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Cambridgeshire UK Tout £5.5m to Boost FTTP Broadband and Mobile

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 (11:36 am) - Score 678
fiber optic cable blue

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority in England has today proposed to invest a further £5.5 million into helping expand the availability of 300Mbps capable FTTPfull fibre” broadband, as well as improving Mobile (4G and 5G) and public WiFi coverage over the next 4 years.

At present the local Connecting Cambridgeshire project is already working alongside Openreach (BT) to help extend fixed line “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) coverage from around 96% today to 99% of homes and businesses in the county by the end of 2020 (here). On top of that Cityfibre also has a large Dark Fibre (FTTP) network around the city of Peterborough that caters for both businesses and public sector sites (here).

Last week the local authority was given another boost after the Government awarded £4m to Cambridgeshire from their Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) challenge fund (here) and as a result we already know how some of this will be spent (here); extending 40km of fibre optic ducting from St Ives to Linton for commercial operators, linking more public buildings and supporting Gigabit connections to local businesses via a voucher scheme.

Today the combined authority has also set out plans for investing an additional £5.5m in order to support their “ambitious plans for improving mobile, broadband and public Wi-Fi coverage for everyone – whether at home or work, on the move, in market towns or rural villages.”

Apparently this extra funding will be used to “extend” the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme (more money may also come from matching this investment with the private sector), although at present we’ve only been given a very vague outline.

The delivery programme would work with telecoms providers and mobile operators to:

· Improve mobile network coverage so that people can make reliable mobile phone calls and use 4G across the whole geography of the county, including A and B roads, and rail services by 2022.

· Expand public access Wi-Fi services to market towns, so more people can get online in public buildings and open spaces, as is already in place in Cambridge and Peterborough.

To prepare for the next generation of mobile services and full fibre networks, the programme could also:

· Target a threefold expansion of full fibre networks bringing ‘fibre to the premise’ (FTTP) services offering broadband speeds of up to 300Mbps.

· Be among the first in the country to trial future facing 5G services, working with businesses to maximise the impact and generate long term benefits for the area.

In the grander scheme of things £5.5m won’t go very far on the “full fibre” coverage front, although every little helps.

Steve Count, Cambridgeshire County Council Leader, said:

“This is a golden opportunity to build on Connecting Cambridgeshire’s experience and track record of successful delivery, which has established Cambridgeshire as a leading digital county.

Our superfast broadband rollout is aiming for over 99% coverage by the end of 2020 and we have just been allocated up to £4million Government funding to help to bring full fibre connectivity – capable of gigabit speeds of over 1000Mbps – to the county.

By working together with the Combined Authority and telecoms operators, we can meet the ever increasing demand for digital and mobile connectivity which is vital to support economic growth and help our communities to thrive.”

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board (CPCA) are due to hold a key meeting on Wednesday 28th March 2018, which should rubber stamp the new strategy. However we might need to wait until some suitable suppliers have been selected before we know precisely what impact all of this will have.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar 3G Infinity (now 4G going on 5G)

    300Mbps is not ‘full’ fibre, minimum is 1Gbps

    • 10Mbps, 100Mbps, 300Mbps or even 1Gbps etc. can be “full fibre” if it’s actually delivered over a true optical fibre all the way to your home or office. Speed doesn’t define the technology. I suspect the reference to 300Mbps above is possibly a hint that they’re looking more toward Openreach’s residential FTTP tier or similar.

      The later comment then references 1000Mbps so at worst their messaging is a little confused.

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