The transition to fill-fibre digital connectivity from more traditional technologies is vital to ensuring the businesses of Birmingham can compete in a global world. Our increasingly digital world means that innovative technologies and data are becoming the driving forces across all sectors and industries. Digital Birmingham are dedicated to ensuring the Birmingham businesses are at the forefront of this exciting period of development and growth.
We are already making strides towards becoming a prominent digital city in the global market with the West Midlands Tech Sector expected to generate at least £2.7 billion for the local economy by 2025. It is home to 18,394 start-ups and more incubators and accelerators than any other city outside London, has the fastest growing tech sector and has the largest 5G testbed across the UK. Attracting and retaining this investment is essential for our city’s digitally connected industries to thrive and bring money into the local economy so we must provide the infrastructure for businesses to grow in an ever-advancing technological market.
Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Committee is dedicated to this mission. In an exciting step forward, it has approved a proposal that will build, deploy and commercialise a new full-fibre network. This project will work with a telecommunications partner to target the underserved areas of Birmingham. It will ensure that any business located in Birmingham will have access to the high levels of connectivity they need to develop and innovate their products and services. Digital Birmingham is future-proofing our city with ultrafast connectivity that will attract new businesses and investment.
Councillor Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Digital, Culture, Heritage and Tourism said:
“We saw during the pandemic how businesses innovated and developed new digital services to deliver their products and services. Providing them with access to full fibre connectivity will enable them to continue to innovative and increase their sustainable economic growth opportunities through increased business productivity. We know this because stakeholders and businesses told us so when we consulted with them. It will deliver both faster speeds and lower costs, which in turn will support access to a wider range of services for residents, especially for housebound and deprived households as well as businesses.”
The potential impact of this is huge, with initial economic forecasts suggesting business innovation and increased productivity with GVA growth as much as £760 million.
The deployment of full fibre across the City has been identified as one of the key foundations within the Digital City Roadmap, which sets out the City ambitions for establishing Birmingham as a leading international digital city through by attracting increased digital investment, establishing Birmingham as testbed for innovation and experimentation, under the Digital Birmingham brand.
Peter Bishop, Director for Digital and Customer Services said:
“We welcome the current digital investments being made by the commercial sector, but we recognise that we need more pace and urgency to ensure our businesses have access to the best possible infrastructure, enabling them to innovate and retain their competitive advantage.”