Liverpool City Region one step closer to becoming the most digitally connected area in the UK as LCR Connect network goes live

  • 214km gigabit-capable full-fibre network is fully operational – transforming broadband connectivity across the city region

  • Over 350 Liverpool City Region firms connected with another 400 already signed up

  • More than 28,000 businesses and organisations have access to network

  • £30m joint venture set to boost economy by up to £1bn

  • Mayor Rotheram said: “Thanks to devolution, we’re creating a better-connected, more digitally inclusive future for our 1.6m residents.”

Mayor Steve Rotheram today (23 February) heralded a new digital era for the Liverpool City Region as he celebrated the completion of the area’s flagship LCR Connect project.

The 214km gigabit-capable, full-fibre network delivers some of the fastest internet speeds and will help make the region the most digitally connected area in the country.

It is a half-publicly owned joint venture between the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, led by Mayor Rotheram, ITS Technology Group and NGE.

Watch the audio descriptive version here

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“Since I was elected, I’ve been on a mission to transform our region into the most digitally connected area anywhere in the country. Today that vision is one step closer to becoming a reality.

“The hallmark of any modern, 21st century city region like ours is how it connects people with opportunity. LCR Connect will help us to create thousands of high quality, secure jobs and training opportunities for local people, attract inward investment and ensure that our businesses can keep pace in an increasingly digital world. Best of all it’s half owned by us, the public, so we can reap the rewards of this investment for years to come.

“Our infrastructure has already been put to the test with global cultural events like Eurovision – but this is just the tip of the iceberg of what LCR Connect is capable of. Thanks to devolution, we’re creating a better-connected, more digitally inclusive future for our 1.6m residents.”

Mayor Rotheram was joined at a special celebration, hosted by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) at Sci-Tech Daresbury, by some of the 350 local companies already benefitting from LCR Connect. The national science and innovation campus is home to the Hartree Centre’s Scafell Pike, the UK’s most powerful supercomputer dedicated to industrial R&D and was the first location to install LCR Connect.

A further 400 city region businesses are in the process of being connected to the network.

Professor Kate Royse, Director of STFC’s Hartree Centre based Sci-Tech Daresbury, said:

“LCR Connect is a key critical infrastructure that is helping us to grow our support for businesses to embrace and integrate advanced digital technologies to boost productivity, accelerate innovation and foster digital transformation in the North West. Enhancing the connectivity of Sci-Tech Daresbury underpins our growth as we look to expand the campus to support 10,000 people working in science and technology. This will help us in our mission to reach more UK businesses, ensuring they have the right skills, access to expertise and technologies for societal and economic impact.”

Experts estimate LCR Connect will deliver an initial £105m boost to the local economy and that, with 100% full fibre coverage across the city region, the economic boost could be worth up to £1bn, creating thousands of local job and training opportunities.

The LCR Connect network, which has been built and rolled out by construction partner NGE, will provide more than 28,000 local businesses and organisations with access to switch from copper line or more expensive fibre services to a new, competitively priced gigabit-capable service – a 1Gb circuit from LCR Connect is about £700 cheaper per year than the average, saving businesses £3,500 over five years. Switching to a 10Gb circuit via LCR Connect can typically save £5,000 in annual charges.

In addition to the immediate cost savings, businesses and organisations benefit from full fibre connectivity by improving productivity. Better connectivity brings access to new business processes, increases the speed and reliability of data transfer within and between businesses, with the ability to access agile cloud-based services.

Team members celebrating the completion of the LCR Connect project

It is already making a huge difference to local businesses, such as the M&S Bank Arena, where the network played a key role in delivering the Eurovision Song Contest.

Daren Baythorpe, Chief Executive of ITS, said:

“We’re delighted with the impact LCR Connect is having on businesses and communities across the region. From taking Eurovision to a global audience, enabling the deployment of 5G trials, connecting businesses and institutions across multiple sites, to supporting small and growing businesses, we’re proud of the role it is playing in driving forward the City Region’s digital ambitions.

“This is in no small part due to the strong relationships our City Region-based technology partners have with the business communities across the six local authorities and the deep understanding of the individual needs of the communities they serve.

“We’re also incredibly proud of the joint venture’s impact in supporting digital inclusion, a key part of the Combined Authority’s Digital Inclusion Network, as well as working directly with schools, digital hubs and charities through our LCR Connect ‘For Good’ social value team.”

Scott Bicknell, Managing Director of NGE, said:

“It’s a monumental achievement to see the LCR Connect network fully operational, a true testament to the power of collaboration and forward-thinking. This isn’t just about technological advancement; it’s about knitting our communities closer together, enabling social connectivity on an unprecedented scale, and laying the groundwork for substantial economic growth across the region. The impact of this project will resonate for generations, driving innovation, attracting investment, and enhancing the quality of life for all. NGE are ecstatic to have played a pivotal role in this transformative journey, marking a new era of connectivity and opportunity.”

Councillor Paul Stuart, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Digital and Innovation, said:

“It is brilliant to see so many businesses and schools already benefitting from connection to this fantastic network.  Now the network is 100% live I am very confident that, as word gets around about the benefits of this amazing asset, which we own 50% of, we’ll see more and more businesses and educational establishments signing up to take advantage.”

LCR Connect doubled Sci-Tech Daresbury’s internet capacity and future-proofed connectivity for more than 150 cutting-edge science and technology businesses based on the campus.

It also provided Eurovision organisers with specialised circuits in the venue, ensuring the event was broadcast to the largest global audience in the contest’s history and providing connectivity to the world’s media, audience members, and visitors in the city.

A 10-gigabit connection for Baltic Creative is providing ultrafast broadband for more than 100 companies based at the Liverpool hub for digital and creatives.

LCR Connect is a key element to achieving Mayor Rotheram’s ambition to make the Liverpool City Region the most digitally connected region in the country.

A map showing the LCR Connect network

The LCR Connect network.

The network supports the Mayor’s target to invest 5% of regional GVA on R&D by 2030 – nearly double the government’s national target. It will underpin economic growth, innovation, inward investment, and job creation in the city region.

LCR Connect is designed to significantly improve connectivity for businesses, providing faster, more resilient and competitive broadband solutions and will support internet access for schools and other organisations, making the city region among the best-connected areas of the UK. Its resilient fibre ‘backhaul network’ connects the three transatlantic cables that make land in Sefton with major economic clusters in each of the Liverpool City Region’s six local authority areas.

Businesses showcased at the celebration event include Inovus Medical, Enchoice and Make CIC.

Inovus Medical

Headquartered in St Helens, Inovus Medical® is a technology company with a focus on enhancing patient care. By specialising in the development of advanced simulation technologies, we offer surgeons a unique opportunity to master procedural steps and navigate potential complications in a risk-free environment. This approach mirrors the rigorous training regimen of pilots, emphasising the critical role of simulation in skill acquisition and decision-making. Our simulations not only aim to improve surgical outcomes but also seek to reduce training costs and enrich learning experiences, thereby setting a new standard in medical training.

Jordan Van Flute, Chief Technical Officer, Inovus Medical, said:

“Like many modern enterprises, Inovus Medical® thrives on seamless connectivity. Thanks to LCR Connect, we’ve been able to establish high-speed connections across all Inovus locations within the UK. These dedicated lines enable us to collaborate effortlessly with our colleagues both domestically and internationally. LCR Connect’s reliable service ensures that our team remains interconnected, fostering a collaborative environment that is essential for our global operations.”


Based on the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus, enChoice®, Inc. is an award-winning Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Digital Transformation solutions company, with 30-years’ experience helping customers improve business processes and protect critical information with software and solutions that accelerate their path to digital efficiency.

Nickie Mason-Hunt, Director, Revenue & Growth at enChoice, said:

“We work closely with the Sci-Tech Daresbury ecosystem and Liverpool University to ensure we are at the forefront of laying the AI foundation on how businesses create greater value from their information assets. LCR Connect’s reliable, fast connection is a vital part of how we do business.”

Make CIC

Make CIC is a purpose-driven social enterprise with the mission to help people turn their passions into prosperity. Founded in 2012 by Kirsten Little and Liam Kelly, Make achieves its mission by providing affordable space for local makers, creative entrepreneurs and artists. As part of LCR Connect’s social value commitments, the network is providing free broadband to the local community through Make CIC’s centres in Huyton, Liverpool’s North Docks and the recently acquired building on Argyle Street in Birkenhead, due to open this summer.

Liam Kelly, Make CIC’s CEO, said:

“Reliable and fast connections in our hubs have enabled our community of makers, creative entrepreneurs, and artists to sustain and grow their endeavours through a challenging economic time. The connection has played a key role in plans for the Argyle Street Creative hub we’re opening in Birkenhead, funded by Town Deal. Connectivity from LCR Connect will attract people to the area, support people to take their ideas to the next level and ultimately help the project grow these local economies.”

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