Superfast fibre broadband could soon come to Leeds

Could Leeds soon have one of the world's most hi-tech internet infrastructure?
Could Leeds soon have one of the world's most hi-tech internet infrastructure?

Plans to introduce state-of-the-art high-speed internet in Leeds are set to go before council decision-makers next week.

Leeds City Council wants to create what is known as a full fibre gigabit-capable network across nearly 600 schools and public sector sites, and 156 NHS buildings.

The authority says that the faster internet speeds can help the authority connect more closely with its residents and workers, while attracting more investment into the city.

It is also hoped such a move could lead to the introduction of 5G – a super-fast wireless mobile internet service.

A report, which is set to go before the authority’s executive committee next week, claims faster internet could help future-proof the city for future technological advancements.

It states: “It is anticipated that the creation of a full fibre digital infrastructure will be an attractive commercial investment opportunity for telecommunications network wholesalers and operators, who will want to build on to this new provision in order to deliver broadband and possibly 5G services to residents and businesses.

“This aligns with the Council’s inclusive growth ambitions to bring a choice of connectivity types and providers to residents and businesses in Leeds.”

Although it is not yet known how much the authority will pay for the upgrade, research cited in the report suggests costs could range between £32m and £58m for the entire programme.

A statement from Coun 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.

“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.”

Leeds City Council is expected agree to begin a procurement process to find a provider for the service.

Leeds City Council’s executive board will meet on Wednesday, February 13.