Leeds City Council and BT Enterprise have announced a £20.3m million partnership to provide full fibre connectivity around the city.
It will involve the provision of a fibre broadband network to 293 council owned buildings, 156 NHS buildings and council housing across the city.
The network will be installed by BT Enterprise’s infrastructure partner Openreach under the Leeds Full Fibre Programme, with the aim of making connections available to 4 million homes and businesses by March of next year.
It should also support a multi-network 5G infrastructure from 2023, providing coverage 70% of the city and 81% of its council houses. The city council said this should help to combat the digital divide in Leeds.
The programme will also all the council and its partners to explore the use of 5G products and services. It cited the example of the Safer Leeds initiative.
Leeds Council and BT are also set to work on a number of projects to promote digital inclusion, including skills sessions for schoolchildren, young people not in education and older and more vulnerable people.
Additionally, BT will create a flexible fund, co-governed by the council, to support community initiatives. They will also look at connectivity options for those most in need, particularly in council housing.
Councillor James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resources, said: “We’re pleased to launch this programme, which will mean faster, more reliable broadband for the NHS and schools in Leeds as well as the vast majority of our council houses and private residents.
“Rolling out full fibre in Leeds will mean quicker, more responsive public services for our residents and attracting more high quality jobs to the area as businesses are keen to invest in cities with 5G connectivity.”
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