Plans have been announced for three more local authority areas to obtain fibre broadband networks.
Openreach is to provide all 20,000-plus premises in Salisbury with fibre broadband, while CityFibre will build new networks in Bournemouth and Northampton.
Salisbury will become the first city in the country to have complete access to Openreach’s ‘fibre-to-the-premises’ service, the BT-owned network operator said. Working with Wiltshire County Council and Salisbury City Council, it plans to build the new network in a year and have it available to order by April 2020.
The move won the approval of Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, who visited the city to mark the announcement (pictured).
“I’m delighted that Salisbury will be the first UK city to gain universal access to the gold standard of the internet – ultrafast full fibre – making it one of the most cutting edge cities in the country,” he said
“It’s vital that every family and business across the country can benefit from this new technology, which is why we’ve committed to deliver a nationwide full fibre network by 2033.”
Salisbury has received £1 million in central government funding to support businesses and tourism following the Novichok chemical weapon attack on the city in March of last year by Russian agents.
Openreach has now announced 26 areas that will receive a fibre-to-the-premises service, although Salisbury is the first covering a whole city.
In February 2018 the company said that parts of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester would pioneer the programme, then adding Exeter, the Wirral, Coventry, Nottingham, Belfast and Swansea. In January it announced plans for Bury, Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Croydon, Greater Glasgow, Harrow, Merton, Redbridge, Salford, Sutton Coldfield and Richmond upon Thames. The company is aiming to provide fibre to around 10 million premises by the mid 2020s.
Separately, CityFibre said it will provide similar services in Bournemouth and Northampton, having already announced plans for Milton Keynes, Aberdeen, Peterborough, Coventry, Edinburgh, Stirling and Huddersfield.
“Bournemouth is firmly established as a thriving digital town with a world leading digital sector,” said Councillor John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth Council. “An investment of this size strengthens our position of becoming a first class, smart and connected digital place supporting the future needs of businesses and residents.”
Image of Philip Hammond in Salisbury from his Twitter account