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100% business rates relief for broadband

A new scheme is to exempt new broadband fibre connections from business rates – benefiting rural communities, says the government.

The Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2018 paves the way for full-fibre broadband and future 5G communications, says the government.

By enabling 100% business rates relief for operators who install new fibre on their networks, the government says it incentivises operators to invest in the broadband network.

Secondary legislation has fired the starting gun on the scheme which will see communications providers exempt from business rates on new fibre for five years, backdated to 1 April 2017.

Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak said: “From the country’s most rural locations, to our big cities, we want everyone to benefit from fast, affordable and reliable broadband.

“With this new legislation now in place, people can expect the rapid installation of new fibre, paving the way for better connectivity across the country.”

Mr Sunak said the government was creating the right conditions for more high-skilled, high-paid jobs by making it easier to work from home and allowing digital businesses to flourish.

Improvements in the speed, service quality, security and reliability of broadband services, would help to transform businesses.

As well benefiting businesses, full fibre broadband would also increase internet speeds for households and enable users to access more services online with multiple devices.

Digital minister Margot James said the measures would provide important support for a more productive economy.

She said: “We are building a Britain that is fit for the future, and creating the right conditions to stimulate industry investment in infrastructure.

“People need good connectivity wherever they work, live, and travel and initiatives like our business rates relief scheme are key to us delivering this.”

The announcement builds on the government's recent Digital Strategy to increase the UK's digital skills, infrastructure and innovation.

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