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Poor connectivity will restrict growth’, digital executive tells business leaders

“Poor digital connectivity will prevent companies from investing and staying in Milton Keynes and is a major constraint on the city’s growth,” said Marc Lough, national account manager at CityFibre. “Good connectivity is critically important for almost all businesses already here.”

Milton Keynes is currently the third worst city in the UK for broadband coverage, he added. To be competitive, it has to address the demands for faster connection.

Mr Lough pictured (left) with MKBLP chair Dr Philip Smith was speaking to Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership members at a breakfast briefing, at which he brought his audience up to speed on CityFibre’s plans to make Milton Keynes a Gigabit City.

CityFibre has a 3,100 km pure fibre network across the UK, with 162 km of fibre it has acquired in Milton Keynes. The near-term plan is to connect homes and businesses closest to this network in the city.

Mr Lough said: “Our overall aim is within 12 years to be at the front door of every home and business in the cities we are operating in.”

Pure fibre can handle any data connectivity demands foreseen for the next 20 years and beyond, he added. The UK is moving away from the copper and aluminium carriers but progress is slow and it is not keeping up with other countries. The average broadband speed across the UK is just 15 MB per second and the nation’s digital infrastructure is ranked below that of Estonia, Bulgaria and Greece.

Milton Keynes has the drive and ambition to bid to be a European Capital of Culture and has a new economic strategy and aims to improve the education and skills sectors, Mr Lough said. But it has to meet the demands of faster connection.

CityFibre is engaging with Milton Keynes Council and through its own round table events is listening to businesses calling for faster and more reliable connectivity. The benefits include more jobs, attracting new companies and savings for business and local government.

Mr Lough said: “In York, where we have installed pure fibre, every school has a Gigabit connection and students do their homework online connected to school servers as part of an initiative driven by the council there. 

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