Earlier this month, I asked the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport what progress his Department has made on the rollout of gigabit broadband in both Ashfield constituency and Nottinghamshire as a whole. The last year has shown how important it is for houses to be able to access high speed internet, and is an issue I hear about a lot from constituents. The Secretary of States answer is below:
"Gigabit coverage in Ashfield has increased significantly in the past 12 months, with 15.33% of premises able to access a gigabit-capable broadband service, compared with 1.8% in September 2020. Additionally, 99.1% of premises in Ashfield have access to superfast broadband (>30Mbps) in Ashfield, which exceeds the national average of 96.9%
To date, the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire (BBfN) scheme has delivered 378 gigabit-capable FTTP connections across the constituency. The Hucknall exchange has also been included with Openreach’s latest commercial announcement, with delivery expected to be completed between now and April 2024.
We are backing Project Gigabit with £5 billion so hard to reach communities are not left out. Nottinghamshire falls within Phase 2 (Lot 10) of Project Gigabit. Preparations for Phase 2 are already well underway and following the Open Market Review and Public Review, formal procurement should start in November 2022 in Nottinghamshire.
Concurrently, premises in rural areas may also be in line for funding through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, with up to £210m allocated to the scheme over the next four years to support hard to reach communities. The voucher scheme offers up to £1,500 for homes and £3,500 for businesses to help to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband to people’s doorsteps when used as part of a group scheme. Home and business owners can check the eligibility of their address and then look up suppliers in their area by going to https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/.
Nottinghamshire has made good use of the scheme so far, seeing 135 voucher connections worth £340,030, with a further 372 vouchers to be connected, totalling £948,290."
There are some really positive statistics there, and shows that we are moving in the right direction with regards to access to gigabit broadband. I will continue to monitor this issue, and keep you informed of any updates as and when I receive them.