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matthew hancock official

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to getting a full-fibre broadband network rolled out nationwide.

According to Digital Minister Matt Hancock, the UK boasts the best superfast broadband coverage in Europe, with coverage set to reach 98 per cent in the next few years.

However, he stated that while completing the rollout of today's technology is important, the country needs to be "on the foot front with the technology of tomorrow too".

Speaking at the Broadband Stakeholder Group 2017 Conference, he said this means a full-fibre network needs to be deployed across the country.

"UK full-fibre coverage is just three per cent," Mr Hancock commented.

"This will not stand. We will strain every sinew to get it rolled out in Britain.

"While the existing copper network is important today, a copper-to-the-premise solution is not fit for the future."

Mr Hancock noted that over the last year, the government has announced various measures designed to kickstart a full-fibre rollout.

For instance, he said the £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund will improve access to commercial finance, while £200 million is being invested in locally-led projects across the country.

Furthermore, the government has announced a five-year 100 per cent business rates holiday for broadband providers that invest in a full-fibre network,

Mr Hancock went on to acknowledge that many stakeholders in the broadband sector have complained about the cost of laying fibre.

However, he stressed that Ofcom is working to reduce costs, open up ducts and poles and get wholesale pricing structures right.

This, he said, demonstrates both the watchdog's and the government's determination to get a "strong return on the investment that is so badly needed".

"We all want people to stop badgering us about their broadband and I want to ensure they don’t have to badger us ever again," Mr Hancock added.

"We have set these goals. We’ve hired some brilliant people to deliver them. We are clear-eyed in our ambition."

Mr Hancock's pledge comes shortly after Gigaclear called for a national plan that "acknowledges and prioritises" the need to roll out full-fibre across all of the UK.

Chief Executive Matthew Hare argued this is the "only way to secure world-class connectivity" and future-proof Britain's digital economy.

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