Leeds City Council has gone public with a plan to develop a full fibre network around the city, aimed at connecting more than 600 public sector sites.
Senior councillors are due to discuss the plan at next week’s executive board meeting, with a chance to approve a proposal for the authority to find a partner to deliver a network.
It would provide gigabit capable connections for sites including 297 schools, 293 council owned and 156 NHS buildings.
Among the elements of the executive board report on the proposal is that the network could improve the delivery of public services and provide a catalyst for the wider roll out of fibre to residential and commercial premises. It could also make Leeds more attractive to new businesses.
The city has already had significant commercial investment in full fibre networks, although to date investment plans have focused on the more urban parts. By using council and other public sector buildings as anchors it is hoped that the council can encourage private sector investment more widely across the city.
Councillor James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resource and sustainability said: “The council has set out a clear ambition for Leeds to be recognised as a leading digital city, and if we are to achieve this goal, it is vitally important that we ensure that the very best infrastructure and technology is in place.
“I very much welcome therefore this report to the executive board that sets out our plans to undertake a procurement process for a full fibre network programme to be built and made available at hundreds of public sector owned sites across Leeds.
“This will not only provide more public sector organisations such as the council, NHS and our schools with an opportunity to develop new and better ways in how they work and learn, but also provide vitally, more of our residents and businesses in currently badly served areas with an opportunity to enjoy the many benefits of easy, full access to full fibre connectivity.”
The council has already taken steps to improve internet access for residents of the city with the installation of free broadband connections in some of its social housing.
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