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New UK Full Fibre Link Planned to Connect Hampshire into Surrey

Monday, October 25th, 2021 (11:14 am) - Score 1,464
fibre optic data flow 2020

The Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (EM3LEP) has begun inviting private sector firms to express an interest in bidding for work on their plan to build and operate a new 94km long “full fibre” network, which aims to help deliver gigabit-capable broadband to business and communities across Surrey and Hampshire.

The infrastructure, which will initially run from Basingstoke to Guildford – taking in Hook, Camberley, Aldershot, Farnborough, and Farnham (i.e. North Hampshire into West Surrey), involves laying new cables to provide a “step change in the speed and reliability of digital communications matching levels available in major urban areas“.

At present EM3LEP are just starting on the first stages of their procurement process, and they claim that work undertaken for the LEP has “demonstrated how many existing businesses across the EM3 area are being held back and their growth and innovation activities frustrated by the poor services currently available.” The organisation is seeking both investors and contractors to help conduct the work.

EM3 LEP has already completed the detailed design and modelling work for this new fibre spine network, which spans a route that includes more than 90 towns, villages, business parks, residential developments, major public service buildings, data centres and other points of interest.

EM3LEP Fibre Spine Map

Kathy Slack, EM3 LEP Chief Executive, said:

“This project exemplifies two of the most important roles of LEPs: a visionary focus on business needs and the mobilising of partnerships to make things happen. EM3 LEP is a committed leader of this project because we know how important robust and future proofed digital connectivity is to business success, the delivery of outstanding public services, and attracting investors into our area.”

Rob Leenderts, NGIS CEO (technical and commercial advisers), said:

“The EM3 fibre spine represents an excellent opportunity to invest in a solution where much of the hard work in terms of survey and design has already been completed – and if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything it is that the value and need for Gigabit connectivity is immense.

The detailed planning and design work, coupled with demand modelling, and support from local highways teams will mean that operators can instead focus faster on delivering more “last mile” connections, so that as many people in the area as possible can be offered high-speed, high-quality services. It also allows investors to participate in something that is urgently needed without having to fund the full cost.”

EM3 said they are “working closely” with many local authorities across Surrey and Hampshire. Work on installing the new gigabit fibre network is expected to start by the “middle of 2022” and be completed within 18-months. As sections of the route are finished, they can be brought into operation so that businesses and residents do not have to wait for improved services until the entire route has been built out. See Project Details.

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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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