • Superfast Broadband Programme, investing over £1.7 billion of public money to deliver superfast broadband in hard-to-reach areas;
  • Local Full Fibre Networks Programme, which includes a £190 million Challenge Fund (a capital grant programme funding locally-led public connectivity projects), the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to improve affordability, and the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme for homes and businesses unable to achieve even a 2Mbit/s connection;
  • Driving down barriers to deployment of existing telecoms infrastructure, including changes to legislation to make it easier to deploy more infrastructure without planning permission;

There’s still lots to do. West Worcestershire’s superfast broadband coverage is still below the national average, at 88 per cent, but I wanted to share this news with those of you who are concerned about connectivity in our rural communities.