Work to enable ultra-fast connectivity for everyone in the Liverpool City Region has begun in Liverpool, following approval of £6.4m by the Combined Authority.
Approximately 220km+ of digital infrastructure will be installed in carriageways, footpaths and cycle ways over the next three years, connecting all six-boroughs to the Hartree supercomputer in Halton, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the country.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region said:
“Digital connectivity has never been more important and I want to ensure no borough in our region is left behind.
“I want our region to be the most digitally connected area in the country and we’re putting the infrastructure in place now to ensure that we can be at the forefront of the digital revolution moving forward.
“Having ultrafast broadband connectivity will help us to create and attract new jobs, industries and businesses to our region, generating £1bn for the local economy.”
£6.4m from LCR’s Strategic Investment Fund will be invested in Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral to lay ducts while existing roadworks take place in an innovative approach known as ‘dig once’.
It’s anticipated that 30% of the digital network will be installed via this system, minimising disruption to road and public transport users.
Procurement of a joint venture partner to act as co-investor, commercialisation partner and network manager of the future network has already begun.
Benefits of ultrafast connectivity includes:
- Attracting major new companies, industries and jobs, plus enabling manufacturers to move massive data sets around with ease
- Improving health services e.g. instant and remote high resolution medical scanning, surgery and data transfer
- Boosting the growing digital and creative sector, while unlocking innovation within SMEs across all sectors
- Enabling developments in education services, such as online teaching and learning resources
- Enhancing public services
Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Council and Portfolio Holder for Digital Connectivity and Inclusion at the Combined Authority said:
“Ultrafast connectivity is fundamental for growing our economy so we’re moving at pace with this project to make sure people and businesses can benefit as quickly as possible.
“We know it’s important to coordinate the works with existing roadworks and infrastructure plans which is why we are using the ‘dig once’ approach, which will not only help us save money, but reduce disruption for our residents.”
Amanda Follit, Chair of Young Talent at BIMA, the UK’s largest digital and tech community, and LCR industry influencer added:
“Being the most digitally connected region will bring a lot of opportunities to our digital and creative sector, especially in terms of attracting big companies and future talent.
“Our industry is already thriving nationally, however ultrafast broadband connectivity will really supercharge the Liverpool City Region and continue to encourage innovation.”
Organisations interested in building, operating and maintaining the digital connectivity network required for the project, can find out about becoming a joint venture partner via the CA’s procurement portal.