UK Government offers £190m for public sector to install full fibre networks

Written by Sam Trendall on 24 November 2017 in News

UK digital minister Matt Hancock said full fibre was “fundamental” to making Britain for the future

Network cables - Image credit: Andreas Franke/DPA/Press Association Images

Public sector bodies across the UK will be able to bid for a share of a £190m funding pot to install full fibre broadband networks, through the UK Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund.

Organisations across the public sector – including local authorities, schools, the NHS, and the transport sector in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland – can apply for money to install “gigabit-capable connections to key public buildings”. 

The aim is to stimulate further and faster roll-out of full fibre networks and to prompt broadband providers to install networks that will serve nearby homes and businesses.

Launching the fund, UK digital minister Matt Hancock said full fibre broadband was “fundamental” to making Britain fit for the future.

Funding will be made available to four types of project, the first being “public sector anchor tenancy” initiatives, allowing public sector organisations to bid to install networks in multiple locations where they are a long-term tenant.

The second type of project covered by the programme is a Gigabit voucher scheme, in which business can acquire vouchers to install gigabit connections, with the expectation that broadband providers will likely extend connectivity to nearby premises.

Funding will also be given out to public-sector building upgrade projects.

These will involve full fibre connectivity being installed at specific government buildings “where the costs of doing so cannot be met using existing business cases, and where the deployment of fibre extends the fibre footprint to surrounding premises”.

The final type of project that will be funded is public sector asset reuse schemes.

In this case, money will be provided for the development of connected infrastructure assets – such as CCTV cameras – in such a way that will also provide additional availability of full-fibre networks. 

UK digital minister Matt Hancock said: “World-class connectivity is increasingly essential to people at work and at home.

“It’s vital to ensure the UK’s future competitiveness in the global market and our ability to attract investment.

“Full fibre is fundamental for fashioning a Britain fit for the future.”

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