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Upp unveils full fibre network plans to stimulate local economies

Upp has today announced its bold plans to invest £1bn to deploy a full fibre network (FTTH) to 1 million premises by 2025 in eastern England, offering next level broadband to consumers and local businesses. The entirety of the equity financing for the multi-year business plan is already fully committed by Letter One, the management team, and the Board of Directors.

Upp’s plans will boost the UK’s competitive position in the European digital market and create more than 600 new jobs in a sustainable way. Upp’s management team, which is drawn from leaders across the telecoms and technology industries, aims to level up market towns and coastal areas across Norfolk and Lincolnshire that are currently underserved.

Upp is using next-generation technology to power its multi-gigabit fibre network, supported by global suppliers including Nokia, Linksys, Fujikura and Salesforce.com. Supply chain partners have also been carefully selected based on their commitment to social, environmental and sustainability priorities. Upp’s ‘buy local’ principle is already helping regional businesses to invest and grow.

Having secured the necessary regulatory approvals, Upp is deploying its own regional fibre backhaul networks, capitalising on the growing demand for ultrafast broadband that meets the needs of an increasingly online world. Contractors are already building in towns across Norfolk and Lincolnshire. During the build phase, Upp will be extensively using Open reach’s ducts and poles as well as accessing assets from other infrastructure owners to accelerate deployment and minimise traffic disruption.

Upp and its suppliers are generating more than 600 permanent jobs as well as unlocking potential for the younger generation. Working closely with local colleges, we are creating a local academy to develop essential digital skills.

With substantial commitment from international investment firm Letter One, Upp will contribute to bridging the digital divide by delivering on its promise to make competitively priced full fibre a reality for areas where broadband speeds are currently well below the national average.

Lord Davies of Abersoch, Chairman of Letter One said “We are excited to partner with the Upp team to bring next level broadband to underserved regions of the UK. Every region of the UK has the potential to create breakthrough innovators, but no region can do this unless it is connected. We hope our substantial investment in connectivity will set Eastern England up to build back better for generations to come”.

Drew Ritchie, Upp’s Chief Executive Officer added “I am thrilled to lead such a talented, dedicated and experienced team. We are excited to partner with an investor who matches our passion and ambition for the opportunity and shares our commitment to developing the UK’s digital infrastructure. I’m delighted to say that LetterOne has more than met these criteria, backing the business with substantial funding that allows us to concentrate on delivering next level broadband to the communities that need it most.”

Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk and Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss commented “The past year has demonstrated just how vital good broadband is and I know the rollout of full-fibre to the home will be welcomed by local communities. The eastern region is home to a diverse portfolio of businesses from high tech farming to advanced manufacturing. More and more people are relocating to this area of the country, whether this is a lifestyle choice or employment opportunity, and the £1 billion investment and hundreds of jobs by Upp is great news.’’

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “Better broadband improves lives and businesses, which is why we are investing £5 billion in Project Gigabit to ensure even hard-to-reach areas enjoy the same speeds as their more urban counterparts.

“But we cannot do this alone, so I’m delighted to see the substantial investment Upp is making to level up eastern England with the fastest broadband on the planet, creating thousands of jobs along the way.” CT Bureau

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