Left to Right: Digital Minister Matt Warman, Cllr Suzy Horton and Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson
Portsmouth schools will be at the forefront of the city's technological revolution after Digital Minister Matt Warman MP visited the city to approve £3.8m of funding.
The money has been given to Portsmouth City Council to establish a new ultrafast fibre network infrastructure between all of the authority's buildings, including schools, community centres and libraries across the city.
It is expected this will lead to a further £50m investment from the private sector to expand the technology's availability to businesses and residents and the council will be announcing partners to work on this project in the coming months.
Matt Warman, Minister for Digital and Broadband said: “We’re absolutely committed to levelling up the country through new infrastructure, and delivering nationwide coverage of gigabit speed broadband as soon as possible.
I’m delighted that Portsmouth is to benefit from £3.8 million from government to give its schools and public services the fastest and most resilient internet speeds around.”
Cllr Suzy Horton, Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Education, said: "This project means Portsmouth is set to compete on an international level for businesses and become a prime place for any looking to for a UK location. However what I'm most excited about is the benefits this will bring to schools and communities.
The difference enriched learning opportunities can make to children is immeasurable and this new network can mean pupils in Portsmouth schools will be able to access cutting-edge technology and be at the forefront of the latest developments in education."
It is not just Portsmouth that will benefit from the work as Portsmouth City Council's offices in Leigh Park and Wecock Farm will ensure the network stretches into neighbouring Havant and Gosport Borough Council has also signed up to be a partner in the project.
Gosport Borough Council Leader Cllr Mark Hook said: "The full fibre network is going to be a massive boost to Gosport. We're delighted to be part of the scheme and hope to see real tangible benefits for local businesses as this progresses."
The deal is a part of the first wave of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s £190m Local Full Fibre Network Challenge Fund programme that aims to help deliver the fastest and most reliable digital communications network available.
It is hoped work to install the necessary infrastructure will begin in 2020 and is expected to take 18 months to two years to complete with sites becoming live on the network throughout the process.