The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has called on local authorities to bid for shares of £95 million to help roll out full fibre broadband connectivity across the UK.
It is looking to allocate third and final round of funding under the £1 billion Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund, aimed at stimulating investment in commercial full fibre networks.
The department said that successful projects in this round of funding will enable gigabit capable connections to key public buildings and businesses and encourage broadband providers to create additional connections to local homes and businesses.
Minister for Digital, Margot 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.”
The final decision on funding will be made by the Local Full Fibre Networks Investment Panel. DCMS has indicated that the panel will place an emphasis on factors that include public sector productivity, looking at projects such as giving schools access to cloud based educational tools or supporting remote healthcare.
Other priorities include extending high speed broadband into rural and remote areas, removing obstacles to the roll out of 5G networks, and developing full fibre markets in a particular area.
There will be no fixed date for formal submissions. Instead, interested local bodies have been invited to submit an informal expression of interest to the programme.
Government officials will then help to assess their projects and where appropriate help them shape their approach.
The programme is part of the Government’s expanded £31 billion National Productivity Investment Fund, which is aimed at improving productivity and has already earmarked £740 million for improving Britain’s digital infrastructure.
Image: by neiljaxx CC BY 2.0 via flickr