£30m partnership brings full-fibre to Liverpool City

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The UK’s Liverpool City region is to benefit from a full-fibre, gigabit-capable network following the announcement by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram of a £30m partnership.

The move is designed to provide access to fast connectivity that will help grow some of the city region’s key growth sectors and ultimately lead to a £1bn boost to the local economy. NGE and ITS Technology, in partnership with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA), have been selected for the project. 

In its initial phase, ITS will create a 212km fibre backhaul network, using its ‘dig once’ approach, laying ducts while existing roadworks take place. By re-using existing infrastructure, disruption to road and public transport users is designed to be minimised. The network will initially connect three transatlantic cables and major economic clusters in each of the Liverpool City Region’s six local authority areas. Then, the digital infrastructure will be installed in carriageways, footpaths and cycleways over the next two years.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said of the project: ‘When I was elected, I made it a priority to make our region the most digitally connected anywhere in the country. Today we take a major step towards that, with the launch of this exciting partnership. Our region was at the heart of the first industrial revolution, and I believe that this project can help us be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, creating thousands of jobs and ultimately generating £1bn for the local economy. Local people and businesses will feel the benefits too – in the form of significantly faster speeds as well as the jobs and training opportunities, although the Government still needs to tackle the problem of digital exclusion. Best of all, it will all be 50 per cent owned by us so we can continue to reap the benefits for years to come.’

Cllr David Baines, digital connectivity and inclusion portfolio holder and leader of St Helens Council, added: ‘Being digitally connected is more important for our region than ever before so I am pleased we are moving at pace with this important work. This is a transformational project, one which will not only help our city region recover from Covid-19 but help us rebuild our economy better than before.’

Daren Baythorpe, CEO of ITS Technology Group, commented: ‘TS is delighted to be awarded this contract and be part of the team rolling out full-fibre across the Liverpool City Region. This programme will have a transformational effect for everyone in the region and we are excited to be playing a central role in its delivery. As shareholder partners in the Joint Venture we are proud to be contributing significantly to the tremendous growth in the digital economy of the region, and supporting national targets for full fibre access by 2033.’

Antoine Metzger, chairman of NGE, concluded: ‘NGE is proud to be part of the joint venture appointed to support the transformation of Liverpool City Region. Our local subsidiary - NGE Contracting - has won a project that will shape the city. Using labour and resources from within the Liverpool City Region, this project is also a fantastic opportunity to deploy our infrastructure development and finance expertise in cities across the UK such as Liverpool.’

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