Work is set to start on a new multi-million broadband network for Stoke-on-Trent.
Swedish firm VX Fiber has teamed up with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to build a full-fibre network across the city – thanks to £9.2 million of Government funding.
Work to install the gigabit broadband network is expected to start in parts of the Potteries next week – with the first customers connected as early as February.
According to Stoke-on-Trent Live, the scheme – which is the first of its kind in the country – will deliver a £625 million boost to the local economy.
Dan Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Access to ultra-fast connectivity is an essential part of 21st century living. It’s about faster speeds and more reliable connections for residents and businesses.
“A gigabit connection puts the city in charge of its digital future for decades to come. It means we are at the forefront of broadband technology in the UK, which will help companies to thrive and also attract investment that can bring huge economic benefits to the area.”
He added: “Staffordshire University is already a leader in areas such as game design and video production. Having a gigabit network will encourage graduates to stay in Stoke-on-Trent rather than moving to London or Manchester.”
Business leaders in North Staffordshire have welcomed the scheme, which is being funded through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Local Full Fibre Network Challenge Fund.
“Having this kind of infrastructure here will give us an edge.”
Sara Williams, chief executive of Staffordshire Chambers, has described the project as a ‘game changer’ for Stoke-on-Trent.
She added: “I think Stoke-on-Trent is well-served at the moment, but in future businesses will need the more modern infrastructure that this network will provide. We will be encouraging our members to take advantage of this opportunity.”