CityFibre has appointed a new city manager for Southend-on-Sea as it prepares to start work on a £30m project that will see nearly every home and business benefit from a full fibre broadband network.

Southend-on-Sea has been chosen as one of the twelve first towns and cities to benefit from a strategic partnership between CityFibre and Vodafone, which will see full fibre connectivity reach one million UK homes and businesses by 2021.

Aideen Sadler has been appointed by CityFibre to spearhead delivery of the Southend-on-Sea project. As city manager, Aideen will be responsible for ensuring a state-of-the-art full fibre network is implemented with minimal disruption while delivering maximum benefit for the wider community.

A Southend resident for more than a decade, Aideen has long been immersed in the town’s business and enterprise community. She joins from the University of Essex, where she developed strategic partnerships with business to secure placements and other work experience for students, winning two awards for her work.

She has directed and encouraged tech start-ups including one on big data analytics and was a mentor for Essex Start-ups. She has a keen interest in digital skills and VR technologies. She is governor of a Southend school and has managed large scale employment contracts for the unemployed and those with long-term health conditions.

Aideen will be the lead point-of-contact for all the town’s stakeholders and will be a key advocate of the benefits that a full fibre network will bring to Southend-on-Sea’s residents and businesses.

Aideen said: “A state-of-the-art digital infrastructure plays a crucial role in growing and protecting local economies, so I’m delighted to be joining an organisation that is doing everything it can to transform cities across the country.

“There’s a great entrepreneurial spirit in Southend. I am proud that CityFibre is investing in our town; it really is a beacon of hope for our thriving start-up culture. This investment will contribute to making Southend a Gigabit City which means that both business’s and residents of Southend can avail of the fastest broadband in the UK. Technology is changing the way we do business and how we live our everyday lives, having this infrastructure in place will future proof our local economy.

“The benefits of full fibre connectivity are huge, not only to businesses but also residents. I’m looking forward to working in partnership with stakeholders from across Southend-on-Sea to ensure that we maximise all opportunities. At the same time, I’m determined to engage with our local communities and ensure that they are with us every step of the way and understand the difference that full fibre broadband can have now and in the future.”

With the full support of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, work on dramatically extending Southend-on-Sea’s full fibre network is expected to begin later this year. CityFibre will use modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly and manage disruption to residents. Once completed, nearly every home and business in the cities will have full fibre access.

Rob Hamlin, Commercial Director at CityFibre, added: “We are thrilled that Aideen has joined the team and will be using her experience to drive the Southend-on-Sea project forward and benefit all its residents and businesses.

“Our ‘fibre to the premises’ programme is going to be a game changer in Southend-on-Sea, and nobody is better placed than Aideen to drive home the message and help people discover more about the impact this investment will have on the town’s digital future.”

Andy Lewis, deputy chief executive at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “The extension of fibre to both residential and business premises is key to helping us deliver our Southend 2050 ambition and being a smart and connected place. We are very pleased that Aideen has been appointed to take this vital and exciting project forward and we look forward to working with her.”

To find out more about CityFibre’s Gigabit City vision for Southend-on-Sea and to discover career opportunities, visit: cityfibre.com/gigabit-cities/southend-on-sea

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