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Peterborough City Council has signed a strategic partnership agreement with CityFibre, one of the country’s leading fibre internet providers, at Peterborough Town Hall today (Wednesday 13 November 2013).
It follows the recent announcement by CityFibre to privately invest £30 million to create a fibre optic network across the city.
Businesses and residents will be able to access internet connections with speeds of at least one gigabit per second, which is over 40 times quicker than what is classed as superfast broadband (24 megabits per second).
The news means that Peterborough will be the UK’s next Gigabit City, following the likes of York as well as cities in Europe, the USA and Asia.
Lindsey Hall, Director of EasyLifeIT based in Orton Southgate who is spearheading the city’s YES2FIBRE campaign, said: “Small businesses want to see growth in Peterborough; attracting new businesses and retaining existing. Yes we have excellent road and rail links, but going forward we know the world is changing.
“The CityFibre proposal will provide digital infrastructure links for the 21st Century for Peterborough and help us to compete with our closest and most progressive neighbours.”
The strategic partnership will result in the city council transferring all its existing networks onto CityFibre’s in order to improve connection speeds, transform services and to make savings once it has been constructed.
It’s estimated that the contract will lead to overall savings for the council of £4.5million over the course of the contract. Services such as CCTV could be connected via the network creating further efficiency savings and a more responsive service.
Councillor Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “CityFibre has selected Peterborough because of our fast-growing economy. It means the city will have a future-proof fibre network positioning ourselves at the forefront of the UK’s digital economy.
“The council will be able to make further efficiencies by using the fibre network and save money to invest in front-line services. CityFibre’s investment will allow businesses of all sizes to utilise the internet for growth, as well as attracting new companies from the technology sector and allowing more people to run businesses from their own home.”
The roll-out, starting next spring, will see 90km of fibre infrastructure deployed throughout the city, allowing key business districts, as well as schools, libraries and other sites important to the community to access gigabit internet speeds.
Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer at CityFibre, said: “The scale of our plans and the strategic partnership with Peterborough City Council will enable us to deploy an infrastructure that can create jobs, boost the productivity of existing businesses and attract new companies into the city.”
CityFibre’s network will then be utilised by internet service providers delivering ultra-high speed connectivity services to local government, businesses and consumers.
John Bridge OBE, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses across the UK are crying out for state-of-the-art digital infrastructure because they recognise it will have a real impact on business productivity and their ability to compete in the global marketplace.
“Research has already shown that businesses with access to the right broadband products and the tools to move their business forward can use that to develop a competitive advantage. The provision of a new fibre optic network will allow businesses to start making plans to do just that.”
A recent study has shown that a superfast broadband network can increase a city’s economic output. It’s hoped that a fibre optic network, which is up to 40 times faster, will attract new businesses, create jobs and inspire new start-ups across the city.
Neil Darwin, Chief Executive at economic development company Opportunity Peterborough, said: “In the fast-paced, competitive commercial world in which we live, access to high-speed internet is essential; CityFibre’s investment in Peterborough is timely and very welcome.
“The new fibre network will dramatically improve the city’s connectivity, supporting local companies to grow and develop further whilst helping to attract new businesses to relocate to Peterborough.”