City Broadband: The Next Generation

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BUSINESS leaders from three counties flocked to a high level seminar focused on the future of broadband services in Milton Keynes.

The Next Gen broadband roadshow event, hosted by Milton Keynes Council and held at stadiummk on Wednesday, brought together business leaders from across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.

The roadshow included high profile speakers and useful workshops, and boasted event exhibitors from every field within the digital broadband technology spectrum, to advise and inform delegates on how Next Generation broadband can benefit them.

Speakers included Councillor David Hopkins, the Cabinet Member whose remit covers IT and the economy, Dr Ann Limb of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), Robert Ling from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and Bill Murphy, MD of the Next Generation Access (NGA) BT Group. The discussions covered a wide range of topics relating to broadband and its relevance and importance to Milton Keynes and its future.

Opening the conference, Cllr Hopkins said: “Next generation broadband access is the backbone of the envisaged ‘smart’ Milton Keynes. ICT can enable economic growth, better provision of public services, and an improved quality of life for all MK citizens.”

Many well known local companies were represented at the roadshow and council officers were on hand to answer any questions from the delegates

One of the main issues facing local business in Milton Keynes is their internet speed. In some areas the broadband speed is not fast enough to accommodate their business needs and in some cases has been detrimental to the growth of their business.

This issue was raised by business leaders to Bill Murphy, who responded by advising the delegates that whilst BT was upgrading the vast majority of its network and cabinets there would still be some ‘not spots’ which would not be upgraded at present.

In these instances the infrastructure investment for the fibre upgrades would come out of the public purse.

In Milton Keynes’ case this would partly be funded from a £140,000 share of a national government fund specifically set up for the sole purpose of filling in these broadband infrastructure ‘not spots’.

Earlier this year Milton Keynes Council, together with Beds Borough and Central Beds Council, jointly submitted a successful business plan to receive a share of this funding. The detailed and comprehensive business plan outlined where and how this money would be spent, and this plan will be available to the public in the near future.

To find out more about the broadband roll out in Milton Keynes borough and for further information on broadband visit www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/mkgrowth or if you wish to contact the council or comment on a broadband topic email: mylocalbroadband@milton-keynes.gov.uk