Guest blog by Councillor Scott Farmer, Leader of Stirling Council, who spoke at a CityFibre Stirling event on January 30th.  

CityFibre and Vodafone represent a significant Strategic Partner with Stirling Council, in realising our ambitions of the City being recognised as an economic and cultural powerhouse.

We aim to unlock transformational economic growth potential, underpinned through Stirling becoming the first Gigabit City in the U.K. Through gold standard full fibre connectivity, Stirling aims to be at the forefront of digital innovation. This will create the catalyst to build on our Stirling City Region Deal investments, in energising our ambitious Digital District plans in partnership with Codebase in embracing digital opportunities placing us as the leading city in digital innovation.

The applications and benefits of Gigabit speed internet connectivity are almost endless and provide a significant comparative advantage for our SME sector and inward investment potential. Here at the Engine Shed an example of a perfect marriage of the old and the new. Well known for its history, significance and importance to the rail industry in the local area, now transformed into a multi-layered visitor centre that also hosts the National Conservation Centre for Historic Environment Scotland’s traditional skills training, “Utilising State of the Art Digital Technologies.” A way to look at the future by building on and developing the past.  So where better to come to celebrate the Strategic Partnership between Stirling Council and CityFibre and Vodafone in facilitating a significant step change in our economic potential.

This competitive advantage will drive opportunities across our City Regional Deal through the Digital District, Aqua Culture at our University and through to Culture and Tourism.

Our aim is the creation of opportunity through the lens of inclusive growth that critically underpins our ambitions. Enhanced digital connectivity can create the platform where we can effectively challenge inequalities and social exclusion. Through tackling the attainment gap through bespoke e-learning techniques and remote lessons in schools colleges and universities across both urban and rural Stirling.

Also in talking health inequalities there is significant potential in tele- care and person centred approaches in digital solutions.

Stirling Council and CityFibre are exploring a pilot in this area.

Major infrastructure works cannot be achieved without a degree of disruption and Stirling Council and CityFibre are working collaboratively in developing communications and community engagement sessions to keep our residents as informed as possible.

Finally I look forward to leading the first Gigabit City in the U.K. as work progresses.

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