Virgin Media’s business arm has announced that it plans to offer 2Gbps ultrafast broadband to a number of Derby companies.
Up to 150 small to medium businesses in the East Midlands city will be able to order the new services as part of the Connect Derby initiative.
The new bleeding edge broadband connections will allow firms to engage in HD video conferencing, instant messaging between multiple devices and store large files in the cloud.
The plan is to turn Derby into a tech hub for start ups and new businesses from across the Midlands and further afield. Given the recent shuttering of Digital Region in South Yorkshire and the ongoing problems, some businesses might want to up sticks and head to Derby.
Andy Fisk, director of public sector at Virgin Media Business, said: “In the heart of Derby, this is about giving local businesses access to the very best technology at a cost they can afford, helping them achieve their ambitions faster.
“SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy, so it’s critical that we give them the digital capabilities they need to grow and succeed. Getting these tools and infrastructure in place will play a critical part in maintaining the UK’s digital advantage and supporting our economic recovery.”
Virgin Media hasn’t detailed exactly when it will start rolling out the new connections but rates, which include phone and broadband services will start at £200/month.
Derby City Council has invested more than £1.2 million in super-connected internet connectivity for up to 150 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), boosting Derby’s position as a tech hub in the UK.
The initiative forms part of Connect Derby, an exciting £14.2m scheme, which sees Derby City Council’s primary managed workspaces come together under one banner in a project to create jobs for local people.
Councillor Martin Rawson, Deputy Leader of Derby City Council and Cabinet Member for Planning, Environment and Regeneration, said: “Derby City Council is actively supporting the city’s jobs agenda and supporting new enterprise by creating an environment where they can grow, thrive and sustain themselves.
“To our knowledge, no other local authority scheme offers such a high level of economic regeneration and job creation, backed by developmental support and digital communication.
“Connect is set to generate jobs across the city and will also provide existing SMEs with a wider skill set to employ, which is a very positive move for the city as a whole.”
It’s currently not known if Virgin Media will use FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) – as it’s currently doing in rural Cambridgeshire – or if it will use HFC (Hybrid Fibre Cable), the technology it currently uses to deliver broadband to most of it’s customers, instead.
Trials have shown that Virgin’s cable network can deliver gigabit broadband and it’s already mooted plans to extensively upgrade its cable network.
Labour party activists recently called for gigabit broadband to be rolled out to all UK properties by 2020 and for tech hubs like Connect Derby to be able to access 10Gbps services by the same time frame.