Belfast is to receive £11.5 million from the government’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) challenge fund to boost the city’s digital connectivity.

The funding will allow us to install an extensive fibre network connecting 100 council buildings, and areas of the city set to benefit from local regeneration.

With the need for faster connectivity expected to dramatically increase over the coming years, the LFFN programme aims to leverage local and commercial investment in full fibre.

We do this by funding projects that stimulate the market by making the deployment of gigabit-capable full fibre infrastructure more commercially viable.

The successful projects could include:

  • Using hospitals, health centres and GP surgeries as ‘anchor tenants’ providing a full-fibre hub which surrounding homes and businesses can then also be connected to.
  • Upgrading schools, libraries and emergency response buildings to gigabit-capable full fibre connections.
  • Strategic re-purposing of existing infrastructure, allowing full fibre to be rolled out at a fraction of what it would otherwise cost.
  • Creating “fibre spines” along major transport routes and public building networks. These extend a supplier’s fibre footprint, making full fibre connections more available to surrounding homes and businesses.

The LFFN programme is part of the Government’s £31 billion National Productivity Investment Fund aimed at improving productivity, this is key to raising living standards.

A main focus of the government’s Industrial Strategy is ensuring the right connectivity is in place for the for the UK’s digital economy to thrive, and the LFFN programme forms a vital part of this work.