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The government's plans to subsidise the creation of full fibre broadband networks has been criticised by Virgin Media.

Last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced in his Autumn Statement that £400 million is to be put towards improving the UK's fibre broadband infrastructure.

The money will be placed in a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, with cash shared between fibre broadband providers seeking to expand, while private investors will be asked to match the amount put forward by the government.

A further £740 million will be put towards developing 5G services and a scheme that enables local authorities to bid for fibre connectivity.

However, Virgin Media's Chief Executive Tom Mockridge believes the fund covers merely a fraction of what would be needed to create full fibre networks across the country, the Financial Times reports.

Furthermore, he noted that since Virgin Media is spending £3 billion on expanding its network, a state subsidy is not required to make this change.

Indeed, Mr Mockridge said that in light of current high levels of public debt, the government is "giving away money they don't have".

He went on to stress that he is not opposed to the plan because it might invite competition from smaller companies.

Instead, Mr Mockridge argued that it would be more advantageous for planning rules to be overhauled so deployment could be sped up.

This, he argued, would enable more companies to pose effective competition to Openreach.

Virgin Media is currently spending £3 billion on its Project Lightning initiative, which has been designed to extend ultrafast fibre broadband to 17 million homes by 2019.

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