Blackpool set to get £60m internet boost
Almost every home and business in Blackpool could be set to get faster internet speeds following a £60m investment in the town.
Detailed planning is already under way as CityFibre, the UK’s third national infrastructure platform, designs a network capable of serving Blackpool’s current and future demands.
The move has been welcomed by council leaders who said it would compliment other ongoing fibre optic broadband projects which will deliver gigabit capable full fibre connectivity across the resort.
CityFibre said the state-of-the-art infrastructure was expected to boost business productivity and innovation and deliver millions in economic benefits for Blackpool, while giving residents access to the UK’s fastest broadband services.
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 Steve Thorpe as City Manager to spearhead delivery of the Blackpool project, which is due to commence in April, with work expected to be completed by 2025. In this role, Steve will be responsible for ensuring the state-of-the-art full fibre network is implemented with minimal disruption, while delivering maximum benefit for the wider community.
Steve will be the lead point of contact for all the town’s stakeholders and a key advocate of the wide-ranging benefits that a full fibre network will bring to Blackpool’s residents and businesses.
He said: “CityFibre is making major strides in the North West when it comes to enabling towns and cities with gigabit-capable broadband and Blackpool is next in line to reap the benefits of this transformative technology.
“As we’ve all seen over the past year, digital technology is increasingly important for maintaining connections. Full Fibre will not only help make that simpler than ever, but it will also support smart home technology and allow people to work from home with ease. We must also turn our attention to digital connectivity’s pivotal role in growing and protecting the local economy and businesses as we navigate our way through the on-going pandemic.”
Telent is delivering the construction programme on CityFibre’s behalf, using modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly. CityFibre will work closely with Blackpool, Wyre and Lancashire County Councils and local communities to ensure a fast and successful roll-out. Residents are being kept informed by mailings ahead of works commencing in their streets.
Coun Lynn Williams, Leader at Blackpool Council said: “The Council welcomes this significant investment by CityFibre which alongside existing and ongoing investments led by the council will help Blackpool on its way to achieving full coverage of fibre to every home and business.
"Our unique collaborative approach means we can work with CityFibre to build on and compliment the investments being made into fibre in Blackpool.
“The council’s intention is to make Blackpool better for all those that live and work here. I hope that this, along with the other investments the council and its partners are making in the town will ultimately create more opportunities and jobs for local people.”
Coun Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Job Creation, Blackpool Council said: “This investment in digital infrastructure from CityFibre represents not just a multimillion investment in a future-proofed network but supports economic development by enabling Blackpool businesses and residents to better participate in the digital economy.”
Currently, fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) is available to less than 20 per cent of premises across the UK.
By using fibre optic cables for every stage of the connection from the customer’s home or business to the Internet, users will be offered a significantly superior and more reliable broadband service, capable of Gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps). CityFibre is spending £4bn on the project nationally to be an alternative to BT's Openreach and Virgin Media.
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