A project to provide gigabit compatible broadband for businesses and communities in Hampshire and Surrey is taking an important step forward as private sector companies are invited to express their interest in bidding for the work.
Access to gigabit-compatible broadband would transform current digital services by making it possible, for example, to download a high-definition movie in less than a minute.
Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (EM3 LEP), which has led this project from the start, is entering the early stages of a contract to build and operate 94km of new digital infrastructure stretching from North Hampshire to West Surrey.
The infrastructure, which will initially span from Basingstoke to Guildford via Hook, Camberley, Aldershot, Farnborough and Farnham, involves the laying of new cables to bring about a radical change in the speed and reliability of digital communications commensurate with the levels available in major urban areas.
Kathy Slack, Managing Director of EM3 LEP, said: âThis project illustrates two of LEP’s most important roles: visionary focus on business needs and mobilizing partnerships to make things happen. EM3 LEP is a committed leader in this project because we know how important a robust and sustainable digital connectivity is to the success of businesses, the provision of exceptional public services and the attraction of investors to our region.
There is a very high demand for these higher speeds among businesses and residents of Hampshire and Surrey. The work undertaken for LEP has shown how many existing businesses in the EM3 area are held back and that their growth and innovation activities are frustrated by the poor services currently available.
For example, the ei2 team has many years of experience in software consulting. They have worked in a wide variety of industrial sectors including investment banking, telecommunications, travel, defense, housing, pharmaceuticals, and education. Regional inconsistencies in broadband speed are a problem for them and their customers:
A spokesperson for ei2 said: âIn our company, we have many subcontractors who work remotely and the rapid transfer of data between them and the customer is therefore of the utmost importance. Depending on where the entrepreneur and the client are located, this can be highly variable and can affect the productivity of our business and our ability to serve clients. If we could have access to fast connectivity across the region, it would help us eliminate these inconsistencies and provide more efficient service to our customers.
TVision, one of the UK’s largest and most experienced Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution providers, highlights the cost of having to compensate for a current broadband service that cannot meet the demand for capacity:
A spokesperson for TVision said, âIn our business we hold a lot of code in the form of data, so making sure we don’t lose anything is crucial. We have to do regular backups to avoid this but the amount of data is increasing all the time so cloud backups are very interesting for us. However, even though we have access to a high speed of 60 Mbps, it still takes too long for us to save the data to the cloud. Today, our only answer for the back-up is to invest in local equipment, on site.
EM3 LEP is now starting to explore the interest of potential investors and entrepreneurs to build and operate the new infrastructure that will give commercial broadband and mobile providers the opportunity to increase the services they offer and allow them to expand. these services to areas have not been commercially viable.
EM3 LEP has completed the detailed design and modeling work of the new digital infrastructure by identifying the places where there is a demand for improved services along the route, including more than 90 towns, villages, business parks, developments residential, large utility buildings, data centers and other points of interest.
Potential entrepreneurs or other organizations interested in learning more about the EM3 Gigabit project can find out more at https://inbound.enterprisem3growthhub.co.uk/fibre or by contacting – [email protected]