Economy

West Sussex chosen to trial super-fast broadband in £10m pilot

Unveiled by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, at Spring Budget, it is part of the government's four-year plan to stimulate the market and encourage the growth of full fibre up and down the country.

However, analysts have suggested that as full-fibre broadband gigabit-capable cables are expected to be shared between many different premises, it could mean that the actual data download speeds available to users may prove to be significantly below the theoretical maximum.

Backed by around £10 million in funding, the pilots are set to launch in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, West Sussex, Coventry and Warwickshire, Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

Openreach, which is the largest broadband infrastructure provider in the United Kingdom, said last June that it planned to connect two million premises via FTTH by 2020.

Openreach plans to deliver ultrafast broadband to the majority of the United Kingdom by 2025 using a combination of G.Fast, which speeds up copper connections, and FTTP.

Andrew Jones, who is the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said "How we live and work today is directly affected by how good our broadband connection is".

The government said it aimed to spend the remaining balance of the fund by the end of 2021.

The announcement follows on from the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, which was originally announced in November 2016, and then announced again in July 2017.

The technology involved is known as full-fibre because it takes high-speed cables directly to premises. £740m has already been put aside for improving Britain's digital infrastructure.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also released information about the positive impact of their Connection Voucher Scheme.

"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".

Also published this week is the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme Impact and Benefits Study, which reports on the outcomes of the government's broadband connection voucher scheme that ran between 2014 and 16 as part of the SuperConnected Cities initiative.



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