Better Broadband

Better Broadband

Blackpool Council has secured £2.7m of government cash to activate high-tech, better broadband, the full length of the tramline.

The Enterprise Zone at Blackpool Airport will be one of the first locations to benefit. The multi-million pound investment will boost internet speeds and connectivity. Businesses will get faster digital access through future 5G technology.

Full fibre Broadband comes to Blackpool

Blackpool will be one of the first UK towns and cities to get full fibre gigabit broadband as a result of a multi-million pound investment that will deliver the fastest, most resilient broadband internet connection on the market.

A co-operative group from the private and public sectors are working together to roll out FIBRE BLACKPOOL a local full fibre network that will give an improved broadband internet connection to residents and businesses on the Fylde Coast.

Full fibre Broadband comes to Blackpool
Full fibre Broadband comes to Blackpool

The launch of the Fibre Blackpool initiative is a result of £3.1m of funding that was secured in Spring 2018 through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The grant has been used to expand a shared fibre infrastructure into Blackpool town centre and along the length of the coast’s tramline, from Squires Gate Lane and Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone all the way to Fleetwood and Hillhouse Technology Enterprise Zone. It will future-proof the town with a full ‘fibre to the premises’ (FTTP) connection.

State of the Art Fibre Network

Shaun Fensom, secretary of the Cooperative Network Infrastructure (CNI) said, “Over the next two years we’ll be working with Blackpool to unlock a state-of-the-art fibre network for the benefit of both residents and businesses. The network will enable Internet service providers – members of our cooperative – to deliver some of the fastest internet connections available in the UK. They’ll be investing to connect businesses and residents along the Fylde Coast and in the two Enterprise Zones. That will mean faster, better connections, and bring yet more investment to Blackpool.”

Network operator and CNI founding member, ITS has been quick to make use of this network to benefit local businesses who can now register their interest for gigabit capable broadband and connectivity services. Its network is already live in Blackpool town centre and its planned rollout will be completed during 2020.

Daren Baythorpe, CEO of ITS said: “Our network utilises CNI’s infrastructure, but we are also investing in, and laying additional full fibre cable so that even more premises can be connected to this fantastic network to benefit from gigabit services. We are already getting a lot of enquiries and we encourage businesses to register their interest as we will build to where there is demand. As a network operator, we work with our partners so that businesses can get the right services and best deals for their needs. We are providing an offer that caters for businesses and organisations of all sizes, shapes and connectivity budgets and we are delighted to be working with the local authorities to fulfil their full fibre vision for the area.”

Connecting with Fibre Blackpool means:

  • Fast reliable performance, no more buffering watching juddery videos or waiting for hours for films and music to upload
  • Hyperfast speeds to power your bandwidth hungry applications – it will handle anything you throw at it from Netflix, Office 365, gaming online, voice over telephony and payroll services
  • Competitively priced services to fulfil your individual requirements and premium services also available where a dedicated line is required

How do local residents and businesses benefit from the investment?

Gigabit vouchers, which are a one-off contribution to SMEs and residents, can be used by small businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit-capable connection.

  • Businesses can claim up to £2,500 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project.
  • Residents can benefit from the scheme with a voucher worth £500 as part of a group project.

Residents and businesses can access the voucher scheme by registering their interest with one of the suppliers involved in the FIBRE BLACKPOOL scheme who are working to deliver full fibre in the local area. The scheme is supplier-led which means suppliers will be requesting the voucher on behalf of their customers.

What’s full fibre?

The UK has more than 94% coverage for superfast broadband with speeds of 24 megabits per second or higher (in some areas Virgin is offering up to 500 Mb). However most superfast connections rely on copper telephone wires or TV cables from a box on the street to the home or place of business, which are limited in the speeds they can support, so for the fastest and most reliable broadband delivering gigabit speeds, a full fibre connection is required.

What’s a gigabit?

Gigabit broadband is an internet connection that offers speeds of 1 Gigabit per second (1Gb) or more
1 Gigabit = 1,000 Megabits so it’s a big leap in connection speeds
A 1GB service would allow you to download a HD film in seconds
Full fibre services are capable of being symmetrical – meaning the download and upload speeds are the same.

For more information and to register your interest with an active supplier working to deliver full fibre services in the local area, visit FIBRE BLACKPOOL

Enabling Better Broadband

Published 19 June 2019

New cables have to be laid first to enable connection. Work will start at the airport Monday 4th February, completion by May 2019. There will be low level traffic disruption as the majority of the work is on the verges, not the carriageway.

Blackpool Council is partnering with The Network People (TNP) to access the Local Full Fibre Network, available from 2020.

Benefits of the Multi-Million Pound Investment in Better Broadband and 5G Technology

Blackpool will connect to New York in under 0.06 seconds, digitally, via the next generation subsea fibre optic cable network.

It will link the USA with European Financial markets, giving Blackpool faster transatlantic internet connectivity than London.

The multi-million pound investment is being made by Aqua Comms, an Irish company and worldwide specialist in the building and operations of submarine cable systems. It’s hoped they will land the new fibre optic cable at a ‘meet me point’ at Blackpool Airport in September 2019.

Route of transatlantic 5G Fibre optic cable to Blackpool
Route of transatlantic 5G Fibre optic cable to Blackpool

It’s part of the North Atlantic Loop. It delivers a resilient, diverse, high capacity network connecting the USA (New York and New Jersey) with Ireland, the UK and Northern Europe. The planning application for the Meet Me station will be lodged with Blackpool Council planning department later this week (June 2019).

The science bit: This transatlantic system supports the needs of the Pan-Atlantic hyperscale providers. They underpin today’s international cloud industry for global carriers, cloud-based networks, internet service providers, data centres, IT companies and the global media.

5G Connectivity for Businesses and Residents

Blackpool is one of the first locations in the country to benefit from the multi-million pound investment to deliver the fastest, most reliable internet connection on the global market. It will be one of the first UK towns and cities to benefit from 5G technology*.

Click here and on the image to download and read the ‘Digital Blackpool’ brochure.

Digital Blackpool - bringing better broadband
Digital Blackpool – bringing better broadband

The council has secured £2.7m of government funding to upgrade and activate fibre optic cables that run the length of the coast’s tramline to Fleetwood. The funding has come from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Funding agreement (DCMS). 5G is fifth generation technology and the next step up for mobile phone and internet connections.

Digital Blackpool - a new tech town
Digital Blackpool – a new tech town

Digital Blackpool - a new tech town

New data centre for Blackpool
New data centre for Blackpool

Fylde Coast welcomes Celtix-Connect-2

Aqua Comms Chief Networks Officer, Andy Hudson said, “When the opportunity came for Aqua Comms to be involved in another cable build in the North Atlantic, we jumped at it. We worked with consortium partners Facebook, Google and Bulk Infrastructure, a data centre operator based in Norway to develop the cable system. We are building a new cable system across the Irish Sea called CeltixConnect-2 that will run into Blackpool then to Newcastle and Denmark and will create a series of ring-based structures between North America and Northern Europe called the North Atlantic Loop, providing high level security, flexibility and reliability.”

Leader of Blackpool Council, Cllr Simon Blackburn said, Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone is set to become one of the newest gateways on the North Atlantic Loop, perfectly positioned to tap into some amazing opportunities in the digital, creative and technology markets. Up until now they’ve not been available to us. The council is extremely excited by the competitive advantage and the economic possibilities that the new subsea cable opens up. We’re exploring all opportunities to maximise the ‘meet me point’ at the Enterprise Zone for the benefit of the local economy.”

Kate Shane, Head of Blackpool Cluster at Merlin Entertainments Group said, “This is a massive opportunity for the town. Blackpool is unique in lots of ways and there are many positive and exciting projects in the pipeline, but this new digital opportunity is a real game changer, placing Blackpool firmly on the map with a competitive edge over other locations in a fast-paced digital world.”

Unlocking Better Broadband

Cllr Simon Blackburn continues: “We are delighted to have secured a Government award which allows us to activate the fibre optic infrastructure which is already in place along the whole length of the tramway from Starr Gate to Fleetwood. It will connect into Hillhouse Technology Enterprise Zone in Thornton.

“Over the next two years this significant development will enable Blackpool to unlock a state-of-the-art fibre network for the benefit of both residents and business. It will also improve connectivity to public sector sites. The Fylde Coast, including the two Enterprise Zones and new Conference Centre, will get some of the fastest broadband in the UK. Businesses will reap the benefits of fast, resilient connectivity. It will support economic development and our drive to attract more inward investment into Blackpool.”

“The UK as a whole has less than 4% of properties served with full fibre connectivity (300Mbit+) so Blackpool would be at the forefront of being able to provide superior digital technology.

Serving 30,000+ properties

There are an estimated 30,000 properties within range of the fibre optic infrastructure. Working through a fibre-sharing co-operative, internet service providers will be able to build out the network to individual properties. Full fibre services from broadband co-operative members will be available from 2020. Local businesses will be able to register for DCMS Full Fibre Voucher Scheme to spend with broadband co-op members.”

*The Chancellor’s Spring Statement 2018 allocated the first wave of £95 million in funding. The cash goes to 13 successful bidders across the UK. They were:

  • Armagh City,
  • Belfast,
  • Blackpool,
  • Cambridgeshire,
  • Cardiff,
  • Coventry,
  • The Highlands,
  • London,
  • Manchester,
  • Mid Sussex,
  • North Yorkshire,
  • Portsmouth and
  • Wolverhampton.

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