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Many households are struggling with slow broadband speeds because much of the infrastructure is ageing, a government minister has admitted.

According to Andrew Jones, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, most people's broadband runs off telephone lines and cables that were laid decades ago.

This, he said, is even true in homes that have signed up for part-fibre services.

"We may think we’ve got fibre broadband," Mr Jones commented.

"But actually, we’re often still relying on old copper wires for the final bit of the connection to our homes, and some of these - I’m not joking - date back over 100 years."

Mr Jones said this is why the government is focusing on delivering full-fibre connections, as it offers "lightning speed and consistent reliability, even through storms and floods".

He was speaking at the formal launch of the government's £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, which it hopes will unlock more than £1 billion of capital in the sector, which can be used to boost full-fibre broadband coverage across the UK.

Mr Jones said the vast majority of households will have seen their internet speeds "drop to a crawl" at peak times, with films buffering, documents failing to upload and one person's online activities making every other device run at a "frustratingly slow pace".

"That’s not some mystical phenomenon, when the gods of the internet just aren’t on your side," he observed.

"It all goes back to those ageing lines that are connecting you, which just can’t cope with the level of demand they’re being put under."

Mr Jones went on to stress that the government has been working hard to get as many communities as possible connected to superfast broadband.

He said more than 90 per cent of homes now have access to superfast speeds, which puts the UK ahead of most other advanced economies, while the figure should be at least 95 per cent by the end of this year.

"We've come a really long way, but we're not done,"  Mr Jones stated.

"And we are working on providing a decent level of connectivity to that final five per cent."

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