A £35 MILLION project to bring superfast full fibre broadband to almost every home and business in Bournemouth has appointed a ‘city manager’.

Bournemouth is among the towns chosen for a partnership between CityFibre and Vodafone, which will see full fibre reach a million UK homes and businesses by 2021.

City manager Lucy Cooper will be responsible for ensuring the work is done with minimal disruption.

She is a former president of Poole Chamber of Trade and Commerce who set up the information and support service Dorset Growth Hub in 2014.

Born and raised locally, she has worked in the public and private sector in London and spent four years running government business support through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She rolled out a programme for Dorset County Council under the Broadband Delivery UK initiative.

She said: “A state-of-the-art digital infrastructure plays a crucial role in growing and protecting the local economy, so I’m delighted to be joining an organisation that is doing everything it can to transform cities across the country.

“As a Bournemouth local, I know that there are practical issues with current broadband service that frustrate people on a daily basis, such as the quality of coverage outside the town centre. I am looking forward to working with residents to ensure they are with us every step of the way and understand the difference that full fibre broadband can have now and in the future.

“The benefits of full fibre connectivity are huge, particularly to some of the priority sectors within the area – creative/digital, medtech for healthcare and advanced manufacturing/engineering.”

Work on extending Bournemouth’s full fibre network is expected to begin this year.

Lucy Cooper added: “It’s a great time to be joining CityFibre’s Gigabit City project in Bournemouth. Working alongside the new BCP Council and many other key stakeholders, the town is a great choice to invest in as there’s so much work going on to improve infrastructure and connectivity.”

Full fibre is faster than commonly used copper cables but is currently available to only six per cent of UK properties. Full fibre offers download speeds 20 times faster and upload speeds 150 times faster than the average broadband connection.

Vodafone will have a monopoly on use of Bournemouth’s full fibre connections “predominantly during the construction phase”, expected to last three or four years.

Rob Hamlin, commercial director at CityFibre, said: “We are thrilled that Lucy has joined the team and will be using her experience to drive the Bournemouth project forward and benefit all its residents and businesses.

“Our ‘fibre to the premises’ programme is going to be a game changer in Bournemouth and nobody is better placed than Lucy to drive home the message and help people discover more about the impact this investment will have on the town’s digital future.”