Government announces £11.5m to boost Belfast broadband
15 Mar 2018
Belfast City Council has welcomed news it is to receive £11.5m funding from the Government’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) to further boost Belfast’s connectivity.
Belfast is one of 13 areas across the UK which are set to benefit from the first wave of funding from the £190m initiative, the Chancellor announced in his Spring Statement this week.
The funding boost will allow Belfast City Council to install an extensive fibre network connecting approximately 100 council buildings, and will cover areas of the city set to benefit from local regeneration.
Whilst 95% of UK premises can now get superfast broadband, only 3% have access to gigabit-capable full fibre infrastructure.
Councillor Matt Garret, chair of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, said: “This is very welcome news for the city and further enhances our status as a connected, global city in which to do business.
“It’s not just good news for us as a council, but for local businesses and residents too and I’m delighted that our bid for funding has been successful.”
With the need for faster connectivity expected to dramatically increase over the coming years, the LFFN programme aims to leverage local and commercial investment in full fibre.
It will do this through funding a series of projects that seek to stimulate the market by making the deployment of gigabit-capable full fibre infrastructure more commercially viable.
The successful projects include:
• Using hospitals, health centres and GP surgeries as “anchor tenants” - providing a full-fibre “hub” which surrounding homes and businesses can then also be connected to.
• Upgrading schools, libraries and emergency response buildings to gigabit-capable full fibre connections.
• Strategic re-purposing of existing infrastructure, allowing full fibre to be rolled out at a fraction of what it would otherwise cost.
• Creating “fibre spines” along major transport routes and public building networks. These extend a supplier’s fibre footprint, making full fibre connections more available to surrounding homes and businesses.
The LFFN programme is part of the Government’s £31 billion National Productivity Investment Fund aimed at improving productivity, which is key to raising living standards. A main focus of the government’s Industrial Strategy is ensuring the right connectivity is in place for the for the UK’s digital economy to thrive, and the LFFN programme forms a vital part of this work.