UK government finds further funds for full fibre

In his Spring Statement the UK Chancellor allocated £95 million for the first wave of its Local Full Fibre Network scheme.

The scheme was announced six months ago but now 13 areas are all getting a share of half of the £190 million originally allocated to try to kick-start local investment in fibre infrastructure. The thinking behind this seems similar to the 5G cash that was served up yesterday – to catalyse and incentivise private investment in UK telecoms infrastructure and use-cases.

While the sums involved in this sort of thing can seem like a drop in the ocean, it’s got to be better than nothing. There must surely be unanimity that boosting a country’s telecoms infrastructure must surely also boost its economic fortunes and anything that contributes to that should be celebrated. Having said that we mustn’t over-praise the UK government’s telecoms virtue-signalling while such small sums are involved.

“ISPA welcomes the announcement of the next stage of the Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund, with half of the £190m fund to be allocated to help roll out full-fibre to local areas,” said ISPA Chairman, Andrew Glover. “ISPA has been working with members and government to maximise the impact of the fund and we look forward to receiving a further update. We further welcome the £25m allocated for the first six 5G testbeds.

“Long term investment in the UK’s telecoms networks, including through the LFFN Challenge Fund, remains a key priority in delivering reliable and leading edge communication services. In addition to targeted support, Government must also continue to reform and remove barriers to broadband rollout to ensure the UK remains well connected and able to compete in a global digital economy.”

Here are the regions and the amount of cash they’ve asked for. For some reason the government is reserving the right to give them less than the stated amount if it feels like it, but that’s the public sector for you.

Location LFFN Funding
Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon £2.4m
Belfast £11.5m
Blackpool £3.0m
Cambridgeshire £4.0m
Cardiff £6.0m
Coventry, Solihulll & Warwick £5.7m
Highlands £4.5m
London £8.5m
Manchester £23.8m
Mid Sussex £2.2m
Portsmouth £3.9m
North Yorkshire (NYNet) £15.1m
Wolverhampton £4.9m


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