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ITS Tech in 20 Year Deal for 100km Nottingham Fibre Broadband Network

Monday, August 15th, 2016 (11:12 am) - Score 628

The ITS Technology Group has today signed a new multi-million pound 20-year concession deal with Nottingham City Council, which gives them access to deploy superfast broadband services along an existing 17km fibre optic network that follows the local tram routes (this will be extended to 100km).

Nottingham is of course the hub city of Nottinghamshire in England and it’s also one that has become quite well known for its large network of local trams (aka – Nottingham Express Transit).

An interesting fact about the tram network is that when the local authority were building a 17km long extension to Clifton South and Toton Lane, they also had the foresight to add underground telecommunications infrastructure (cable ducts) along the routes (it’s significantly cheaper to add this as part of an existing project, rather than later on after everything is built on top).

The ITS Technology Group clearly saw this as a unique opportunity and have proposed to harness the network in order to help expand the availability of their faster broadband services to local businesses. The deal comes at no cost to the council by ensuring it recoups its “initial modest investment” (we’re not given any figures for this), as well as “guaranteeing” it an income over the life of the project.

Roy Shelton, CEO of ITS Technology Group, said:

“We are delighted to be part of this exciting concession agreement. We look forward to enhancing the digital lives of the businesses and communities that are based around Nottingham city centre. This type of infrastructure investment is essential to the development and regeneration of areas and is the fourth we have completed within the past 18 months to add to our 17 established networks across the UK.”

Apparently the new Highspeed Nottingham NETwork will, over the period of the agreement, eventually be extended to deliver up to 100km worth of fibre optic network, which should once again come at “no cost to the city council“.

Councillor Nick McDonald said:

“The City Council took the opportunity to put this vital infrastructure in place while work was underway on the new tramlines, minimising disruption and costs and allowing more local businesses to be connected to superfast broadband.

This is an exciting new initiative that will have important long-term benefits for the city’s business community and will maintain Nottingham’s position as the best connected city in the UK. Businesses need to keep pace with the rapid developments in internet technology, especially our fast-growing digital media and biotech sectors which are so important for Nottingham’s economic future.”

The new network, which is being managed and installed by ITS, will also be operated on an ‘Open Access‘ basis, which means that any ISP will be able to sign a deal “at a fair commercial rate” in order to make use of the new infrastructure for serving their customers.

Apparently ITS will focus the network on the high growth, Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) business market, which will include strategic sites along the tram route such as Ng2, Nottingham Science Park and Nottingham’s Enterprise Zone.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar John Kelly says:

    Nottingham have had little choice of highspeed broadband providers for many years, this I am sure will be a welcomed change to both businesses and consumers.

  2. Avatar measure twice, cut once. says:

    “when the local authority were building a 17km long extension to Clifton South and Toton Lane, they also had the foresight to add underground telecommunications infrastructure (cable ducts) along the routes”

    Its great that some local authorities have heard of this crazy concept of “foresight” but this seems to be the exception rather than the rule; however understandable given the likely average age of the committees who approve such projects…

    Perhaps the installation, or at least passive provision for, telecoms ducting should be a requirement for any infrastructure projects that get any sort of funds from regional or national sources, this would at very least help avoid the situations where taxpayers money is used by say BDUK projects to dig up roads/railways/tram-lines that were recently installed with another set of taxpayers money 🙂

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      There is a lot more consideration for this in new development contracts, as demonstrated by the new Network Rail upgrades. I’m not sure if everybody is following the Government’s guidance though.

    2. Avatar MikeW says:

      I recall this being brought up during consideration of HS2.

      The problem pointed out was that the UK isn’t really short of the long-distance fibre that could make use of long-distance infrastructure. It is the short-distance, local-access infrastructure) instead.

      From BT’s perspective, they’ve pretty much got fibre out from the exchange to most of the cabinets, so *their* problem is in the zero-2km (median<400m) that remains.

      For many other comms companies, their issue continues to include the first part of the access network – so something like the Nottingham NET3 extension can help there.

      But there is little hope of widespread infrastructure projects that dig up every street, that fibre installation can piggy-back, where the key acute problem lies.

  3. Avatar Nik Bridge says:

    Well done to NCC , great forward thinking ! It’s about time local authorities became more commercially driven working with the private sector to deliver on what BT and BDUK can’t!

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