Gotta go fast: UK government pledges £400m fund to boost internet speeds

Helping the little guys

The British government is planning to give £400 million to help home broadband providers build more fiber-to-the-home broadband connections as part of its Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund. 

These connections, which provide extremely high download speeds of over 1 gigabit per second, are currently only available to two percent of the country and are around 35 times faster than the average UK connection speed. 

According to the government, the fund will be targeted at emerging network providers who are looking to expand their services  in the hope of encouraging an improvement in the delivery of full-fiber broadband. 

Makes 'Speedy Gonzales' look like 'Regular Gonzales'

The country’s current biggest provider, BT, has been criticized for the slow pace of its fiber-to-the-home expansion. 

At the moment BT’s focus for its OpenReach network (which is the network that's used by both BT and its competitors) has been on building fiber connections to cabinets in the streets before using slower copper cables to link the fiber connections into homes. 

BT has said that more than 2 million more homes in the UK will have fiber-to-the-home connections by 2020 at its current rate of progress.

According to companies such as Sky and TalkTalk, who rely on BT’s OpenReach network, this is too slow and unambitious and the network provision should be broken up.

Smaller independent providers such as Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and B4rn already provide fiber-to-the-premises connections but they’re currently only able to do so for thousands of homes rather than millions. 

The government’s funding should help these companies to expand their services and reach more customers while the competition could perhaps force BT to improve its operations. 

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Emma is TechRadar's graduate writer covering the latest technology news. She loves nothing more than being unnervingly enthusiastic about gaming, VR, AI, and acronyms.