Fibre rollout leaving English coast behind

Wed, 29/03/2023 - 15:46
Guy Miller

The lower penetration rate of fibre in England’s coastal communities threatens to see these areas fall across various socio-economic metrics, find the Coastal Communities Alliance.

Its research found that around 60 per cent of premises on the coast had access to gigabit broadband in 2022, approximately ten percentage points less than non-coastal areas.

“While providing gigabit-capable broadband to the majority is aspirational, it is highly unlikely to come to fruition in areas where establishing and maintaining the necessary infrastructure proves too expensive,” reads the report.

“Improving digital connectivity in coastal areas would align with the broader aims of Levelling Up and help improve pay, employment, productivity and global competitiveness, both in terms of businesses' digital operations and the uptake of working from home.”

Guy Miller, MS3 CEO, states that significant investments are needed from local businesses, councils and the Government to kick-start the revitalisation of these regions, with connectivity squarely in focus.

He said: “Some of these coastal communities have been long forgotten, but there’s no reason why they can’t catch up with the rest of the country.

“With the right investment and a push towards digitalisation, the coast is well on its way to enjoying the best of both worlds, whether it’s the wages and opportunities typically associated with urban areas further inland or the unique charm of the sea.”

MS3 is currently rollout out in Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Cleethorpes, providing more than 95,000 premises with full fibre connectivity.