Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Broadband Connectivity in Leicester - Feedback from Businesses Sought

I’ve been invited to attend a City Council hosted workshop called “Leicester’s Digital Future” on Wednesday 10th October and would like to have input from Leicester's business community about broadband and other Internet connectivity in the city.

Text of the invite:-

"This issue is clearly vital to the prosperity of the City and of all our citizens. New technologies and capacities have the power to radically impact on how our public services are organised and delivered and on private sector competitiveness. Whilst our city has benefited in the past from quality infrastructure, we need now to be thinking collectively about our futures. The session will cover how current government policy to encourage superfast broadband etc may impact on the city and the county. It will review current broadband provision within the city, note the pipeline investment anticipated, take the temperature from the business community on this issue and start to discuss how the city might benefit from advances in new technologies. It is hoped that a specific outcome will be some ideas for how we need to organise ourselves across both across the public, private and voluntary sectors."

My initial thoughts, based partly on my experience with running web development agency Ultimateweb, are as follows:-
  1. In terms of standard broadband the city centre isn't too bad - agree?
  2. Some outlying suburbs struggle to get good broadband speeds.
  3. Rural areas often have very poor coverage which could affect the ability for city-based firms to sell services that rely on fast connections.
  4. Is poor broadband putting off inward investment (cf. residential broadband being a consideration for home buyers)?
  5. Will wire/cable delivered broadband will become obsolete in the near future? Would it be better to concentrate on getting the next generation of wireless/4G/SuperWiFi connectivity?
  6. Is city-wide free WiFi like Swindon attempted anything more than a gimmick?
  7. Is the city too reliant on a small number of incoming backbone pipes? Are we resilient or are we too reliant on pipes to London, etc?
  8. What are the likely digital services that businesses and their customers will use in the future and what sorts of capacities will they require?
  9. Why did Leicester miss out on the Everything Everywhere 4G rollout when smaller cities such as Derby & Hull are getting it? Are we lobbying effectively for early access to new Internet connectivity services?
If good Internet connectivity is essential to your business and you have any strong feelings about this issue then please get in touch or leave comments below.