Bids encouraged to share £95 million Government ‘full fibre’ broadband boost

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The lights on the front panel of a broadband internet router (Yui Mok/PA)

Minister for Digital Margot James has called on local authorities to bid for a share of £95 million to aid the rollout of “full fibre” broadband across the UK.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced more than £1 billion of funding in 2017 to boost faster rollout of “full fibre” networks.

A £190 million Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) Challenge Fund was earlier launched by Government to help commercial investment in networks around the country.

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Digital minister Margot James (BBC/PA)

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said successful projects in this latest and third round of funding would help provide gigabit capable connections to public buildings and businesses, while encouraging broadband providers to create additional connections to homes.

Ms James said: “We recently set out our ambition for a nationwide full-fibre broadband network by 2033, and initiatives like this will be instrumental in achieving that.

“We want to hear from any local authority interested in taking part, so we can work closely with them on their plans to help them secure funding.”

Funding decisions, the department said, would be made by the LFFN Investment Panel – which would analyse all proposals placing importance on criteria including any rural focus or projects targeting improvements to public sector services such as in health or education.

Local bodies are being asked to submit informal expressions of interest with no fixed date for formal applications, it added.

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