UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden met with leading figures from the UK broadband industry on April 1 to praise the sector for its creation of over 22,000 jobs within the last year.
The ministers particularly praised the industry for its role in helping the UK weather and recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also used the meeting to emphasise the government’s commitment to supporting the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband.
The event followed the government raising its forecast for the proportion of UK premises set to be covered by gigabit-capable connections by the end of 2021 from 50 per cent to 60 per cent. This is in comparison to 9 per cent coverage in 2019 and, if achieved, would be among Europe’s fastest build rates.
Oliver Dowden, UK Digital Secretary, commented: “Our plan to level up communities across the UK by giving them the fastest broadband on the planet is working. We’re now on track to connect 60 per cent of homes and businesses to gigabit speeds by the end of the year and I’m thrilled to see the tens of thousands of jobs being created as we build back better from the pandemic.”
“But we want to go further and faster, which is why today the Prime Minister and I sat down with the biggest names in broadband to discuss what more we can do together to end the battle over bandwidth.”
“It was a useful and constructive meeting where we emphasised our goal to speed up investment from our £5 billion Project Gigabit fund if providers can put forward workable plans to accelerate the delivery of lightning-fast connections for every part of the UK.”
Attendees of the meeting included Ofcom CEO Melanie Dawes, Openreach CEO Clive Selley, BT CEO Philip Jansen, CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch, Virgin Media CEO Lutz Schuler, Sky CEO Stephen Van Rooyen, Hyperoptic CEO Dana Tobak, Gigaclear CEO Gareth Williams and TalkTalk CEO Tristia Harrison.