Regional authorities told: superfast broadband can jump-start rural regeneration

Fibre optic strandsRepresentatives from local authorities and devolved assemblies learnt how superfast broadband can regenerate regional economies.

Sixty-five guests from regions spanning all the UK attended the event at BT Tower in London.

They heard presentations from senior BT executives, government agencies and small business leaders whose firms have benefitted from BT’s superfast broadband roll-out.

Liv Garfield, newly appointed chief executive of Openreach focussed on the need for regional authorities to partner with BT to extend the roll-out of superfast broadband to the ‘final third’ of communities which are outside the reach of BT’s £2.5bn investment in superfast broadband.

“The challenge of the final third is not a technology challenge, it’s a business model challenge,” she told the audience. “So we are working with groups all over the country to create business models that work – for them and for us.”

It’s widely understood that regional authorities will have a large part to play in executing this strategy. This was echoed by Graham Walker, government director for the UK Digital Champion, who challenged local authorities to take an integrated approach.

“You are absolutely crucial anchors in this,” he said. “These programmes work best where there is a sense of place around the activity.”

He added that regional authorities who take up the challenge will help to regenerate their local economies leading to increased prosperity.

View the presentations from the event as PDF documents.

Building tomorrow’s internet, today -  Liv Garfield, Group Director of Strategy, Policy and Portfolio BT
Exploiting NGA for public sector transformation  - Neil Rogers, President Government and Health BT Global Services
The BT-DETI NGB Project in Northern Ireland - Frank McManus, Head of Wholesale Sales and Service BT Ireland
Nigel Ashcroft - Project Director, Cornwall Development Company
Energy Assessments Northern Ireland