Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire are among six pilot areas of the UK to share £10m from Government to help bring full fibre broadband networks straight to the doors of homes and businesses.
The pilots are the first stage of a £200m four-year scheme unveiled in this year’s spring Budget by Philip Hammond.
The areas are Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire, West Sussex, Coventry & Warwickshire, Bristol & Bath & North East Somerset, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.
The £10m will be used to test “innovative ways of connecting offices and public sector buildings with the next generation of broadband”.
Full fibre broadband is designed to offer speeds of 1 Gigabit, or 1,000 Mbps.
In July, GM mayor Andy Burnham hosted a digital summit and pledged to make the city region the UK’s tech leader, supported by a skills and infrastrcture programme.
The decision to proceed with the pilots follows the Government’s call for evidence on extending local fibre networks. The government received 125 submissions from communications providers, local bodies and other interested parties.
Property was a recurring issue, the report’s authors said: “The installation of fibre connections in new properties was raised by a number of respondents, including suggestions that all new build properties within 1km of existing fibre infrastructure should be connected to a fibre network and that property developers should be required to register communications infrastructure needs at the same time as other utilities.
“The agreement between the Home Builders Federation and Openreach was cited as an example of good progress in this area. Increasing competition for new build infrastructure was also raised as a way to help to improve coverage. The role of local bodies in determining the requirements for developments in their area was highlighted and examples were given of local authority actions in this area.”
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.”
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.