Work to transform Barnsley into one of the world’s best digitally connected towns has kicked off.

Barnsley is celebrating a major milestone in its digital transformation today as work begins on a full fibre network which will reach almost every home and business locally.

As part of a £32m private investment from CityFibre, Barnsley will benefit from the town-wide full fibre network roll-out with construction now underway in the Redbrook area of the town.

According to research from economic consultancy Regeneris, full fibre connectivity will have a major impact in Barnsley over the next 15 years. It shows that up to £21m could be added to the value of local homes, while Smart City initiatives could add as much as £35m locally. Access to full fibre could also unlock £22m in business productivity and innovation, while a further £14m 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.

Contractor nmcm PLC 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, Barnsley 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.

Natalie Ward, CityFibre’s City Manager for Barnsley, said: “CityFibre is leading the charge in South Yorkshire when it comes to delivering gigabit-capable broadband and Barnsley is next in line to reap the benefits of this transformative technology.

“As we’ve all seen this year, digital technology is increasingly important for maintaining connections. Full fibre will help to make that simpler than ever while enabling smart home technology and allowing people to work from home with ease. It will also play a pivotal role in growing and protecting the local economy, supporting businesses as they implement digital solutions.”

Matthew Gladstone, Executive Director of Place at Barnsley Council, said: “We welcome this private investment by CityFibre into Barnsley to deliver a modern, fit-for-purpose digital infrastructure that will futureproof residents and businesses. CityFibre’s full fibre network will be vital in ensuring Barnsley has a resilient and dynamic economy for years to come and we look forward to working with them as they begin the build in the new year.”

Councillor Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Culture, added: “This investment in digital infrastructure from CityFibre represents not just a multimillion investment but an additional multimillion-pound opportunity for businesses and individuals across Barnsley.”

Currently, fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) is only available to around 16 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 full fibre network is not yet live, but once activated, services will be available from an increasing range of broadband providers.  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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