‘Poor digital connectivity will prevent companies from investing and staying in Milton Keynes and is a major constraint on the city’s growth – while good connectivity is critically important for almost all businesses already here.’
Marc Lough, national account manager for CityFibre brought MK Business Leaders’ members and guests up to speed on its plans to make Milton Keynes a Gigabit City, at a recent MK BLP Breakfast Briefing session.
CityFibre has a 3,100 km pure fibre network across the UK, with 162 km of fibre it has acquired in Milton Keynes. The near-term plan is to connect homes and businesses closest to this network in MK. “Our overall aim is within 12 years to be at the front door of every home and business in the cities we are operating in”, Marc said.
He said pure fibre could handle any data connectivity demands foreseen for the next 20 years and beyond. The UK is moving away from the legacy copper and aluminium carriers but progress is slow and it is not keeping up with other countries. The average broadband speed across the UK is just 15 Mb per second and the nation’s digital infrastructure is ranked below that of Estonia, Bulgaria and Greece.
Marc said Milton Keynes has the drive and ambition to bid to be a European Capital of Culture, has a new economic strategy and aims to improve the education and skills sectors, but it has to meet the demands of faster connection. MK is currently the third worst city in the UK for broadband coverage. “In York, where we have installed pure fibre, every school has a Gigabit connection and students do their homework online connected to school servers as part of an initiative driven by the council there,” he said.
He said CityFibre is engaging with Milton Keynes Council and through its own round table events is listening to businesses calling for faster and more reliable connectivity. The benefits include more jobs, attracting new companies and savings for business and local government.
Dr Philip Smith MBE, chair MK Business Leaders Partnership, urged members and all businesses to talk to the council and put forward the case for securing better connectivity for the city.