UK names 6 full-fibre trial areas

High speed fibre broadband is to be piloted in six  regions of the UK. The first stage of a £200 million (€218m) publicly funded scheme to help bring the UK’s fastest and most reliable broadband to businesses, schools and hospitals kicked off Sunday 3rd September with the launch of six local pilots.

The projects will receive around £10 million to test innovative ways of connecting offices and public sector buildings with full fibre networks that run fibre connections straight to the doors of customers’ homes or businesses (FTTP).

The resultant connection can offer speeds of 1 Gigabit/Sec. The test projects will now go ahead in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, West Sussex, Coventry and Warwickshire, Bristol and Bath and North East Somerset, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

The announcement is the first step in a £200 million programme. Unveiled by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, in the Spring Budget, it is part of the government’s four-year plan to stimulate the market and encourage the growth of full fibre up and down the country.

Junior Treasury minister, Andrew Jones MP, said: “How we live and work today is directly affected by how good our broadband connection is. Reliable connections enable new industries to flourish, help create jobs and give people flexibility in how and where they work. For our economy to thrive, it is vital we make smart investments to ensure our digital infrastructure is world class and fit for the future. Full fibre connections are the gold standard and we are proud to announce today the next step to get Britain better connected.”

Minister of State for Digital, Matt Hancock MP, said: “We want to see more commercial investment in the gold standard connectivity that full fibre provides, and these innovative pilots will help create the right environment for this to happen. To keep Britain as the digital world leader that it is, we need to have the right infrastructure in place to allow us to keep up with the rapid advances in technology now and in the future. The cutting-edge technology will make Internet access more secure and enable more people to work remotely without disruption, as well as equipping the UK’s homes, businesses and public services for applications of the future.”

Full fibre broadband could potentially allow:

  • Hospitals to share HD quality graphics of medical scans in seconds to improve diagnosis speeds
  • Businesses to reach ever more customers online, increasing transactions by uploading even the largest files quickly and easily
  • School classrooms to see a vast increase the number of pupils who can stream educational videos at the same time

This comes hot on the heels of the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund announced in July  2017, as well as new legislation to enable business rates relief for new fibre. Unlocking more than £1 billion for full fibre broadband, the fund has ignited interest from private finance to invest in the sector.

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