Kirklees, the place to make it

At the recent Kirklees Business Conference, delegates hailed the area as a great place to live and work. Here, Steve Moore, City Manager at CityFibre, explains how full fibre could build on its appeal.

With its thriving creative culture, coupled with a world-renowned reputation for manufacturing and innovation, Huddersfield and the wider Kirklees area has long been established as an attractive location for businesses and residents alike.

This is an exciting time for Kirklees, a region that is set to reap the benefits of one of the biggest investment programmes in its history. Overseen by Kirklees Council, a planned £150 million investment into its transport network, £45 million into town centres across the region, as well as a commitment to deliver 10,000 new homes across the district by 2023 is contributing to this buzz of activity.

It’s no coincidence that Huddersfield is also one of the most digitally forward-thinking towns in the UK. Since 2016, it has boasted a 52km next-generation full fibre infrastructure, which is dramatically accelerating the digital capabilities of businesses, the local council, schools, libraries and community centres alike by delivering gigabit-speed, high capacity internet connectivity.

Now, with £30 million private investment from CityFibre, we’re working with the council to extend the network across the whole town, bringing modern, fit-for-purpose infrastructure within reach of even more businesses, as well as residents for the first time. We are  committed to making Huddersfield into one of the best connected locations, nationally and globally.

Full fibre connectivity will mark an important part of the wider investment project in Huddersfield. It is well documented for its positive impact on local economies. According to research by economic consultancy Regeneris, access to gigabit-speed full fibre could unlock £18m in business productivity and innovation in Huddersfield over a period of 15 years.

A further £11m could be driven from new business start-ups, with enhanced connectivity making it easier and less expensive to set up base and run efficiently. Residents can expect to benefit too, with the value of homes across the town predicted to increase by a total of £26m in the same period as internet speed becomes an increasingly important factor for prospective property buyers, adding as much as 5% on to home values.

Looking towards the future, full fibre will play an integral role in supporting technology and bandwidth requirements for Huddersfield’s smart city initiatives, positioning the town well ahead of the curve for the Government’s 2033 target for full fibre coverage across the UK.

Ultimately the project, due to be completed by 2021, is set to enhance Huddersfield’s standing as a globally competitive digital location, transforming the online world at home, increasing productivity and driving economic growth by creating new jobs and enticing further inward investment.

In the year ahead, we want to work with as many organisations as possible to raise awareness of our plans for Huddersfield and ensure everyone understands the long-term importance of reliable, gigabit-speed and limitless capacity broadband.

With access to a market of over 7 million people within a one-hour drive, 300,000+ highly skilled graduates right on its doorstep and soon one of the best digital infrastructures on the planet, the future is bright for Huddersfield. Kirklees really is the place to make it.