Chancellor expected to announce funding for broadband and 5G

Chancellor expected to announce funding for broadband and 5G [Image: ktsimage via iStock]

UK chancellor Philip Hammond is set to deliver his first Autumn Statement tomorrow (November 23rd) when he is expected to announce funding of £740 million to trial superfast 5G mobile networks.

It is currently thought that 5G will be introduced in the UK by 2020, however there has not yet been an agreed standard for 5G.

Experts currently think that 5G will significantly reduce download times, improve response times and increase capacity in order to enable Internet of Things (IoT) devices to operate properly.

It has also been reported that tomorrow Mr Hammond will announce that the government plans to award £400 million as part of the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, which will focus on providing fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband, rather than fibre to the cabinet (FTTC).

The government will also ask private investors to match the amount of funding, according to Wired.co.uk. There will also be funding to help new providers who will focus on fibre entering the market.

Chief executive of CityFibre, Greg Mesch, told The Inquirer: “Britain's industrial strategy needs a digital backbone, and it is essential that we move quickly to plug the UK’s 'fibre gap’ and empower our service-based economy.

“This new funding, stimulating competitive fibre rollout at scale by new communications infrastructure builders, is a catalyst for the delivery of the UK’s fibre future.”

However, there has been criticism of the amount of funding set aside for these developments, with Antony Walker, the deputy chief executive of digital technology trade association techUK, saying it would cost more than £1 billion.

It comes after minister of state for digital and culture Matt Hancock’s speech at the Broadband World Forum, where he said that the UK needs to have 5G and fibre broadband in order to be a world leader.