From Fields to Fibres: UK Government Invests £1.3 Billion into Broadband

May 2024 –The UK continues to roll out Gigabit broadband faster than any other EU nation, ensuring everyone, regardless of where they live or work, has the opportunity to thrive in the 21st century1. In doing so, a record investment of £714 million in 2024 has been given to boost rural broadband coverage, and areas set to benefit include Yorkshire, The Isles of Scilly, and Dorset.

The UK Government has now invested a notable £1.3 billion into improved broadband and connection for nearly 380,000 remote homes and businesses. Nearly 82% of properties across the country can now access fast and reliable internet connection, up from just 7% in 2019. The investment forms part of the UK Government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit programme to ‘enable hard-to-reach communities to access lightning-fast gigabit-capable broadband’2. This has led to the growth of Alternative Network providers commonly referred to as AltNets. AltNets benefitting from public funding can pose an advantage for those acquiring them, however, it may also cause concern for those investing in third-party capital3. The AltNets receiving public funds may potentially be liable to an ultimate benefit disclosure which can cause reputational risk or even the termination of a deal for certain sponsor shareholders.

Read the article here – Article (2 pages)

The growth of the body of regulation governing digital services has led to further protection of consumers and security protection of the UK digital infrastructure4. These positive changes drive strong resilience across the technology and telecommunications sector with the government implementing proactive measures to mitigate security and society risks. The objectives of the increase in UK digital regulation is to maximise growth and competition in digital markets, drive UK excellence in innovation, and protect the safety, security, choices and rights of citizens.

Numerous AltNets are currently facing challenges due to the surge in interest rates and fibre prices, resulting in significant consolidation within the industry. The acquisition of smaller AltNets by larger ones offers the potential to establish economies of scale and enhance operational efficiencies. These consolidations are expected to stimulate greater investment in the alternative network infrastructure and associated research and development efforts, ultimately fostering advancements in services and the emergence of innovative technologies across the AltNet industry.

Unipart is proud to be working with two of the leading altnets in the UK improving their supply chain capabilities through our consultancy and logistics division, with synergies to our wider technology customer base in Field Engineering, Mobile Network Operators and OEM repair. These relationships enable these businesses to focus more effort on growing their customer base and developing network infrastructure, knowing the timely delivery of materials to field-based engineers is managed by Unipart-enabled solutions.

To take a proactive approach in addressing the challenges highlighted in the blog or any other issues affecting your organisation, click here to connect with our expert consultants, who specialise in crafting practical strategies tailored to your specific needs.

Reach out to Stewart Honour should you wish to discuss the topic of increased investment into broadband further and the opportunities in the AltNet industry.


  1. Building Digital UK, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, and Julia Lopez MP – Broadband boost for 380,000 rural premises as UK Government investment reaches £1.3 billion – April 2024
  2. Building Digital UK – Project Gigabit – April 2022
  3. Baker Mckenzie – Spotlight on AltNets – February 2024
  4. Department for Science, Innovation & Technology – Digital Regulation: driving growth and unlocking innovation – October 2023