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BT director backs calls for Milton Keynes to become a ‘Gigabit City’

Giles Ellerton, who works with local authorities and other stakeholders to deliver faster broadband and digital connectivity across the east of England, was speaking to MK Business Leaders Partnership members and guests at the business organisation’s latest breakfast briefing session.

He discussed about the opportunities and challenges presented by the rollout of super and ultra-fast broadband for people and businesses in Milton Keynes, and for BT and its partner Openreach. 

With ‘full fibre’ connectivity, homes could enjoy gigabit streaming of data and even small businesses could compete on the world stage, he suggested. 

  • Pictured: Giles Ellerton with MKBLP chair Dr Philip Smith.

Openreach is to deliver its Fibre First programme nationally, including in Milton Keynes where BT employs 600 people, generates £500 million into the local economy and supports the ambitious £18 million MK:Smart and Data Hub projects. 

The next list of 40 places to receive government money towards becoming a ‘gigabit city’ is to be announced soon.  “Reliable sources say that Milton Keynes is on the list and it is right and proper that it is,” Mr Ellerton said. 

He acknowledged that BT faced fierce competition from other broadband providers.  “That is good news for customers and there is a constant demand for more data and higher speed.  The job is not done yet.”

Yet not all businesses are able to access a super-fast connection but vouchers for up to £3,000 are available from central government towards a solution. 

“Approach your provider and talk to them about getting your voucher,” he said. 

A question and answer session included the plight of small firms on industrial estates and rural areas where businesses suffered at the end of very long and old-tech copper wire. 

Mr Ellerton said BT and Openreach sometimes faced geographic and physical restrictions in delivering the service businesses desired. 

There were other options available including satellite 4G broadband which used an antenna, he added, and the government says a minimum 10mps should be delivered everywhere by 2020. Exactly how that would work was still being investigated.

MKBLP chair Dr Philip Smith thanked Mr Ellerton, saying that his talk had given them the chance to learn about the issues and challenges facing the broadband market in Milton Keynes. 

“Having access to the highest speed of data and full digital connectivity across the city and borough is essential for maintaining Milton Keynes’ prosperity,” Mr Smith said.

“It is a high priority for MK Business Leaders Partnership when it engages with agencies and organisations about the continued growth of the city.” 

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