Out-Law News 1 min. read

Business rates relief to be provided to telcos that invest in full fibre broadband infrastructure

Telecoms companies in England will not have to pay business rates on the property on which they install infrastructure to support new 'full fibre' broadband networks, under new laws proposed by the UK government.

The government has introduced a new Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill before parliament to provide for the business rates relief.

The draft legislation was published after the government earlier this week launched a new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund to support investment in new full fibre broadband connections.

Business rates are paid by occupiers of non-domestic properties such as shops, offices, warehouses and factories, and are based on the 'rateable value' of the property. 

Under the proposed new laws, telcos installing new full fibre infrastructure in England will benefit from 100% business rate relief for five years, backdated to 1 April this year.

In a statement, the government said: "By enabling 100% business rates relief for operators who install new fibre on their networks, the Bill will incentivise operators to invest in the broadband network."

"By seeking to improve the speed, service quality, security and reliability of broadband services, the Bill has the potential to transform the way in which modern businesses work together, reach their consumers and target their export markets," it said.

The government said the measure could save telcos £60 million in business rates payments they would otherwise owe.

UK digital minister Matt Hancock said: "We want Britain to remain the digital world leader that it is, and that means having the right infrastructure in place that will allow us keep up with the rapid advances in technology now and in the future."

"We want to see more commercial investment in the gold standard connectivity that full-fibre provides, and the 100% business rate relief and the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund will provide a strong incentive for this," he said.

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