Thirteen UK cities picked to receive up to £95m for full-fibre rollouts
Government unveils first recipients of Local Full Fibre Network funding
Credit: Carsten Rehder/DPA/PA Images
The government has picked 13 cities and regions as the recipients of up £94.5m in funding for projects to aid the rollout of full-fibre broadband.
Some of the projects will involve the “strategic repurposing of existing infrastructure” so as enable the deployment of full-fibre networks “at a fraction of what it would otherwise cost”, the government said. Other schemes will see NHS organisations become “anchor tenants” of fibre hubs, to which nearby homes and businesses will be able to connect. Some projects will prioritise the upgrade of “schools, libraries, and emergency-response buildings” to full-fibre connections.
The government claims that just 3% of buildings in the UK benefit from “gigabit-capable full-fibre infrastructure”. To help ramp up this number, last year the government established the Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) initiative, which has a funding pot of £190m to invest in local projects that enable or promote the rollout of fibre-to-the-premises technology.
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Some 13 cities, towns, and regions have now been selected to receive as much as half of that money. Each of the chosen areas, who were announced yesterday as part of chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement, has bid for a specified slice of the funding, and the government will now decide if it is given the full amount.
The winning bidders and their requested amounts are:
- Armagh City, Banbridge, and Craigavon – £2.4m
- Belfast – £11.5m
- Blackpool – £3m
- Cambridgeshire – £4m
- Cardiff – £6m
- Coventry, Solihull, and Warwick – £5.7m
- Highlands – £4.5m
- London – £8.5m
- Manchester – £23.8m
- Mid Sussex – £2.2m
- North Yorkshire – £15.1m
- Portsmouth – £3.9m
- Wolverhampton – £4.9m
The projects planned by the 13 cities will now go through a period of due diligence. The ultimate aim is to deliver full-fibre technology to the areas by the end of the 2021 fiscal year.
Applications for the second tranche of LFFN funding will open this summer.
“With the need for faster connectivity expected to dramatically increase over the coming years, the LFFN programme aims to leverage local and commercial investment in full fibre across the whole of the UK landscape,” the government said. “It will do this through funding a series of projects that seek to stimulate the market by making the deployment of gigabit-capable full-fibre infrastructure more commercially viable.”
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