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Ambitious Full Fibre network plan for Leeds

Detailed as part of a report submitted to Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday 13 February 2019, members will have the chance to approve a proposal that the authority, through procurement, seeks a partner to build and deliver a Full Fibre gigabit capable network across public sector owned sites. These would include 297 schools, 293 council-owned buildings and 156 NHS buildings. If approved and implemented, the introduction of a Full Fibre network offering improved connectivity and providing significantly faster speeds and more consistent connections would offer a range of benefits, including:

• Using the introduction of Full Fibre network at public sector sites as a catalyst to encourage private sector investment in the wider roll out of fibre to residential and commercial premises adjacent to authority buildings and routes. This would give residents and businesses greater access and choice in their connectivity options and support the competiveness of existing businesses. It would also importantly, help close the digital and social divide that exists reaching communities and local businesses where access to good connectivity options are currently limited.

• Supporting the council and partners in their work to improve the delivery of their services. This includes for example, providing staff and pupils at schools across Leeds with the chance to diversify and improve learning methods through high-quality connectivity, and being able to explore further the widespread opportunities that are available to residents through digital and telehealth solutions.

• Boosting the attractiveness of Leeds to new businesses through the introduction of what would be the largest scale Full Fibre gigabit network and 5g capable city in the UK outside London.

Leeds is already benefitting from significant commercial investment in Full Fibre networks. To date investment plans have focused on the more urban parts of the district. By using council and other public sector buildings as anchors it is hoped that the council can encourage private sector investment more widely across the city. As part of the report the council is underlining its commitment to ensure that all parts of the district enjoy the benefits of improved connectivity.

To view the full executive board report, please see:

Cllr James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resource and sustainability said:

“The council has set out a clear ambition for Leeds to be recognised as a leading digital city, and if we are to achieve this goal, it is vitally important that we ensure that the very best infrastructure and technology is in place.

“I very much welcome therefore this report to the executive board that sets out our plans to undertake a procurement process for a Full Fibre network programme to be built and made available at hundreds of public sector owned sites across Leeds. This will not only provide more public sector organisations such as the council, NHS and our schools with an opportunity to develop new and better ways in how they work and learn, but also provide vitally, more of our residents and businesses in currently badly served areas with an opportunity to enjoy the many benefits of easy, full access to Full Fibre connectivity. This type of offer will act as another important driver in making sure that Leeds remains somewhere that is extremely attractive to inward investment from major organisations, institutions and businesses.”