Brighton and Hove City Council is laying plans to install a fibre broadband ring for public sector sites around its centre.
The scheme for a Brighton Research and Innovation Fibre Ring has been approved by its policy resources committee and is now subject to final checks and due diligence procedures.
The council is looking at a public sector anchor tenancy arrangement, whereby it would commit to connecting its own sites to fibre and give the provider the incentive to create a network in the area which it could then make available to local businesses and residents.
The move could also support the operation of the 5G testbed around Brighton – one of the schemes supported by the Digital Catapult.
The document submitted to the policy and resources committee says the ring would be a shared access duct with a fibre optic spine running in a 5.5km loop, with spurs, around the city centre. It would link just 10 sites, including the Brighton Digital Exchange, Pavilion Estate and Preston Barracks.
Brighton and Hove has indicated that it will explore the possibility of providing a fibre network for the whole city. It needs to minimise its own risk while ensuring the infrastructure is as open for access as possible.
It is planning to find a supplier by the end of March, stating it will probably be from a framework and might be in a joint procurement with neighbouring Mid Sussex District Council.
A council spokesperson said: “The Research and Innovation Fibre Ring would connect key public sector sties in the city centre with the Brighton Digital Exchange.
“It would be owned by the public sector and operated by a co-operatively owned group of engaged local businesses, encouraging investment from those local digital firms. This will ensure that the economic benefit is felt locally for our small and medium sized enterprises.”
Image: Queens Road, Brighton by Txllxt TxllxT, CC BY-SA 4.0