Broadband czar Sir John Whittingdale has admitted that there will always be areas of the country where commercial superfast Broadband will not be viable.
In a debate, the minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure was forced to defend the Government’s Project Gigabit initiative following research by Uswitch, which found that the number of people affected by outages had nearly doubled over the past 12 months to 21.7 million.
Sir John reiterated the Government’s commitment to rural connectivity and said that gigabit coverage in England now stands at 77 per cent. However, he accepted that harder-to-reach areas remained outside the scope of this initiative and that reaching them would require “more innovative and inventive solutions”. He added: “The 100 per cent target is a real target and we are confident that it can be achieved.”
As an update, he said that contracts to improve digital connectivity had now been signed in Cornwall, Cumbria, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hampshire and Northumberland, and 24 local and regional procurements under way.