Late Post

UK broadband industry ‘confused’ by government funding claims

The UK government’s Spending Review on 25 November has cast a pall over many industries in terms of future cutbacks, but in making its announcement, the government called out broadband and mobile infrastructure as areas of added investment going forward.

But as the dust settles, trade bodies and service suppliers in the communications industry have expressed concern that the review has basically repeated previous commitments and actually given notice of forthcoming cuts.

As he announced the Spending Review, chancellor Rishi Sunak promised to build a “stronger future” and transform the country’s infrastructure. With public borrowing having increased to £372bn during the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic forecast has changed dramatically from what was envisioned in the March 2020 Budget, weeks before the pandemic took full effect. Since then, the economy has experienced the sharpest contraction since the Great Frost of 1709.

And within minutes of Sunak delivering his statement, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport took to social media to emphasise that the chancellor had promised to get gigabit to homes and businesses, investing $5bn to support the roll-out of gigabit-capable broadband across the UK by 2025 and would invest £250m on 5G supply chain diversification as well as