Press release

Government broadband pledge much needed say engineers

22 November 2016

In Wednesday's Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond will announce £400m funding for a new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund.

Responding, Prof Will Stewart, Vice President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said: “This long overdue investment is a very welcome first step in ensuring communities up and down the country have much needed access to reliable broadband.   Fast, reliable broadband is crucial for the success of industry - including small businesses, which are vital to the economy and innovation but currently have to operate with sporadic and unreliable broadband, particularly in more rural areas.

“The Government investment will help us move to a full fibre-wireless future encompassing 5G and fibre, eliminating our outdated dependence on copper. This will ensure that our communications infrastructure is future proofed, as fibre doesn’t need replacing – but we’ll need further investment and commitment from Government and industry to integrate 5G within this new infrastructure.

“It will also open the door for networks to be shared, opening up competition and ensuring that millions more people have access to this vital service and enable us to build on our strong global position at the forefront of the e-economy.”

Notes to editors:

  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 167,000 members in 150 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.