UK govt creates £190 million fibre fund

The Local Full Fibre Network Challenge Fund is intended to help local authorities showcase the benefits of fibre optic cabling, whilst simultaneously encouraging additional investment from the private sector

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The U.K. government will provide £190 million in funding to help facilitate the rollout of ultra-fast fibre optic networks across the country. 

The newly created Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Challenge Fund, will offer funding to local and public bodies for investment in full fibre networks, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced this week.

The £190 million allocated to the LFFN Fund is part of a broader £1 billion investment package announced by the government a year ago.

"World class connectivity is increasingly essential to people at work and at home. It's vital to ensure the U.K.'s future competitiveness in the global market and our ability to attract investment. Full fibre is fundamental for fashioning a Britain fit for the future," said the U.K.'s minister of state for digital and culture, Matt Hancock.

The scheme is designed to fund full fibre connections to key public buildings and businesses. The state hopes that this will stimulate private sector investment in fibre to connect homes and other businesses.

Earlier this month Vodafone and CityFibre inked a deal to deliver fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services to up to 5 million customers in the U.K. The government doubtless hopes that the new fund will help to facilitate more initiatives like this.

Critics have warned that the current levels of funding are insufficient to meet demand for fibre-optic broadband or to meet the government's own target of providing FTTH services to 10 million U.K. homes and businesses by 2025.

At present, approximately 1 million premises in the U.K. have access to full fibre networks, with the majority of users still relying on legacy copper cabling from the cabinet to their premises.