Peterborough heralded as an example to the nation as new broadband venture is launched

Andrew Jones MP.
Andrew Jones MP.

An initiative to upgrade internet access for millions of homes and businesses was launched today in Peterborough.

Treasury minister Andrew Jones unveiled the government’s £400 million Digital Economy Fund, which it is hoped will unlock more than £1 billion for better broadband connections across the country.

The launch took place at the Allia Future Centre, in London Road, in front of an audience of civic leaders and business people.

Mr Jones said: ”As technologies change and people’s habits move with them, it is crucial we play our part to ensure Britain stays at the front of the pack.

“Gone will be the days where parents working from home see their emails grind to a halt while a family member is gaming or streaming Game of Thrones in the next room.

“Full fibre will provide us with the better broadband we need to ensure we can work flexibly and productively, without connections failing.”

Mr Jones said: “We’ve come to Peterborough because Peterborough is leading the way in this.”

Peterborough was the winner of Smart City of the Year at the 2015 World Smart City Awards.

It has a 120km full fibre network, built by an independent network builder and operator, CityFibre,

The city is seen as a prime candidate for further extension of the network to residential areas, which the new fund could help finance.

Mr Jones said: “Peterborough is an example of what can be achieved and we want to see other parts of the country really catch up with Peterborough.”

“This scheme is ready to start investing today.

“This is a long term investment. It will take 10 to 15 years to have full fibre network across the country.

“The fact there is already a 120 kilometre full fibre network in this city is testament to the people who run the city who have been quite far sighted in their attitudes.”

Two infrastructure investment firms - Amber Fund Management and M&G Investments, have been appointed to manage the fund.