Chancellor puts up £190 million for local fibre investment

Local public sector bodies invited to bid for shares of LFFN Challenge Fund as part of an investment in national productivity

The Government is setting up a £190 million fund against which local public sector organisations can bid for money to stimulate the roll out of full fibre networks.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the creation of the Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Challenge Fund in the Autumn Budget, as part of a broader investment in broadband and the development of 5G mobile networks.

Abstract - HDMI plugs against clockThe fund will be open to bids from rural and urban areas, and demands that they demonstrate approaches that encourage additional private investment and can make sustainable commercial deployments viable.

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: “Full fibre is fundamental for fashioning a Britain fit for the future. The projects will enable gigabit capable connections to key public buildings and businesses, with the expectation that this leads to broadband providers creating additional connections to local homes and businesses.

“Government is now encouraging a broad range of local bodies - local authorities, combined authorities, local enterprise partnerships as well other local public/government bodies such as health, education or transport bodies - to apply to the fund.”

The money will be part of the £31 billion National Productivity Investment Fund, which includes £740 million already earmarked for full fibre and 5G over the next three and a half years.

The Budget document also points to a plan for about 100 schools to be the early beneficiaries of the full fibre roll out, with a pilot to begin in the East Midlands early next year.

Image: by neiljaxx CC by 2.0 via Flickr