July 2018 Breakfast Briefing

Date: 10 Jul 2018

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Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership Breakfast Briefing – July 2018

In the next three years the current way in which we use landlines will change, and nearly all calls will be made over the internet, but the current broadband infrastructure of Milton Keynes will not be able to support this. This was the stark warning from communication business, dbfb, CEO, Simon Pickering at the recent MKBLP breakfast briefing.

Challenging BT, who just two months ago addressed the same business leaders audience and reported that Milton Keynes should be on the ‘list’ for full fibre connectivity, Mr Pickering questioned whether by 2021, when the current old-fashioned copper wire system Milton Keynes currently relies on for broadband  BT will have delivered on this vague statement. “Thirteen  years ago, the Government gave BT £2 billion to rollout ‘super fast fibre’ connectivity across the UK, but that roll out is still not finished .” 

Dubbed broadband’s ‘Forgotten City’ Milton Keynes is, according to reports, the third worst connected city in the UK. Couple this with the fact that the UK is currently 35th in the world broadband speed league, trailing well behind our European counterparts, the future could look bleak for a city which boasts one of the UK’s fastest growing economies.

With over 10,000 companies choosing to re-locate to Milton Keynes over recent years, and its growing reputation for innovation and technology, can the new ‘Smart’ city live up to its name if it isn’t underpinned by an equally smart infrastructure? No, according to Mr Pickering; “we will come to a grinding halt.”

Mr Pickering went onto explain that, currently, there is a revolution happening. “Broadband is a foundation, like building a house, and we need a strong foundation to build our businesses upwards. Technology is moving at a scary speed and it is critical that we get the foundation right.”

In a defiant move against BT, however, the news that CityFibre and Vodaphone have just invested £40 million into Milton Keynes, will undoubtedly leave businesses sighing with relief. “While BT are still deciding on when to come to Milton Keynes, Vodaphone and CityFibre are already here….and they are digging. They will be ready for the 2021 deadline.”

Two years ago, fibre network specialist, CityFibre’s goal was to go to cities outside of London and revolutionise their broadband infrastructure. Testament to their commitment in delivering communication technology services to Milton Keynes, dbfb invested £2 million in a partnership with CityFibre which would see the roll out of a ultra fast fibre network across the city over the next three years. 

Putting it into context, Mr Pickering went on to explain how fast the download speeds are of the fibre-optic cable networks. “Using our current digital infrastructure, a video download took me 4 hours, but with CityFibre this was reduced by almost 200% to just 33 seconds!”

Consequently, by 2021, fibre for the home and business will be in across the whole of Milton Keynes with ultrafast gigabyte speed.

Dr Philip Smith MBE, Chairman of MKBLP, questioned whether, by 2021, Milton Keynes will be on par with the rest of Europe? The resounding answer from Mr Pickering was yes. “We are future proofing our businesses as we speak. Undoubtedly, technology will change over the next five years, but once the network is in the ground we don’t need to dig again, we can simply blow more fibre through it.”

Just 12 months ago we were labelled the third worst connected city in the UK, but I am pleased to say, that is changing. There are a lot of new entrants to the market, which was previously dominated by BT, and now the race is on, which means more speed for a better price.”

“Ultimately, we live in a global world and we have to be able to use the global tools available to us, so getting the infrastructure right is absolutely vital to delivering success.”

Mr Pickering also announced that dbfb are now registered suppliers of the Government’s new Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to help businesses in Northampton and Milton Keynes go ultra-fast with full fibre broadband, enabling them to get the necessary infrastructure in place. With no upfront costs the vouchers are worth up to £3,000 per business.

For further information on this, and dbfb, please visit https://www.dbfb.co.uk