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Sheffield City Council boosts full fibre deployment


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Sheffield City Council has signed an agreement with Openreach for the fast deployment of a full fibre digital network to homes and businesses in the city.

The agreement comes after the council’s Digital Connectivity Strategy was endorsed by councillors last week.

It includes the council acting as an anchor institution, offering the use of council owned assets in exchange for a rental income and some form of digital connectivity service. It also involves an investment-friendly approach to wayleaves, planning and highways to encourage network operators to quickly install full fibre, 5G and other telecommunications infrastructure.

Other elements include ensuring that council enabled networks can be used as accessible innovation testbeds, seeking further investment in the Superfast South Yorkshire programme, and drawing up a transport network digital connectivity plan.

Sheffield has also drawn up a Digital Connectivity Charter, which includes measures that provide the council with assurance that Openreach will minimise the amount of construction work required, and that any that is required will meet quality and safety standards.

Place to invest

Councillor Bryan Lodge, cabinet adviser for finance, resources and governance, said: “We want Sheffield to be recognised by the digital industry as an attractive place to invest, where the local authority proactively supports operators and removes barriers to the deployment of infrastructure.

“We accept that as a core city, there is much to do. Signing an agreement of this kind with Openreach shows that we are receptive to improving our digital reach and are ambitious to work with other companies that enable us to be at the forefront of 21st century communications. Sheffielders deserve it.”

Sheffield is well served by digital connectivity technology. For example, it has superfast broadband coverage – download speeds of 30Mbps – of 96.5% of the city and 4G coverage ranging from 72.1% to 96.2% depending on network operator.

But the council said both technologies are incapable of meeting future demands for speed, capacity, reliability, and responsiveness; and are fast approaching end of life.

Image by Monika, CC BY SA 2.0


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