Stakeholders and business representatives across Southend gathered to celebrate the much anticipated ‘lighting up’ of the town’s new full-fibre network.
Local businesses and public bodies waved a final goodbye to buffering this month after alternative infrastructure provider, CityFibre officially activated Southend-on-Sea’s Gigabit City network, just three months after announcing the town’s full-fibre transformation.
In this short time, the network has extended from 50km to 63km, bringing a further 100 businesses within reach of the next-generation infrastructure, which is capable of consistently delivering the fastest broadband speeds in the world, while driving efficiency and underpinning innovations such as smart city technology and e-learning.
Public sector sites in Southend will also see a step change in bandwidth delivery to help deliver high quality services as 100 sites join the network. These include a number of primary and secondary schools, leisure, community and social care buildings as well as sheltered housing sites. A further 40 traffic/CCT sites are to be added over the coming months.
Councillor Trevor Byford, Executive Councillor for Technology at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “Digitally connecting people and services together is at the heart of what any 21st Century Council should be doing. Implementing an ultrafast fibre-to-the-premise infrastructure across Southend-on-Sea is an important foundation for delivering our ambitious digital strategy and smart city aspirations.
“Becoming a Gigabit City will benefit the whole of Southend-on-Sea including public sector, private businesses and the education sector enabling transformational economic growth and innovation as well as enjoying next generation connectivity.”
The first businesses signed up for connections before the network went live to drive productivity and competitiveness as their operations move increasingly online. Amongst the first of Southend’s Gigabit Businesses are the Focal Point Gallery, Ventrica and Jota Aviation.
Speaking of their move to full-fibre connectivity, Joe Hill, director at the Focal Point Gallery, said: “As a major commissioner of digital artwork from international artists, it is essential that the gallery can promote the best technologies available in Southend. This is why we are delighted to be at the forefront of the technology revolution with Onecom’s ultrafast connection, enabled by CityFibre’s Gigabit City infrastructure.”
CityFibre and ISP Onecom celebrated ‘lighting up’ the town at a recent event hosted at the Hive Enterprise Centre, giving Southend businesses and community stakeholders the opportunity to learn about the Gigabit City movement and how it will benefit the area.
Speaking at the event, Nick Gray, City Development Manager at CityFibre said: “Now that the network is live we look forward to welcoming more business users to the network as they position themselves for future growth, while creating an attractive environment for new tech talent, start-ups and investment.
“We also look forward to connecting even more Borough Council sites to the network including libraries, leisure centers, museums, hospitals and other community facilities. This will not only support the smooth and efficient running of these services, it will lay the foundations for future developments such as HD CCTV, traffic management systems and public WiFi.
“The benefits of full-fibre technology are well documented and are now being enjoyed more widely as the Gigabit City movement spreads across the UK. As an early adopter, Southend is destined to thrive!”
James Bannister, Solution Director at Onecom added: “Southend has carved out a reputation as tourism hot spot and is renowned for its aviation and medical tech sector. We look forward to working with businesses across the town to provide them with affordable, ultrafast connections and unified communication solutions that will enable them to thrive and position themselves for continued success in the digital age.”
To find out more about Gigabit Southend visit: www.cityfibre.com/gigabit-cities/southend-on-sea/