4 September 2017

Government Announces Gigabit Broadband Scheme

The British government has announced which areas of the country will benefit from a £10m pilot scheme intended to deliver broadband internet connections capable of Gigabit speeds (1 billion bits per second).

The chosen areas are Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, West Sussex, Coventry and Warwickshire, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. The scheme from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport allows businesses to bid for vouchers worth up to £3,000 for “gigabit-capable” connectivity, and will pay the ongoing line rental costs.

The most common mechanism for delivering Gigabit class internet connections is Fibre To The Premises/Home (FTTP or FTTH). Today’s announcement expects fibre to be used in most cases under the scheme, but not exclusively.

The scheme will be funded from the £200m “full-fibre” investment announced in the Spring budget and is intended to stimulate private sector investment in full-fibre broadband. The remaining £190m is due to be spent by 2020/21.

Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Jones MP said: “Full-fibre connections are the gold standard and we are proud to announce today the next step to get Britain better connected.”

Minister of State for Digital Matt Hancock MP said: “We want to see more commercial investment in the gold-standard connectivity that full fibre provides, and these innovative pilots will help create the right environment for this to happen.

“To keep Britain as the digital world leader that it is, we need to have the right infrastructure in place to allow us to keep up with the rapid advances in technology now and in the future.”

Some locations in Britain already have FTTP/H Gigabit-class connections. For example, residents at the new Circus West development at Battersea Power Station can enjoy fibre connections direct to their homes provided by supplier Hyperoptic.