Why is broadband important?
We have big ambitions for regenerating the local economy in our area. Part of those is building upon our strength as a hotbed of technological activity and innovation by revolutionising the local broadband network. This will support the aim of growing the value of the local economy by £1 billion by 2029 and increase creative industry/ ICT employment by 20%.
In other words, our plans for broadband will support the creation of new jobs, homes, and opportunities for local people.
What is the Council doing now?
Working within a consortium of other local councils and with BT, we are bringing high speed fibre broadband to 9 out of 10 premises in our area and for all premises to have at least 2mbps by the end of 2016. You can discover when your local exchange will be able to support these speeds via the Connecting Devon and Somerset website interactive coverage map.
What is the Council doing in the future?
Potential investors and businesses looking to relocate here in places like the emerging Bath Enterprise Area will instantly look at broadband connectivity and turn their attentions elsewhere if they detect a lack of ambition. The Council is looking towards the future by staying ahead of the game in partnership with the private sector, businesses, and the Universities. We are exploring the following ideas:
- Opening-up the 22 kilometres or so of fibre network owned by the Council to encourage inward investment by ultrafast broadband companies (e.g. 300Mbps upwards) who would offer their services to hi-tech business areas, such as those who will be present in the planned Enterprise Area;
- Working with the private sector to roll-out Wi-Fi, 4G, and 3G technologies to shopping centres, sports venues, and transport infrastructure – particularly in those areas where the Council owns assets, like street furniture and lamp posts, upon which infrastructure could be placed;
- Promoting greater local innovation across creative, micro-electronics and high tech manufacturing sectors through a mesh testbed. In other words, an online private network that enables hi-tech businesses and Universities to push the boundaries of their research and development;
- Understanding how the planning system could be used to encourage developers to ensure that future homes are high-speed broadband ready.
Seeing the wider benefits
Better broadband is about more than creating new jobs and opportunities. It will also make people’s leisure time more enjoyable by downloading films and music more quickly, make it easier for residents to work from home, and also quicker connect to local public services more convenient.
We will be making further announcements about our progress on delivering better broadband over the coming months. Sign-up to our e-newsletter to get the latest news or follow us via @bathnes on Twitter.