unveils six areas to pilot full-fat fibre, and London ain’t on the list

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Government has revealed the first six areas in Blighty to trial speeds of 1Gbps in a £10m pilot, as previously revealed by The Register.

The areas include Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, West Sussex, Coventry and Warwickshire, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

In August, the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport had told industry it would trial a scheme to allow businesses to bid for vouchers worth up to £3,000 for “gigabit-capable” connectivity, and will pay the ongoing line rental costs.

That will most likely to be delivered by fibre but not exclusively so, said the documents.

The model is similar to that of the £100m broadband connection voucher scheme for speeds of more than 30Mbps in 2013-15, which was re-scoped after initially experiencing poor take-up from small businesses.

The latest scheme will be funded via the £200m “full-fibre” investment pot announced in the Spring budget and intended to leverage private sector investment in full-fibre broadband. The remaining £190m is due to be spent by 2020/21.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Jones MP said: “Full-fibre connections are the gold standard and we are proud to announce today the next step to get Britain better connected.”

Minister of State for Digital Matt Hancock MP said: “We want to see more commercial investment in the gold-standard connectivity that full fibre provides, and these innovative pilots will help create the right environment for this to happen.

“To keep Britain as the digital world leader that it is, we need to have the right infrastructure in place to allow us to keep up with the rapid advances in technology now and in the future.” ®

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