Huge economic potential to be unlocked by gigabit-speed full fibre broadband roll-out in Southend-on-Sea, study shows

Southend-on-Sea is set for a multi-million-pound windfall from full fibre infrastructure investment, according to an economic impact report.

CityFibre, in strategic partnership with Vodafone, is set to extend gigabit-speed full fibre broadband to almost every home and business in Southend.

Economic consultancy Regeneris examined how Southend and other communities are likely to benefit from this type of infrastructure investment over the next 15 years.

They calculated the economic growth unlocked by CityFibre’s network roll-out could be valued at hundreds of millions of pounds over the period.

For example,they found Southend’s homeowners and the wider property market could expect a welcome boost of £93m in real terms value, as access to reliable, high-speed broadband becomes ever-more critical to housebuyers.

Smart City initiatives including home automation technologies, smart energy networks and intelligent transportation systems could add as much as £31m locally too. Digital enhancements in the delivery of healthcare services could also be worth around £10m.

The town’s business community stands to benefits enormously as well. Access to gigabit-speed full fibre connectivity could unlock £24m in business productivity and innovation. With full fibre, companies will be able to develop and promote new, richer products and services online and benefit from greater exposure to the international marketplace.

Southend is already known for its high level of entrepreneurship activity as well as its established med tech sector, and this could receive an additional boost through new start-up activity with a potential value of £15m. What’s more, the increased ability for companies to support flexible working could also add £14m in value, by reducing barriers to work as well as improving employees’ work-life balance, motivation and retention.

Simon Hooton – director at Regeneris – said: “Full fibre will provide the core infrastructure required to kick start the next generation of digital technology and drive the expansion of smart infrastructure in towns and cities. The result will be a modernised, more productive and innovative UK economy.”

Southend-on-Sea is ideally positioned as one of the first locations to benefit from CityFibre and Vodafone’s strategic partnership which aims to bring the fastest, most reliable full fibre broadband to nearly every home and business in Southend. Across the UK, CityFibre is working to deliver full fibre to five million UK homes and business by 2025.

Aideen Sadler, CityFibre’s City Manager for Southend-on-Sea, said: “With a new full fibre network being built beneath its streets, Southend is a forerunner of digital transformation in the UK. This report demonstrates that the city is set to enjoy huge economic benefits as a result of this roll-out. This is about more than just broadband, it is about the digital infrastructure set to power our economy for decades to come.”

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