Work to transform Reading into one of the world’s best digitally connected towns kicks off today.

Reading is celebrating a major milestone in its digital transformation today as work begins to extend its full fibre network to reach almost every home and business locally.

As part of a £58m private investment from CityFibre, Reading will benefit from a town-wide full fibre network roll-out, building on its existing network footprint in the city.

According to research from economic consultancy Regeneris, full fibre connectivity will have a major impact in Reading over the next 15 years. It shows that up to £85m could be added to the value of local homes, while Smart City initiatives could add as much as £67m locally.

Meanwhile, access to full fibre could also unlock £85m in business productivity and innovation, and a further £33m in growth could be driven from new business start-ups, with enhanced connectivity making it easier and less expensive to set up base and run efficiently.

Construction work has officially commenced in Reading’s Norcot and Battle area, with the rest of the town set to follow. Instalcom is delivering the construction programme on CityFibre’s behalf, using modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly.

The team is also working closely with CityFibre, Reading Borough Council and local communities to manage disruption and ensure a fast and successful roll-out.  Residents are being kept informed by mailings ahead of works in their streets.

Stacey King, CityFibre’s City Manager for Reading, said: “Reading’s digital future is just around the corner. With work now underway, that is something to be celebrated. Full Fibre broadband will help households access all the latest entertainment at lightning speed, but the benefits are far deeper than that – from enabling smart home technology to giving people the freedom to work and learn from home with ease.

“The investment also comes at a critical time for Reading’s forward-thinking business community. Next generation Full Fibre connectivity can drive innovation and productivity, ultimately giving businesses the platform they need to realise their growth ambitions. And it won’t just improve business locally – it will also help businesses take their products or services to an international audience.”

Cllr Jason Brock, Leader at Reading Borough Council said: “We welcome this private investment by CityFibre into Reading to deliver a modern, fit-for-purpose digital infrastructure that will futureproof residents and businesses. Reading Borough Council continues to work closely with the private sector to facilitate economic growth and CityFibre’s investment in our town is a welcome vote of confidence in the resilience of Reading’s economy.”

Currently, fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) is available to less than 20 per cent of premises across the UK. It is revered as the best in connectivity for its speed, near unlimited bandwidth and reliability. By using fibre optic cables for every stage of the connection from the customer’s home or business to the Internet, users will be offered a significantly superior and more reliable broadband service, capable of Gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps).

The network is not yet live but once activated, services will be available from an increasing range of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), including Giganet, to deliver next generation broadband services.

Residents interested in connecting to full fibre broadband can pre-register their interest at cityfibre.com/residential and will receive information when services are available.

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