The Scottish capital is being transformed into one of the best digitally connected cities in the world with a new 150km future-proof pure fibre network.
Over the coming months, digital infrastructure builder CityFibre, in partnership with Scottish internet service provider Commsworld, will begin construction of a city-wide fibre network called the Edinburgh CORE.
The first phase of the new network, a 50km deployment in the city centre, will bring the benefits of ultra-fast gigabit internet connectivity to more than 7,000 businesses, future proofing them as the need for bandwidth continues to grow exponentially in the coming years. The first businesses will be able to benefit from the network in late summer, 2015.
The precise network route of the Edinburgh CORE will be influenced by demand and CityFibre has now launched its ‘Gig Up Edinburgh’ campaign enabling businesses and institutions to register their interest in ultra-fast internet connectivity on the edinburghcore.com website. Registration is no obligation to take service, but means the registered business’ location will be factored into the network plan. Registered businesses will also be checked for eligibility for a government voucher scheme* which offers grants of up to £3,000 for businesses to connect.
The Edinburgh CORE will be designed using CityFibre’s ‘Well Planned City’ model, which accommodates all current and future bandwidth requirements from the business community, public sector, mobile operators and datacentre providers. It also lays the infrastructure foundation for a full fibre to the home roll-out in due course.
The Edinburgh CORE will be a major catalyst to the growth of Edinburgh’s substantial digital economy. It is estimated that close to 18,000 people are directly employed in the city’s tech sector, which has a yearly growth rate of about 33%. Despite this growing industry and the city’s established financial services sector, a recent survey found 31% of companies have regular concerns about the negative impact poor Internet access has on their business.
CityFibre’s city development manager James McClafferty said: “Edinburgh is one of the most economically significant cities in the UK. Its reputation as an established financial hub is complemented as it is increasingly becoming the location of choice for a new generation of tech start-ups and innovative businesses.
“As businesses of all types become more digitally reliant, they can be confident that there will be a world-class digital network – the Edinburgh CORE – to support them. As we plan the rollout it is essential that businesses register on our website to ensure that the network reaches them and that it delivers maximum benefit to the city’s business community.”
Richard Nicol, CEO of Commsworld added: “This is a project of huge significance for the city and one that will future proof Edinburgh for many years to come. The Edinburgh CORE will enable Commsworld to offer a new generation of affordable, Gigabit business services that will transform the way our city does business.
“As planning is well underway, I would urge any business that wants a digital headstart and a competitive advantage to register their interest online. With no obligation to take services it will ensure you won’t get left behind.”
Cllr Frank Ross, Convener of Economy Committee, said: “This level of commercial investment to improve the city’s connectivity is great news for Edinburgh. The Gigabit City announcement and launch of the Edinburgh CORE network for business fits well with our aspiration that Edinburgh becomes one of the UK’s best digitally connected cities. The fact that Commsworld is a leading Scottish Telecoms Network provider, and an Edinburgh SME, makes this announcement even more exciting for our business community and I urge them to get behind the Gig Up campaign and register their interest.”
One of the first businesses to register its interest is Apex Hotels. The luxury Scottish chain has four hotels based in Edinburgh and sees strong guest Wi-Fi and an efficient internal network as a key part of its business model.
Andrew Jacques, IT Director at Apex Hotels said, “Apex Hotels was one of the first hotels to offer free Wi-Fi in 2008 and we’ve been working hard to provide fast and reliable internet connectivity to our guests ever since.
“Internet connectivity is of paramount importance to our guests who often bring 5 or 6 connected devices when they stay with us, so we’re delighted to be in phase 1 of the Gigabit City project and able to offer free ultrafast broadband from later this year.”