Digital Ambition

Colchester has announced its intention to further its economic growth plans…

Colchester recently announced its intention to further its economic growth plans through improving connectivity.  Colchester’s Digital Strategy sets out its intention to become the best-connected place in the Eastern region making it a magnet for creative, digital, technology and IT businesses. Capable of competing with the better-known tech clusters around the UK like Edinburgh, Cambridge and Bristol.

The strategy builds on work already in place including Ultrafast Broadband in the town centre which went live in 2017. 

This already places Colchester in a unique handful of places around the country offering world-class symmetrical connectivity of up to one gigabit (1,000Mbps) via fibre, compared with the better-known “superfast” broadband of 20-30Mbps delivered over old-fashioned copper cables.

 

There are several work strands identified in the delivery plan and we are hopeful that there is a successful funding bid from the DCMS from its £200m Local Full Fibre Networks broadband infrastructure development programme.  The work strands include:

  • Extending the reach of Ultrafast Broadband right across the Borough
  • Taking an ‘infrastructure first’ approach to developing employment land by installing Gigabit connectivity ahead of development
  • Targeting tech companies for inward investment
  • Promoting Colchester as a testbed for 5G connectivity
  • Showcasing ‘Smart City’ innovations to help manage traffic congestion and air quality
  • Assessing whether Colchester could host an internet exchange as part of the UK’s national infrastructure

The next few years will see another revolution in how we live our lives and how business operate. The next decade will see a dramatic increase in demand for ultra-fast connectivity, driven by ‘Smart Cities’ initiatives to manage air quality and traffic congestion, the introduction of 5G mobile technology, ultra-high-definition video streaming services and the Internet of Things (IoT) controlled by mobile devices.   In addition, the Council wishes to support and develop a thriving town centre and it was known that Colchester had significant Broadband weaknesses around the Borough.  A 2015 report ranked the town 57th out of 65 places for broadband access. There is also an added benefit in that the Ultrafast Broadband installation is generating income for CBC in the face of funding cuts to Local Authorities.

Fundamentally, Colchester’s Digital Strategy gives business the chance to reimagine itself in the products and services it offers and develops and the markets it goes for, which will be particularly important in the next few years.  Colchester’s ambition to improve connectivity will give it ‘digital distinctiveness’ in the competition for inward investment too.

Related Documents

Connecting Colchester – Our Digital Strategy – Abridged Version

Connecting Colchester – Our Digital Strategy – High Level Version

Colchester: A Tech Hub – UK Tech News has analysed Colchester’s tech sector.  Its supplement, Colchester: a Tech Hub, is free to download here.

 

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