Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has agreed a £3.24m deal for the provision of a 50km “future-proof” dark-fibre network connecting 120 key public-sector sites.
The 10-year contract with fibre-optic infrastructure designer, builder and operator CityFibre will give the authority the capacity to upgrade existing connectivity between schools, colleges, and council offices currently served by legacy BT Openreach connections.
CityFibre said the network would give scalable ultrafast connectivity that would underpin Southend’s digital strategy, and allow it to deliver cost-effective and efficient digital public sector services in addition to fostering business growth and inward investment.
According to the firm, the services potentially available to Southend’s 6,000 businesses would be “vastly superior” to those used by businesses elsewhere and would provide a “huge competitive advantage” for the borough.
It added that mobile masts could be connected to the network to enable upgrades to 4G and 5G services, while the network could provide a backbone for fibre-to-the-home deployment.
CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch said Southend’s decision to push ahead with the network was a vote of confidence in the borough’s digital future on the part of the local authority.
“Southend demonstrates many of the key indicators of success,” he said.
“It has a forward thinking council with an ambitious digital strategy and the appetite to become a leading example of a smart city, while its business community is growing and is increasingly demanding best-in-breed connectivity options.”
CityFibre has major networks in more than 30 UK towns and cities and is delivering “Gigabit City” networks like that planned for Southend in Aberdeen, Bristol, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Peterborough, and York.