Reading and Gloucester are set to benefit from a combined investment of £89 million for the digital futures of both cities, thanks to CityFibre’s plans to upgrade the nation’s legacy networks and gigabit-capable full fibre connectivity.
The state-of-the-art infrastructure is expected to boost business productivity and innovation and deliver millions in economic benefits for the town, while giving residents access to the UK’s fastest broadband services.
Detailed planning is already under way as CityFibre, the UK’s third national infrastructure platform, designs a network capable of serving Reading’s current and future demands. Upon completion, the network will be in reach of nearly every home and business in the town and will provide a platform for a new generation of “smart city” applications, as well as the roll-out of 5G mobile services.
CityFibre has appointed Stacey King as City Manager to spearhead delivery of the Reading project, and has appointed Neil Madle to deliver the project in Gloucester, with both projects due to start in January.
Stacey King said: “Thriving towns like Reading have so much to gain from assets like next-generation digital infrastructure, unlocking growth and opportunity.
“CityFibre is doing everything it can to transform towns and cities across the country, and it’s really exciting to be involved in this mission. Connectivity has proven to be more important than ever to residents, businesses and public services this year. With our Full Fibre network, Reading can embed resilience, while also futureproofing its infrastructure for the innovations and opportunities that lie ahead.”
Instalcom is to deliver the project in Reading on behalf of CityFibre, using modern building techniques in order to deploy the network quickly, with Kier delivering the project in Gloucester. CityFibre will also work closely both Reading and Gloucester City Council’s, as well as the local communities to ensure a fast and successful roll-out in both areas.
Neil Madle said: “Over the past nine months, most of us will have recognised just how important digital connectivity is to our lives and how much of an enabler it is when it comes to work, home and play.
“This is exactly why investment in digital infrastructure is so important today, and I’m really excited to be working with an organisation that is championing Full Fibre investment in not only communities like Gloucester, but right across the UK. I look forward to working with the city’s residents, businesses and other key stakeholders to deliver this transformational project.”
Councillor Richard Cook, Leader of Gloucester City Council, said: “I’m delighted that the work being done by CityFibre to make Gloucester a city fit for the future is set to get off the ground. It is particularly welcome with the multi million pound regeneration of Kings Quarter currently taking place. This will see the development of one of the largest digital quarters in the UK with The Forum, a vibrant new social and digital campus for the South West acting as a catalyst for an emerging digital and cyber security sector.”
Cllr Jason Brock, Leader at Reading Borough Council, said: “We welcome this private investment by CityFibre into Reading to deliver a modern, fit-for-purpose digital infrastructure that will futureproof residents and businesses. CityFibre’s full fibre network will be vital in ensuring Reading has a resilient and dynamic economy for years to come and Reading Borough Council continues to work closely with the private sector to facilitate economic growth in the digital age.”
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