Local gov urged to bid for £95m broadband funding

Digital Minister Margot James is encouraging local authorities to bid for a share of the £95 million being made available by the government to help rollout full fibre connectivity across the UK.

With Chancellor Philip Hammond having announced more than £1 billion of funding to stimulate further and faster roll-out of full fibre networks last year, the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) Challenge Fund, worth £190 million, is enabling gigabit capable connections to key public buildings and broadband providers creating additional connections to local homes and businesses.

The Local Full Fibre Networks Investment Panel, who are deliberating on the third round of funding, are focusing attention on projects that demonstrate the effectiveness of Local Full Fibre Networks delivery in rural locations and those focused on overcoming obstacles to the commercial roll-out of fibre and 5G.

A third focus is prorating projects which are targeting improvements to public sector services, such as enabling schools to access new cloud based educational tools, or allowing medical professionals to remotely monitor patient health.

A new process has been designed to allocate the remaining £95 million from the Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund, following the success of the first two rounds of grant funding.

James said: “We recently set out our ambition for a nationwide full-fibre broadband network by 2033, and initiatives like this will be instrumental in achieving that. We want to hear from any local authority interested in taking part, so we can work closely with them on their plans to help them secure funding.”

Please register to comment on this article