Telford and Wrekin Council has entered a 10-year partnership with Virgin Media O2 Business to strengthen the area’s digital infrastructure.
It will involve providing a full fibre network for over 200 council premises and other public buildings to obtain multi-gigabit connectivity, and lay the foundations for a further 12,000 premises to be connected to the company’s fixed network.
The deal will also provide in-kind connectivity to the local voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors, with ultrafast business broadband for up to 10 community organisations.
In addition, it includes efforts to improve digital inclusion in the area, with Virgin Media O2 funding a series of social value initiatives to support local residents most at risk of digital exclusion, and the creation of an inclusion fund.
Efforts will include a targeted apprenticeship scheme and work placements, and the provision of a digital learning fund for access to a range of training opportunities, targeted partly at care leavers.
Easier to do business
Cllr Rae Evans, Telford and Wrekin’s cabinet member for finance, governance and customer service, said: “This investment will see improved connectivity at council buildings, public offices, schools and libraries across the borough, making it easier for us to do business as a council, and easier for people to access our services online.
“At the heart of this partnership is a mission to support digitally excluded residents to get online more easily, and build the skills and confidence needed to do so, through funding and volunteering support, as well as offering apprenticeships and work placements.
“We know that this investment will have a real impact on the lives of people across Telford and Wrekin, and make sure that residents and business alike have access to fast, full fibre broadband, as we continue our commitment to protect, care and invest to create a better borough.”