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Gigabit City project will boost economy by millions, says report

The study, by economic consultancy Regeneris, examined how the economy is likely to benefit from full fibre connectivity being installed by by CityFibre, as part of its strategic national partnership with Vodafone.

The report quantifies the impact to the city over a 15-year period.

According to researchers, Milton Keynes homeowners and the wider property market can expect to reap huge rewards. Up to £119 million could be added to the value of local homes as access to reliable, high speed broadband becomes ever-more critical to buyers.

Smart City initiatives including home automation technologies, smart energy networks and intelligent transportation systems could add as much as £109 million locally too, while digital enhancements in the delivery of healthcare services could be worth £14 million.

The city’s business community stands to benefit enormously as well. Access to gigabit-speed full fibre connectivity could unlock £119 million in business productivity and innovation, with companies able to develop and promote new, richer products and services online and benefit from greater exposure to the international marketplace. 

A further £55 million in growth could be driven from new business start-ups, with enhanced connectivity making it easier and less expensive to set up base and run efficiently.

The increased ability for companies to support flexible working could also add £50 million. This will not only help to reduce barriers to work, but improve employees’ work-life balance which in turn improves motivation and retention.

Crucially the network roll-out itself, which began last month, is expected to drive £16 million direct economic growth, employing an average of 150 people in the construction and civil engineering sectors throughout the duration of the project.

Construction work is under way in Bradville and Bancroft, with neighbouring areas to follow in the coming months.

“Our findings clearly indicate that full fibre will provide the core infrastructure required to kick start the next generation of digital technology and drive expansion of smart infrastructure in towns and cities where it is deployed,” said Regeneris director Simon Hooton.

“The result will be a modernised, more productive and innovative UK economy.”

Milton Keynes is ideally positioned as one of the first locations to benefit from CityFibre and Vodafone’s strategic partnership which aims to bring ultrafast Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to at least one million UK homes and businesses by 2021.

CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch said: “With a new full fibre network being built beneath its streets, Milton Keynes is a forerunner of digital transformation in the UK. This report demonstrates that the city is set to enjoy huge economic benefits as a result of this roll-out.

“This is about more than just broadband, it is about the digital infrastructure set to power our economy for decades to come.”  

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