Edinburgh’s digital future is happening now
Elaine Doherty, City Manager for Edinburgh, CityFibre
Connectivity has quickly become the watchword of the day. Businesses are demanding faster and more reliable connectivity as they compete in an increasingly global marketplace. In households, a proliferation of connected devices is putting increased strain on bandwidth. Councils and government realise its importance too.
The story is the same the world over – and Scotland is no different. Thankfully, we are on the cusp of a digital revolution. There is a clear drive to improve connectivity across the country and make our nation one of the best-connected places in the world. The reason is simple – by improving connectivity, we will be able to unlock Scotland’s full potential with the benefits felt across all aspects of society.
At the heart of the revolution is full fibre. Put simply, this connectivity offers the fastest and most reliable Gigabit-capable speeds and is the key to Scotland fulfilling its digital potential.
Fortunately, Edinburgh is ahead of the curve and businesses and residents are in prime position to reap the benefits of this ongoing technological revolution. CityFibre is investing at least £100 million to rollout citywide full fibre infrastructure, with services to residents available initially through a partnership with Vodafone.
Indeed, CityFibre is already serving businesses, schools, libraries and other community buildings across the city since 2015. We are now extending this next-generation network to reach almost every home and business in Edinburgh, transforming it into a true Gigabit City.
What is a Gigabit City? It is somewhere that provides residents, business, government, health and education sectors with state-of-the-art digital infrastructure, capable of meeting their data connectivity and communication needs for decades to come. This is not pie-in-the-sky thinking. Construction work is already underway in Balerno and Leith, with more areas of the city to follow in due course. And we are rolling out similar Gigabit City networks in Aberdeen and Stirling, with Glasgow and Inverness on the horizon.
Edinburgh was chosen as one of the first Scottish cities for good reason. It’s a city already known for a strong tech sector, with massive success stories like Fanduel and Skyscanner. The council is keen to embrace Smart City initiatives and is incredibly supportive of continued investment in digital infrastructure, having already seen the effect our existing network continues to have.
The network will also bring wider benefits to the city. According to a study by economic consultancy Regeneris, a full fibre network will have a huge impact in Edinburgh over a 15-year period. Businesses will see an increase in productivity and innovation to the tune of £187m, while housing wealth will rise by around £188m.
The full fibre network will allow residents to adopt ‘smart home’ tech, not only improving entertainment options but also transforming the ability to work at home and monitor loved ones’ health remotely. On a wider scale, this level of connectivity means local authorities can implement innovative technology, benefiting many areas, from intelligent transport and traffic management to public safety.
Edinburgh may have begun its Gigabit City journey in 2015 but the best is yet to come. We’ll be talking more about the art of the possible over the coming months, working with local stakeholders to understand the benefits of full fibre and the difference it will make to life across this great city.
In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about the project, please visit www.cityfibre.com/edinburgh. We regularly post updates across our social media channels too, so to receive the latest information, please follow us on Twitter @GigabitEdin.
Businesses can connect to Edinburgh’s existing full fibre network today at cityfibre.com/business