Belfast Telegraph

Telecoms firms to get 100% business rates relief for installing fibre broadband

Telecoms companies that install new fibre broadband will be given business rates relief under new laws proposed by the Government.

The Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill will offer 100% business rates relief to firms as an "incentive" to install new fibre broadband.

The Bill is part of the £1 billion investment in the UK's digital infrastructure announced in Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement last year.

This included £400 million on new infrastructure in the sector.

In the Queen's Speech, the Government also said it wanted to make the UK "the best place to start and run a digital business" as part of preparations for exiting the EU.

Digital minister Matt Hancock said: "We want Britain to remain the digital world leader that it is, and that means having the right infrastructure in place that will allow us keep up with the rapid advances in technology now and in the future.

"We want to see more commercial investment in the gold standard connectivity that full-fibre provides, and the 100% business rate relief and the Digital Infrastructure investment fund will provide a strong incentive for this."

The relief fund would see telecoms firms in England that invest in a fibre network not pay any rates on new fibre lines over the next five years.

Local government minister Marcus Jones said: "Regardless of where you live or work, we want everyone to benefit from access to the fast, affordable and reliable broadband they need to thrive.

"From making it easier to work from home to allowing digital businesses to flourish, our measures are creating the right conditions for more high-skilled, high-paid jobs of the future.

"We've already committed £400 million for new digital infrastructure fund and this Government's Digital Strategy is helping bring together business organisations, local authorities and communications providers.

"Now the Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill is going one step further to kick-start the installation of new fibre, paving the way for better connectivity across the country."