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'Full fibre' broadband to be piloted in six areas of the UK

Businesses, schools and hospitals in six areas of the UK are to benefit from faster internet connections under a pilot scheme funded by the government.

Testing of 'full fibre' broadband networks will take place in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, west Sussex, Coventry and Warwickshire, Bristol and Bath and north east Somerset, west Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, the government said. Approximately £10 million of public funds will support the trials. The government said it had received 125 applications from "communications providers, local bodies and other interested parties" that were seeking to participate in the scheme.

At the moment, copper wires often carry the data transmitted over broadband networks in the so-called 'last mile' of connectivity to properties. However, 'full fibre' networks involve connecting those properties up to the network using fibre optic cables. These provide for far greater bandwith that the copper wires.

The UK's digital minister Matt Hancock said: "We want to see more commercial investment in the gold standard connectivity that full fibre provides, and these innovative pilots will help create the right environment for this to happen. To keep Britain as the digital world leader that it is, we need to have the right infrastructure in place to allow us to keep up with the rapid advances in technology now and in the future."

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones, said: "How we live and work today is directly affected by how good our broadband connection is. Reliable connections enable new industries to flourish, help create jobs and give people flexibility in how and where they work. For our economy to thrive, it is vital we make smart investments to ensure our digital infrastructure is world class and fit for the future."

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