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Government Name 100 England Towns Set for Faster Broadband Boost

Friday, September 6th, 2019 (8:16 am) - Score 7,468
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At the end of July the UK Government announced that part of their new £3.6bn Towns Fund would go toward supporting an initial 100 towns “so that they will get the improved transport and improved broadband connectivity that they need” (here). The names of those towns, which includes a few cities, have today been published.

In our original report we speculated the the additional funding could be used to support Boris Johnson‘s (Prime Minister) pledge to have “fantastic full fibre [FTTP] broadband sprouting in every household” by 2025 (currently coverage is over 8% of the UK), although he is yet to detail how such a seemingly unachievable date can be met.

Unfortunately the latest update doesn’t shed any new light on how the broadband side of this new investment will work or be used. Current state aid rules may also place some restrictions upon it, although by the sounds of it the Government are leaving this decision up to local authorities.

In any case each town/city looks set to receive up to £25 million and we suspect that most of that will be eaten up by improvements to local transport infrastructure, which seems unlikely to leave much left over for broadband.

Robert Jenrick MP, Local Government Secretary, said:

“Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in London or our biggest cities, is at the heart of the mission of this government.

We want to level-up our great towns, raising living standards and ensuring they can thrive with transformative investment in transport, technology, skills and culture.

I will now work with local people from the 100 communities announced today to agree proposals to invest up to £25 million in each place. I hope these deals will provide the investment and the impetus for long-term renewal ensuring each town can look to the future with a new optimism.”

Many of the towns on the list already have good access to superfast and sometimes even ultrafast broadband ISP infrastructure, while some of them also have significant rollout plans underway for new Gigabit capable full fibre networks by commercial operators (e.g. Bournemouth) like Cityfibre, Virgin Media and / or Openreach (BT).

However we can certainly perceive of the new funding being used in a similar way to the existing Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme, such as by building new fibre optic networks to upgrade connectivity for public sites and then making that network available (open access wholesale) for commercial operators to extend out into local homes and businesses.

Hopefully we’ll get a better idea next year after the towns have had a chance to debate their plans for the additional funding. The government will also soon publish a prospectus to guide towns through the process and set eligibility criteria for funding, which may give us some more hints.

We should point out that further towns are likely to be added to this list in the future, so this won’t be the last announcement.

Town Fund – The First 100 Towns (September 2019)

Town Local Authority
Barrow-in-Furness Barrow-in-Furness
Bedford Bedford
Birkenhead Wirral
Bishop Auckland County Durham
Blackpool Blackpool
Bloxwich Walsall
Blyth (Northumberland) Northumberland
Bolton Bolton
Boston Boston
Bournemouth Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
Bridgwater Sedgemoor
Brighouse Calderdale
Burton upon Trent East Staffordshire
Camborne Cornwall
Carlisle Carlisle
Castleford Wakefield
Cheadle (Greater Manchester) Stockport
Clay Cross North East Derbyshire
Cleator Moor Copeland
Colchester Colchester
Corby Corby
Crawley Crawley
Crewe Cheshire East
Darlington Darlington
Darwen Blackburn with Darwen
Dewsbury Kirklees
Doncaster Doncaster
Dudley Sandwell
Glastonbury Mendip
Goldthorpe Barnsley
Goole East Riding of Yorkshire
Grays Thurrock
Great Yarmouth Great Yarmouth
Grimsby North East Lincolnshire
Harlow Harlow
Hartlepool Hartlepool
Hastings Hastings
Hereford Herefordshire
Ipswich Ipswich
Keighley and Shipley Bradford
Kidsgrove Newcastle-under-Lyme
King’s Lynn King’s Lynn and West Norfolk
Kirkby-in-Ashfield Ashfield
Leyland Chorley
Lincoln Lincoln
Long Eaton Erewash
Loughborough Charnwood
Lowestoft East Suffolk
Mablethorpe East Lindsey
Mansfield Mansfield
Margate Thanet
Middlesbrough Middlesbrough
Millom Copeland
Milton Keynes Milton Keynes
Morley Leeds
Nelson (Lancashire) Pendle
Newark-on-Trent Newark and Sherwood
Newcastle-under-Lyme Newcastle-under-Lyme
Newhaven (East Sussex) Lewes
Northampton Northampton
Norwich Broadland
Nuneaton Nuneaton and Bedworth
Oldham Oldham
Penzance Cornwall
Peterborough Peterborough
Preston Preston
Redcar Redcar and Cleveland
Redditch Redditch
Rochdale Rochdale
Rotherham Rotherham
Rowley Regis Sandwell
Runcorn Halton
Scarborough Scarborough
Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire
Skegness East Lindsey
Smethwick Sandwell
Southport Sefton
St Helens (Merseyside) St. Helens
St Ives (Cornwall) Cornwall
Stainforth (South Yorkshire) Doncaster
Stapleford (Nottinghamshire) Broxtowe
Staveley (Derbyshire) Chesterfield
Stevenage North Hertfordshire
Stocksbridge Sheffield
Sutton in Ashfield Ashfield
Swindon Swindon
Telford Telford and Wrekin
Thornaby-on-Tees Stockton-on-Tees
Tilbury Thurrock
Todmorden Calderdale
Torquay Torbay
Truro Cornwall
Wakefield Leeds
Walsall Walsall
Warrington Warrington
West Bromwich Sandwell
Whitby Scarborough
Wolverhampton Wolverhampton
Worcester Worcester
Workington Allerdale

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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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29 Responses
  1. Avatar Rollers

    Kettering misses out again whilst the rest of Northamptonshire seems to get it

  2. Avatar dragoneast

    Ban the private car and boost the broadband. That’d be a good sustainable deal.

  3. Avatar Jonathan

    Well I’m amazed Scarborough appears on the list. Here’s hoping for FTTP.

  4. Avatar Tim

    As always nothing in Kent

  5. Avatar AndyC

    I suspect the money for carlisle is not going to be used for broadband (as such) but for road infrastructure as there’s been a big song and dance here about a southern bypass.

    https://www.itv.com/news/border/2019-02-14/102m-for-carlisles-new-bypass-and-10-000-homes/

    I could of course be totally wrong as its hard to tell if openreach are doing things here as there is some sort of storage yard in carlisle that’s always full of their vans/trucks and a lot of G.fast pods have appeared around the city, not on my cab tho of course 🙁

    • Avatar Kevin

      Use the wholesale ope reach checker and you will find from the first roundabout for Carlisle into town there are fibre to the premise nodes on virtually every telegraph pole, take physical look you be surprised

    • Avatar AndyC

      London road? Interesting will have to look. Thanks

  6. Avatar Paul Griffin

    Swindon is on the list but which part ?

  7. Avatar Steve

    Dorset and Somerset both absent. Nice.

  8. Avatar x

    Robert Jenrick is MP for Newark-on-trent.
    Nice co-incidence.

  9. Avatar Neb

    Any idea when more information on what exactly that means per town listed in terms of funds? £25m could dent most of the commercial FTTP premises in most of those towns but when split with the other projects, especially transport… I wonder if there’ll be any left tbh.

  10. Avatar Archie

    Loughborough?

    Leicestershire essentially doesn’t exist in the minds of the government.

  11. Avatar Paul

    No surprises that more money to be spent where the telecoms companies will get the biggest returns.
    Still no mention of how they intend to solve the rural, semi rural and EO line problems.

  12. Avatar Mark

    Nothing in Devon …bah humbug.

  13. Avatar B

    No Birmingham or Solihull only Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley. We are all in the West Midlands.

  14. Avatar Z

    I wouldn’t of expected Hastings to be on the list!

  15. Avatar Patryk

    No Feltham (London) on the List

  16. Avatar Matthew

    Wish fttp was in my area in welwyn garden city ye I get virgin media but still it’s annoyed me that thay rolled out 500mbps and I cant get that were over the road thay can talk about alinateing the user base

  17. Avatar Andrew Mitchell

    Holy moly.
    Bedford AND Milton Keynes.
    About time!

  18. Avatar Scooby Doo

    Wait!!! a tiny little town Like Rowley Regis which already has 500mb Virgin and up to 330mb Gfast is on the list???

  19. Avatar Rob

    DUDLEY IS NOT IN SANDWELL.
    DUDLEY is a bougth on its own!!!!!!

  20. Avatar William Lane

    Thurrock is that good apparently it had to be on there twice…
    Typical that Northfleet or Gravesend isn’t on the list, yet right over from us (Essex) have a couple of towns that are included.

  21. Avatar Not English

    No Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. Thanks Tories.

  22. Avatar Dan Spurr

    Lincoln’ on the list twice get in. Double internet for me in a million more years

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