Innovation and changeDigital TransformationMilton Keynes pushing for digital growth

Milton Keynes pushing for digital growth

As Milton Keynes celebrates its 50th year, city stakeholders gathered to discuss the digital future of their city and what’s next for Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes’ business chiefs and city stakeholders are urging local businesses to embrace the city’s status as one of the UK’s best connected locations in a bid to drive digital growth across the city and attract new talent and investment.

The call follows a recent roundtable gathering chaired by alternative infrastructure provider CityFibre where professionals were asked to share their digital ambitions for Milton Keynes and discuss how a transformation into a Gigabit City could overcome the challenges presented by the cities aging communications infrastructure.

The event placed CityFibre’s investment in the city’s 160km full fibre network under the spotlight, highlighting its real potential to support business growth and competitiveness, attract start-ups and investment and underpin city-wide developments such as smart-city infrastructure, public Wi-Fi and mobile upgrades.

Chairman of the event, Marc Lough, City Development Manager at CityFibre said: “Milton Keynes is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, and if it reaps the benefits of the full-fibre connectivity we’ve invested in beneath its streets, this trend is set to continue. “In fact, Milton Keynes has the potential to become a key driving force in the UK’s digital revolution – the National Infrastructure Commission has already identified the city as the ideal future home of the UK’s Silicon Valley. Businesses and community leaders need to act now by making fibre the standard in MK and embracing its Gigabit City status.”

Alongside attendees were a host of groups who represent the business community in Milton Keynes, including Simon Dishman from Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce who said: “A quarterly economic survey from the Chamber of Commerce highlights 89 per cent of businesses believe digital connectivity is critically important so we know there’s a high level of awareness amongst businesses.”

Highlighting transport around MK, Yvette Lamidey, Chairman at FSB Milton Keynes and North Bucks explained: “We are working on having an app for public transport; we are reliant on the growth of MK for attracting people to come here, live and work so it’s important that our connectivity is on a par with other great connected locations.”

This was supported by Chris Brown, Business Innovation Manager at Transport Catapult: “A big question we face is how do we move from A to B without owning a car? Connectivity will be the backbone of transport services.”

Highlighting the importance of growing skills in MK, Gayle Parker, Head of Business Services at SEMLEP added: There is a need to increase digital skill sets across the area. We’re looking at tackling the digital skills shortage as 50 per cent of small business owners are still not online, we want to help change this.”

Managing Director at dbfb, Simon Pickering added: “As we move to the cloud and embrace new technologies, existing infrastructure will not cope with the increased demand as we drive into the future. Mobile data will get saturated very quickly so now is the time for businesses to really get behind the ambitions of our city to drive the digital revolution.”

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