Full fibre, gigabit broadband is a national priority and key to Bristol’s future prosperity. The experiences of the pandemic has shown us that fast reliable broadband is crucial to supporting remote working and learning, and businesses benefit from better broadband in boosting their productivity, serving customers in new ways and innovating more.
What is the project and its benefits
The Avonmouth Fibre Extension (AFE) project extends the council’s BNET duct and fibre infrastructure through the North Western arc of the city and reaches Avonmouth. This project provides 30km of enabling fibre infrastructure to provide gigabit broadband to public services, like: schools, libraries, adult community care; as well as supporting the connectivity needs of key services to keep our city safe and moving, like traffic signals and CCTV.
The extension passes through some of Bristol’s most disadvantaged areas and will provide opportunities for working with commercial partners to provide better broadband choice and competition to people living in social housing in the area. The extension reaches the key enterprise and economic development area of Avonmouth and Severnside to also enable commercial build out to businesses.
This project will also make the area more attractive to inward investment from private telecoms companies to build out to homes and businesses across the North West of the city to provide full fibre, gigabit broadband and provide new choice and competition in Bristol’s broadband market.
Scheme successfully delivered – what next?
The project completed in September 30 delivering on all its main objectives.
One of the primary goals of the project – the attraction of new inward investment – has already been realised with a major investment from a commercial telecoms provider (VX Fibre) to build out in the area to homes and businesses. This build out is already well advanced and will lead to new choice and competition in broadband services and full fibre, gigabit services being available to thousands of premises for the first time. We are also working on a comprehensive benefits realisation package to improve broadband choice and improve digital inclusion, this includes more affordable broadband packages for disadvantaged people in social housing,
The extension has made BNET – the council’s duct and fibre network – a truly citywide resource with an open access offer to all telecoms providers to attract further digital investment to the city.
Contact BNET@bristol.gov.uk for further information. Visit our mapping of BNET
Funding – made possible by UK Government
We are very grateful to Building Digital UK (BDUK) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for their support and funding to help us successfully deliver the extension.
Reusing existing underground assets
Where possible, this project will refurbish existing unused underground assets and incorporate them into the city’s BNET network. Reusing existing council-owned duct and chambers reduces the environmental impact of this scheme and repurposes our assets to enable full fibre for this part of the city. 85% (26km) of this extension reuses and repairs existing underground duct.
Some of these ducts (small underground tunnels) and chambers need to be repaired and so there will be short term, localised excavations in the footway as we do remedial work in the Winter and Spring of 2021.
In order to connect the extension to the existing BNET network and to reach some of the schools and public service buildings we want to connect in the future, there will be some limited construction of new build duct in Stoke Bishop, Westbury-on-Trym and Southmead. Building new duct accounts for about 15% (4.6km) of the overall length of the extension.
We thank residents and businesses in advance for their understanding of the minor disruption of the street works necessary to deliver this project.
January 2021 to August 2021 – completed mid-September.
Plan of the scheme