Independent digital connectivity advisor FarrPoint has supported the North of Tyne Combined Authority through the bidding process for £12 million of UK government superfast broadband funding.
If successful, the local authority group will extend fibre optic connectivity to over 600 public buildings across Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle by 2024, using funding provided as part of the third wave of the UK government’s Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) initiative.
The LFFN fund is led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and aims to finance projects that will help extend full-fibre infrastructure nationwide.
FarrPoint has already advised on over £2 billion worth of investment in digital connectivity across the UK and has a detailed working knowledge of what central and local governments are aiming to achieve by extending full fibre deep into rural areas.
As North of Tyne Combined Authority’s trusted advisor, FarrPoint has helped develop the business case and the application for the funding. Should the £12 million bid be successful, it will be match-funded by member councils’ existing running costs, generating a total digital infrastructure project budget of £24 million.
By extending superfast broadband into combined public buildings such as libraries and community centres, as well as council premises, the authority will be able to improve the efficiency of public services and provide new work, interaction and leisure opportunities for citizens. After the rollout to 900 public buildings, access to fibre optic cabling may also be extended by commercial providers to local businesses, 5G mobile networks and residents.
FarrPoint’s work with the North of Tyne Combined Authority comes after successfully securing LFFN funding for West Sussex County Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and The Highland Council.
The company’s co-founder, Dr Andrew Muir, said: “This initiative from the newly combined authority group is a significant step as it recognises the value of fibre connectivity for improving public service delivery, and as a building block for powering entrepreneurship, productivity, and more inclusive communities.”