Thousands of UK public buildings now have gigabit broadband

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The UK government says more than 5,000 public buildings have been connected to ultrafast broadband thanks to its ‘Project Gigabit’ initiative.

The figure includes 1,200 schools, 340 libraries and 50 hospitals, with nearby homes and businesses also benefiting from the rollout as communications services providers (CSPs) like Openreach and others can easily and cost-effectively expand the network.

Other public facilities to benefit include health centres, council offices, community centres, leisure centres, and fire and ambulance stations.

Uk gigabit broadband

The government says the faster connectivity has the potential to transform public services, open new education possibilities, and enhance the quality of healthcare.

The government says it has committed £164 million to this specific area of its broadband upgrade plan as part of the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) plan. This is now viewed as part of a ‘levelling up’ agenda, with broadband seen as a way of narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas, between rich and poor, and promoting economic development around the country.

“Fast and reliable broadband is vital to households, businesses, and the public services we rely on every day,” said digital secretary Nadine Dorries. “That’s why, on top of our transformative £5 billion Project Gigabit investment to improve rural connectivity, we have upgraded thousands of schools, libraries and hospitals across the UK to first class broadband fit for the future.”

It’s worth nothing, however, that only £1.2 billion of £5 billion in promised funding referred to by Dorries will be delivered during this Parliament, with the government also backtracking on its 2019 manifesto pledge to deliver nationwide fibre to the premise (FTTP) coverage by 2025 but the government has since backtracked. The revised target is 85% by 2025, with the government also backing down on its commitment to using full fibre.

Nationwide coverage is now a 2030 target, however the government hasn’t provided any concrete details on how additional funds will be used to reach that figure.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.