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£12m bid to boost ultrafast broadband across North of Tyne
The North of Tyne Combined Authority is seeking £12 million from the government to upgrade its digital infrastructure and help thousands of homes and businesses benefit from ultrafast broadband rollout.Cabinet members are likely to commit £100,000 to help develop a bid for a share of the Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund and support ongoing negotiations with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. If successful, the investment would be used to install ultrafast fibre optic cabling in up to 900 public buildings across the area by 2024, with the ability to extend access to businesses and residents nearby.The finance, totalling £24 million, would be 50 per cent government-funded and 50 per cent match-funded from member councils’ existing network running costs and would attract new private sector investment and allow service providers to create additional connections for tens of thousands of local homes and businesses. The aim is to ‘future-proof’ high speed networks and support the introduction of new 5G mobile networks in the North of Tyne area.Norma Redfearn, North Tyneside’s elected Mayor, said: “One of our six key priorities as a combined authority is to develop a powerful network of connections, with faster digital infrastructure to create stronger links across the North and internationally. We already have one of the fastest-growing digital sectors in the country and this funding, if we are successful, will enable us to continue to build from a position of strength and make sure our businesses have the digital infrastructure they need to be competitive on a global scale now and in the future. It will help us build better-connected communities and boost economic productivity across the region. We will continue to speak to residents and the business community as this exciting programme takes shape.”