Project Gigabit summer update: significant progress made by industry
A summer update to Project Gigabit was announced today, with DCMS outlining future investment and rollout plans for 26 counties including Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Kent.
Following the publication of the Project Gigabit Phase One Delivery Plan in March 2021, this update to the Plan sets out a proposed procurement pipeline for Phases 1 and 2 with modelled premises numbers.
DCMS rightly acknowledges the significant progress made by the telecoms industry who have committed to increase their commercial investment. This progress made across all areas of the UK since March underlines the confidence investors have in UK infrastructure investment.
Operators such as CityFibre (8-10 million premise connections), Openreach (25 million by the end of 2026)—as well as Gigaclear and Hyperoptic and new joint venture Virgin Media O2—have set out their commitment to meeting government’s targets: the market is on track to deliver gigabit-capable networks to at least 80% of UK premises by December 2025.
What these commitments mean is that the need for government-industry collaboration and dialogue is more important than ever: DCMS recognises the onus on them to understand and challenge industry plans so it uses public funding to best effect.
The update to Project Gigabit also provides a progress-check on DCMS preparations for Local Supplier and Regional Supplier procurements. The smaller Local Supplier procurements have moved forward: DCMS launched the Dynamic Purchasing System on 4 May 2021 and over 70 telecoms providers have registered their interest. This is an important milestone and means DCMS is ready to start the first competitions as soon as intervention areas are shaped following Public Review.
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