National Grid plots £450 million overhaul of Britain’s fibre network

The programme will see a network operations centre to handle maintenance, address faults and bolster security

fibre optics

The UK National Grid is gearing up to rip out and replace the entirety of Britain’s 2000km fibre optic network and replace it with modernised cables, alongside establishing a network operations centre and improve maintenance. 

The £450 million project, detailed in a government contract put out to tender, comprises five distinct elements but centres chiefly on the provision, repair, support and maintenance of fibre connections from National Grid operational locations. 

The contract also stipulates an “opportunity to innovate for end to end replacement” subject to the outcome of regulatory review, meaning the project could see the UK’s ageing cables ripped out and replaced with more modern infrastructure.  

The programme will also see the creation of a network operations centre that will oversee provision, support and maintenance of the UK’s fibre network, as well as support for enterprise networks with continued security advancements. 

The National Grid also intends to establish an Operational Telecommunications (Optel) Managed Service comprising updated SCADA systems, Optel, data services for electricity transmission, and system operation across customer-owned Optel networks. This element covers full technology replacement and maintenance, along with addressing faults, configuration, accounting, performance and security. 

The contract also involves operating critical national infrastructure and maintaining enterprise networks. This latter portion includes the modernisation of the legacy MPLS transport network, SD-WAN, internet and cloud access, labour for field support, as well as hardware and infrastructure provision and maintenance.

Currently, fibre broadband is available to roughly 96% of the UK, according to price comparison platform Uswitch, but this is largely in the form of fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), with copper cables completing the journey to the premises. 

Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), or gigabit broadband, is only available to a relatively small proportion of the country, with the having previously pledged to deliver high-speed broadband to the whole of the UK by 2025. This vision is in tatters, however, due to a “litany” of shortcomings by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), according to MPs with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Featured Resources

Unlocking collaboration: Making software work better together

How to improve collaboration and agility with the right tech

Download now

Four steps to field service excellence

How to thrive in the experience economy

Download now

Six things a developer should know about Postgres

Why enterprises are choosing PostgreSQL

Download now

The path to CX excellence for B2B services

The four stages to thrive in the experience economy

Download now

Recommended

AT&T pledges $2 billion to help bridge the digital divide
digital divide

AT&T pledges $2 billion to help bridge the digital divide

14 Apr 2021
How to measure your network bandwidth
broadband

How to measure your network bandwidth

26 Mar 2021
FCC proposes emergency broadband subsidies
broadband

FCC proposes emergency broadband subsidies

23 Feb 2021
SpaceX wins $885.5m to connect rural America
broadband

SpaceX wins $885.5m to connect rural America

8 Dec 2020

Most Popular

Microsoft is submerging servers in boiling liquid to prevent Teams outages
data centres

Microsoft is submerging servers in boiling liquid to prevent Teams outages

7 Apr 2021
University of Hertfordshire's entire IT system offline after cyber attack
cyber attacks

University of Hertfordshire's entire IT system offline after cyber attack

15 Apr 2021
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro review: Champagne tastes on a lemonade budget
Mobile Phones

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro review: Champagne tastes on a lemonade budget

13 Apr 2021