A new voucher scheme will help homes and businesses across the UK connect to full fibre broadband, Chancellor Philip Hammond has claimed.
The government has set aside £67 million through the Nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to help commercial and residential properties join full fibre networks, which are able to offer far higher speeds than traditional copper lines.
Vouchers worth up to £3,000 will be available to small and medium-sized businesses, while residents can claim up to £500.
Mr Hammond said moving to full fibre "means faster, more reliable broadband access as we build the digital infrastructure we need to make our economy fit for the future".
At present, only around three per cent of the population is able to access full fibre broadband, and this voucher scheme is part of a wider push by the government to increase its availability. It has committed to spending £200 million to speed up delivery through the Local Full Fibre Networks programme and wants to have at least ten million residential and commercial properties connected to full fibre by 2022.
Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock said the move gives small businesses the opportunity to "turbo-charge their connectivity with gigabit speeds".
"By building a full fibre future for Britain we are laying the foundations for a digital infrastructure capable of delivering today what the next generation will need tomorrow," he added.
Four areas across the country have given businesses access to the scheme since late 2017 through a pilot, with one area - Bristol, Bath and North-East Somerset - also offering vouchers to residential properties.