by Jean Gowin – City Development Manager – Milton Keynes
With Milton Keynes’ full fibre transformation well underway, I want to talk about the impact ultrafast connectivity will have on our city and what changes we can expect to see in our daily lives.
According to a new report, Milton Keynes could be in for a multi-million pound windfall. Sounds great doesn’t it?
The study by economic consultancy Regeneris examined how the economy is likely to benefit from ubiquitous full fibre connectivity, quantifying its impact on the city over a 15-year period.
Homeowners across the city and the wider property market can expect to reap huge rewards. Up to £119m could be added to the value of local homes, as access to reliable, high speed broadband becomes ever-more critical to buyers. This is great news as construction work has already begun in locations across the city as part of our £40 million investment to expand the city’s full fibre digital infrastructure. Homes and businesses across Milton Keynes will benefit from the expansion project – the first to be announced as part of our strategic partnership with Vodafone to provide ultrafast full fibre broadband to at least one million UK homes and businesses by 2021. With all eyes on Milton Keynes’ digital transformation, now is a great time to consider the role connectivity plays in our lives and communities and the applications we can expect to enjoy as residents of one of the world’s best-connected cities.
Home is where the heart is and connectivity can only help bring us closer together. Yes, we all feel guilty about looking at our phones a little too often and we’ve all glued our eyes to our TV screens to binge watch our favourite TV shows. While we all have our technology vices, it’s also clear that it has a positive impact on our lives.
Full fibre connectivity is a real enabler for technology; it allows us to do things smarter, faster and more efficiently. It’s time for us to change the conversation we’re having around technology and think about the great ways we interact with it. We all like to enjoy our favourite shows and movies together, and with ultrafast connectivity, the latest HD blockbuster can be downloaded in 8.5 minutes instead of 6 hours. You can stream content almost instantly and with a more reliable connection, there’s less buffer time too. Now that’s a great excuse to get the family together for a movie night.
What about communication? We all like to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues living in different towns and even countries, and technology can help us spend quality time with our nearest and dearest at the touch of a button through apps like Skype.
The Regeneris report also highlights that Smart City initiatives – including home automation technologies, smart energy networks and intelligent transportation systems – could add as much as £109m in benefits locally too. So let’s have a think about the Internet of Things (IoT). Wouldn’t it be great to save more time on our daily tasks with smarter homes? Intelligent homes can help us wake up on time, manage our refrigerators to minimise waste, control room temperature and lighting, improve energy efficiency and help us save time, effort and money so we can focus on what really matters to us. Full fibre connectivity brings IoT to life, providing the high-capacity connection required for products to work. I certainly like the idea of having my alarm clock tell my coffee pot to be ready and waiting for me every morning.
With city-wide connectivity, smart city initiatives such as autonomous vehicles and intelligent traffic detection become a reality. Milton Keynes was the first city in the UK to trial driverless vehicles, so the next step could easily be smart traffic lights that detect congestion and alter patterns to ease traffic flow. Again, full fibre infrastructure underpins these initiatives. Now it’s time to get down to business.
Research from Regeneris also shows that access to full fibre connectivity in MK could unlock £57m in business productivity and a further £62m in Innovation by helping local businesses boost their customer and employee experience through newer, faster and more reliable technology. For example, more businesses are moving their services and data to the cloud, as well as using it for apps and hosting which both make quality connectivity essential. The speed and bandwidth capabilities of full fibre internet also means faster access to data and smoother running of applications stored on the cloud.
A further £55m 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. The increased ability for companies to support flexible working could also add £50m. This will not only help to reduce barriers to work, but improve employees’ work-life balance, which, in turn, improves motivation and retention.
Increasing employee productivity is high on the agenda of most organisations and Ofcom research highlights more than half of businesses feel they would benefit from better connectivity. With data usage and web traffic rapidly increasing, great connectivity is now vital for the future. Home working finally becomes a reality thanks to full fibre connectivity too, and although we love to talk about the benefits of speed, we know reliability if essential for those working from home. Fibre is significantly more reliable than outdated copper networks. It’s stronger, quicker and less susceptible to weather conditions. What’s more, fibre signals do not degrade or disappear due to electromagnetic interference, meaning your business can still work with construction going on.
With our daily lives enriched by new technologies and the city’s business community poised to benefit enormously from full fibre connectivity, all eyes are on Milton Keynes – and so they should be – we’ve got a very bright future ahead.
To find out more about the Gigabit City infrastructure in Milton Keynes visit: www.cityfibre.com/mk or follow @gigabitmk