January 15, 2021 @ 11:35 by Chloe Holmes
Sunderland is to benefit from an investment of £62m as part of CityFibre’s plans to help replace the UK’s legacy copper networks with gigabit-capable full fibre connectivity.
The state-of-the-art infrastructure is forecast to boost business productivity and innovation, deliver millions of pounds in economic benefits for Sunderland and help the region to prosper – while giving residents and businesses access to some of the UK’s fastest broadband services.
Detailed planning is already underway as CityFibre designs a network capable of serving Sunderland’s current and future demands. Upon completion, the network will be in reach of nearly every home and business in the area, providing a platform for a new generation of “smart city” applications and the roll-out of 5G mobile services.
Jason Legget, as City Manager at CityFibre, will spearhead delivery of the Sunderland project, which is due to commence mid-year. As commercial lead for CityFibre in the region, Jason will be the main contact for all the city’s stakeholders and is a key advocate of the wide-ranging benefits that a full fibre network will bring.
Jason said: “It’s exciting to look to the future and what our £62m Sunderland Full Fibre network build investment will bring. We are working in close partnership with Sunderland City Council to transform the area’s digital infrastructure, ensuring that the digital needs of those working and living in the region are met now, and in the future.”
CityFibre will be engaging with Sunderland City Council and local communities to ensure a fast and successful roll-out. Ward Councillors will be briefed on plans for the local community and residents are being kept informed by mailings ahead of works commencing in their streets.
The network is not yet live but once activated, services will be available from an increasing range of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to deliver next generation broadband services.
Welcoming the announcement, Patrick Melia, Chief Executive at Sunderland City Council, said: “The last 12 months have seen real progress across our smart city, culminating in Sunderland being crowned Smart City of the Year 2020 in the Digital Leaders 100 List. Accolades such as this are getting Sunderland noticed as a serious player globally as a digital leader with opportunities for investment, whilst firmly positioning our fantastic city as a healthy, happy place to live, work and play.
“The announcement of this huge investment from our valued partners at CityFibre will continue our citywide digital transformation, advancing opportunities for our residents, businesses, educators and healthcare providers through a truly transformative full fibre network.”
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “We are a city on an exciting journey. The next chapter in our drive to continuously improve quality of life and business prospects will be underpinned by this incredible investment by CityFibre.
“Full fibre broadband will help households across Sunderland to access the internet at a rapid speed they haven’t experienced before, better enabling the integration of smart home technology to assist working from home, as well as a raft of business gains. This investment represents significant opportunities to drive efficiencies and innovation to help Sunderland-based businesses to gain a real competitive edge.
“Today we celebrate a major milestone in fulfilling our bold vision and ambitious plans for the city, with the implementation of a full fibre network to reach almost every home and business across Sunderland, empowering our local economy to grow for generations to come.”
If residents are interested in full fibre broadband, they can pre-register their interest with CityFibre to receive information when services are available at www.cityfibre.com/residential.