UK government selects six areas to test new “full-fibre” broadband technology

The UK government has selected six locations to carry out testing of new “full-fibre” broadband technology set to offer homes and businesses data at speeds of one gigabit per second (gbps).

The government will spend approximately 10 million to get the full-fibre broadband projects up and running in Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire, West Sussex, Coventry/Warwickshire, Bristol/Bath/North East Somerset, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

The technology is called “full-fibre” because high-speed cables are directly connected to premises. The scheme eliminates the need to rely on slower copper cables for the final connection to homes and other buildings.

Only 2% of premises in the UK have full-fibre networks available.

Fibre optic cable being laid. Photo: Bidgee [CC BY-SA 3.0 au], via Wikimedia Commons
The announcement represents the first part of a £200 million scheme to “help bring the UK’s fastest and most reliable broadband to businesses, schools and hospitals”. The remaining £190 million will be spent by 2020-21.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said that “full fibre broadband” could potentially allow:

  • hospitals to share HD quality graphics of medical scans in seconds to improve diagnosis speeds
  • businesses to reach ever more customers online, increasing transactions by uploading even the largest files quickly and easily
  • school classrooms to see a vast increase the number of pupils who can stream educational videos at the same time

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones MP, said:

“How we live and work today is directly affected by how good our broadband connection is. Reliable connections enable new industries to flourish, help create jobs and give people flexibility in how and where they work.

“For our economy to thrive, it is vital we make smart investments to ensure our digital infrastructure is world class and fit for the future.

“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, commented:

“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.”