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Nick Hill

Government announces launch of £190m gigabit broadband challenge fund

A new £190m programme aimed at accelerating the rate at which Full Fibre networks are made available across the UK has been launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Last year, the Chancellor announced more than £1bn of funding to stimulate faster roll-out of full fibre networks, alongside investment to take forward the next generation of mobile connectivity in all areas of the UK.

As part of this, the government has now launched this £190m Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Challenge Fund to attract commercial investment in full fibre networks across the whole of the UK, including rural and urban locations.

The fund will enable gigabit capable connections to public buildings and businesses, with the expectation that this leads to broadband providers creating additional connections to local homes and businesses.

Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital, said: “World class connectivity is increasingly essential to people at work and at home.

“It’s vital to ensure the UK’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.”

The government is now calling on a broad range of local bodies - Local Authorities, Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships as well other local public / government bodies such as health, education or transport bodies, to apply to the fund.

This LFFN programme comes as part of the government’s £31bn National Productivity Investment Fund aimed at improving productivity, which is key to raising living standards.

This fund has already earmarked £740m specifically for improving Britain’s digital infrastructure.

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