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Government Lists 9 Winning UK Bidders for Wave 3 Full Fibre Fund

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 (2:20 pm) - Score 4,007
fiber optic cable bright

The Government has today confirmed which UK regions have so far secured £53m out of the £95m allocation that was made available to local authorities as part of the £190m Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) challenge fund last year (Wave 3), which aims to stimulate commercial investment in “gigabit capable” broadband networks.

The aim of the LFFN fund is simply to help spread Gigabit (1000Mbps+) class connections to “key public buildings and businesses, with the expectation that this leads to broadband providers (ISP) creating additional connections to local homes and businesses.”

So far we’ve seen this investment being spread via series of pilot projects (£10.4m) and last year a second allocation (Wave 2) of £95.5m was released to successful bidders, which covered 13 different areas / projects across the UK (here and here). A further £95m was then offered during late 2018 as part of Wave 3 and this adopted a different process (here), albeit with the same broad ambition to stimulate “full fibre” availability.

Many of the winning approaches have involved a mix of aggregated demand schemes, as well as opening access to existing public sector infrastructure and dark fibre builds etc. Sadly today’s announcement doesn’t include any detail on the various accepted projects, although we have already reported on several of them (e.g. Shetland’s £2m LFFN bid and the £4.5m South Essex project).

Wave 3 LFFN Winners (So Far)
Colchester £3.5 million
Rutland £2.0 million
Isle of Wight £0.8 million
Shetland Islands £2.0 million
Norfolk £8.0 million
South Essex £4.5 million
North Wales £8.0 million
Stoke-on-Trent £9.2 million
Northern Ireland £15.0 million

NOTE: Technically it’s 10 areas if we include the £5.9 million project in Suffolk, which was awarded before last year’s budget announcement.

The LFFN programme is expected to run until 31st March 2021 and is being used to support the Government’s “strategy for delivering a nationwide full fibre network by 2033.” At present only 6% of UK premises have access to such a network but this is rising at an increasingly rapid pace (see our Summary of Full Fibre Plans).

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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.
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3 Responses
  1. Avatar AnotherTim

    The problem with spreading gigabit connections to “key public buildings and businesses”, is that many of the areas that don’t have fast connections yet don’t have any “key public buildings and businesses” either.
    There is one primary school within 4 miles of my house, and I can’t think of any other building that may be eligible. The school already has FTTC.

  2. Avatar Gary HILTON


    Exactly, I’ve posted comments on this on other forums before, small villages with schools etc generally have clusters of houses/shops surrounding them and that makes them financially viable for FTTC, also these exact locations seem to be where cabinets are located, For some it will bring the AG node closer which is what should have happened when they did the fttc bduk build. But I’m sceptical about just how much deeper penetration into rural areas this will actually achieve.

  3. Avatar Gary HILTON

    Sorry for the double post,, But despite the merit of providing FTTP to local schools ‘hubs’, are those locations really the best position to choose when you are supposed to be building a New fibre network for the future. They should be installing equipment and fibre in the most sensible place for further expansion, not at some ‘key public building’

    It may be Key for the service it provides but that has nothing to do with its suitability as a Hub for FTTP, Its very possible these locations should actually be a spur out from a better location.

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