The United Kingdom’s digital revolution is set to benefit from a multi-million pound boost, under plans announced by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid. On 13 January 2017, a new Local Government Finance Bill published that will make it easier for companies to connect more homes and businesses across England to gold standard full fiber broadband and help get the UK ready for 5G by cutting the cost of laying the cables.
Currently telecoms networks pay business rates on the fiber infrastructure needed to deliver high quality broadband and mobile connectivity to their customers. The Bill introduced in Parliament will give these companies a tax break for up to 5 years on the new infrastructure they lay for full fiber broadband a saving of £60 million, which can be reinvested in this work.
This new tax relief will not apply to existing infrastructure, giving companies an added incentive to move further and faster to get people connected to the best possible services as they become available.
The move is part of a £1 billion package of measures by the government, announced at Autumn Statement 2016, to help communities get digitally connected. The package also includes a £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, at least matched by private finance, to invest in new fiber networks over the next 4 years, £740million funding to encourage the market development of full fiber networks in both urban and rural areas and a coordinated program of integrated fiber and 5G trials, to keep the UK at the forefront of the digital revolution