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Economy Economy

Invest £740 million in digital infrastructure

Last updated: 10:59am 21 November 2019

This will include £740 million of digital infrastructure investment [..] by the end of 2020.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.20

Our verdict

“Digital infrastructure” refers to services essential to connecting and communicating digitally, through accessing and using information technology – e.g. broadband, phone networks, communications satellites, etc. This is a pledge to deliver £740 million of digital infrastructure investment through the National Productivity Investment Fund (established in 2016) by the end of 2020.

This policy was included in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Building Digital UK scheme. The £740 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund was allocated to the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme and to the 5G Testbeds and Trials programme. These projects are designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks and 5G mobile networks. By March 2019, £287 million had been invested by the LFFN programme, while the 5G Testbeds and Trials programme had received a total of about £50 million.

The government has earmarked £740 million for investment in digital infrastructure, delivering £287 million to the LFFN programme and £50 million to the 5G Testbed and Trials programme. Following the dissolution of Parliament ahead of the December 2019 general election, it is impossible for government to deliver fully on this investment pledge, so this policy will remain ‘in progress’.

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