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Six UK regions trial full fibre broadband thanks to £200m scheme

Monday, September 4th 2017 by Oprah Flash

As part of a new £200m government scheme, six regions around Britain will soon have access to the “UK’s fastest and most reliable” broadband connections.

The pilot to test new fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband will begin in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, West Sussex, Coventry and Warwickshire, Bristol, Bath and north east Somerset, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

Hospitals, schools and businesses will be among the first to benefit from full fibre broadband with speeds up to a gigabit (1,000Mbps).

The project was announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond at the Spring Budget and is part of a four-year plan to stimulate the growth of full fibre throughout Britain. £10m of the budget will be used on this project.

Faster speeds provided by the new FTTP technology will allow hospitals to share HD quality graphics of medical scans in a matter of seconds to improve diagnosis speeds, the government said, while schools and businesses will also benefit.

Currently, only 2% of British households can access full-fibre services. The majority of properties access broadband via fibre to the cabinet (FFTC) technology, which uses a combination of fibre cables and traditional copper wires.

Andrew Jones, the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “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 the next step to get Britain better connected.”

'Digital world leader'

The government have given assurances that the remaining £190 million will be spent by 2020/21. The FTTP programme is part of the £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund aimed at improving living standards by improving national productivity. £740m has already been put aside for improving Britain’s digital infrastructure.

Digital minister Matt Hancock said: “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.”

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

The voucher scheme ran from March 2014 to March 2016 and provided more than 40,000 SMEs with a faster connection. The study found that this had a positive impact on turnover and employment.

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