Plans have been unveiled for a new broadband network in Stoke-on-Trent which would have one of the fastest internet speeds in the UK.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council wants to create the independently-owned service in Etruria Valley, with the potential to provide full fibre broadband to 5,000 homes and companies.
Its plans would deliver gigabit broadband speeds – 1,000 megabits per second or above – for that section of city’s Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone. Similar speeds are unavailable in most other cities in the UK.
The authority says the project would help to boost provision for residents and attract more businesses to the area.
At a meeting today, Tuesday, June 26, the council’s cabinet approved the proposals.
The project would aim to make the broadband market in Stoke-on-Trent more competitive, with the goal of offering ultra-fast and affordable services to thousands of residents. Discounted rates could also be offered to council and social housing residents.
Councillor Abi Brown, chair of the Enterprise Zone board and deputy leader of the city council, said: “Having one of the fastest internet speeds in the UK would be yet another major step forward for this area, which is already one of the fastest growing enterprise zones in the country. This would help to future proof the site and ensure it is one of the most attractive in the country for broadband speeds.
“Bringing more businesses to the area will help to create more jobs, which is one of the key objectives for the Ceramic Valley and our plans for growth in the city.
“The revenue from the ownership of the broadband network would also provide income for the council which can help us to fund the vital services which residents rely on.”
The fibre in the network would be owned by the city council and leased out to private internet service providers.
The proposal is based on a business model which has been used in a number of European countries. Stoke-on-Trent would be the first city in the UK to create a gigabit broadband network of this kind.
It would be funded by £570,000 which has been allocated for the Enterprise Zone from the council’s capital programme.
Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for education and economy, said: “Being able to provide ultra-fast, affordable broadband for residents and businesses on the network, and attract new businesses to the city, would be a fantastic thing for the people of Stoke-on-Trent and our economic growth.
“This network would make us incredibly competitive and attractive as a great place to invest, showing yet again that we are open for business and ready to attract fantastic companies to our area.
“Also, at a time when more and more services across the country are moving online, we must ensure that our residents and businesses are able to access those services and we are prepared for an increasingly digital future.
“This ultra-fast network would have so much potential. As things progress, we could look at further opportunities to expand the network to other sites within the Enterprise Zone and, potentially, the rest of the city. We want to lead the way as a city and this can help us to do that.”
For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 233653.