Community Fibre, with the backing of the government’s National Digital Infrastructure Fund (NDIF), has raised £25 million to roll-out broadband with ultrafast speeds to 100,000 London-based homes by 2019.
Along with further funding from UK pensions investor RPMI Railpen, Community Fibre is on track to roll out full fibre to 500,000 homes by 2022. Currently only 3% of homes in the UK are connected to this form of fast broadband.
The NDIF’s funding round is the first of a £400 million government initiative, aimed at kick-starting the UK’s broadband infrastructure. The initiative is being managed by Amber Infrastructure Group and comprises of part of the government’s Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund.
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Ultrafast speeds in disadvantaged communities
Prioritises will be made around rolling-out full fibre speeds to social housing estates, with the aim of creating new economic opportunities to disadvantaged communities across the city.
Community Fibre’s chief executive, Jeremy Chelot, said: “This funding takes us a step closer to have our full-fibre network available to social housing or private landlords in every borough in London.
In addition to the homes we are connecting, thousands of people will benefit from this investment through the community engagement and upskilling programmes we run on all our instalment projects.”
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Robert Jenrick MP, the government’s exchequer secretary to the treasury, said: “Today’s investment shows how we are delivering better broadband for Londoners who will benefit from fast connections.
As we increasingly live our lives online, it is vital our digital connections can support this. We want to see full fibre broadband rolled out across the UK as quickly as possible and to support a competitive private sector in delivering that objective.”
Earlier this year Ofcom announced plans to raise the UK’s full-fibre coverage from 3% to 20% by 2020. This equates to six million premises earmarked for ultrafast speeds.
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As part of the government’s plans BT’s network division Openreach is required to open its telegraph poles and underground tunnels to competition by 2020/2021 to mitigate the telecom giant’s market dominance.
In March the government announced a £67 million programme called the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. SMEs and surrounding local communities can use the scheme to claim £3,000 against the cost of installing gigabit-ready connections.