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Government gains access to operators’ gigabit broadband plans from Ofcom

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Ofcom is being granted new powers that will allow it to share data with the government about where broadband companies plan to build gigabit-capable broadband networks and to publish data about areas where gigabit broadband rollout is not currently planned.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) hopes it will encourage the commercial rollout of gigabit broadband in locations where there are currently no plans to do so.

The Government will also be able to take into account this information when deciding where it will spend £5bn of funding to give the public access to the fastest broadband.

This funding has been set aside to ensure that hard-to-reach areas receive much faster internet connections at the same time as towns and cities.

The planning laws governing the sharing and upgrading of mobile phone masts are also being overhauled which should help speed up the rollout of 5G and improve 4G coverage in rural areas.

At the last election, the Government promised to roll out the high speed internet infrastructure across the UK by 2025.

The size of this undertaking will require a workforce of around 10,000 additional personnel and utility firms may soon be allowed to run broadband cables through underground infrastructure such as water and sewer networks.

Digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman said: “We’re investing billions so no part of the UK is left behind by the opportunities and economic benefits that faster, more reliable and more secure digital connectivity brings.

“These changes will help target public funding in hard-to-reach areas most in need of better broadband.”

Referring to the changes to 4G and 5G planning laws, housing minister Christopher Pincher said: “Delivering much-needed new homes is at the heart of this Government’s mission to support people in every part of the country, and this means delivering the modern infrastructure needed to go with them.

“We’re taking forward plans to extend mobile coverage, particularly for those in rural areas, so everyone can benefit from the latest technology and the jobs, opportunities and growth that comes with this.”

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