Government names six UK areas to pilot full-fibre gigabit broadband

Government names six UK areas to pilot full-fibre gigabit broadband

Monday, 4 September, 2017

The fastest home broadband available in the UK is to be rolled out in six pilot areas across the country.

Parts of Aberdeenshire, Greater Manchester, Somerset, West Sussex, Warwickshire and West Yorkshire will get access to full-fibre broadband speeds of one gigabit per second (1Gbps) with the first part of a £200 million government investment scheme.

Currently full-fibre, also known as Fibre-to-the-premises or FTTP broadband, is only available to about 2% of premises in the UK.

It’s the quickest broadband technology on the market, directing fibre-optic cables directly into the home and bypassing any need for older copper wiring that slows broadband down.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced the move as part of a four year plan to introduce ultrafast broadband services across the UK.

Each area will receive £10 million worth of investment to test ‘innovative’ ways of connecting businesses, schools and hospitals to more reliable ultrafast services.

The remaining £190 million will be spent on future projects, to take place within the next four years.

The investment is expected to stimulate the economy and create jobs, as well as provide better service for businesses.

Andrew Jones MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said in a statement, “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”.

It’s currently unknown whether the rollout will be initially available for residential customers, but businesses will certainly benefit.

Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Digital, said the government would like to see more commercial investment in ultrafast broadband, and that the pilot scheme will help to facilitate this in future.

“We need to have the right infrastructure in place to allow us to keep up with the rapid advances in technology”, said the Minister.

Among the benefits of ultrafast services will be new ways for businesses and public services to send and share information.

For instance, hospitals could potentially speed up diagnoses by instantly sharing HD medical scans.

Schools would also be able to stream large numbers of educational videos simultaneously.

The government announced a similar scheme in July 2017. The Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, and accompanying legislation to offer tax breaks for new fibre services.

It is thought the fund will receive up to £1 billion of investment from the private sector.

MAIN IMAGE: Richard Heyes/Flickr

Aran Burton author picture


Aran is a technology journalist with an interest in consumer issues.