Stronger North East – Connected

Author - Marianne O'Sullivan

Date published:

As part of our connected North East commitment we campaign for investment in the region’s infrastructure ensuring that the region is connected both physically and digitally.  

We know that transport plays a key role in the North East connecting people to towns and city centres, education and job opportunities making the North region an attractive place in which to both invest and live.  

Our campaigning has achieved results such as our support for successful Metro fleet renewal bid, the redevelopment of Darlington station and Heathrow’s new runway, an important hub for our region. 

The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of digital connectivity. Everyone in our region must be able to rely on quality digital connectivity, with businesses supported to invest in new technology and upskilling staff which will help to increase productivity. 

During the pandemic we have been campaigning for support for our region’s airports to retain our international links so vital for investment and tourism. 

We have also been calling for investment to build on the region’s green infrastructure, including in sustainable transport and the energy sector. 

Case study – CityFibre 

Fast and reliable digital connectivity has become increasingly important to releasing the potential of our region. 

Chamber member CityFibre, the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, is installing reliable, full fibre networks across the North East, enabling homes to connect up to 45 times faster than average broadband speeds.  

With a current investment of over £250m building networks across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Middlesbrough and with Sunderland starting later this Summer, hundreds of thousands of people will soon have some of the best connectivity in the world. 

CityFibre has also recently formed a partnership with another Chamber member Thirteen Group, to connect 32,000 of its tenants to the Gigabit fibre network. 

Helen Ivison, Thirteen’s Asset Infrastructure Manager added: “We’re all using technology much more these days in our daily lives, at home, work and school. We also recognise how an improved digital experience can benefit the customer journey and that’s why at Thirteen, we’ve created MyThirteen, which provides customers with a convenient way to find and manage their home online all in one place.  

“We have no doubt that this exciting project will make a real difference to our customers now and those we attract in the future, and we look forward to continuing this partnership as CityFibre’s build enters the surrounding towns and cities.” 

Jason Legget, Regional Partnership Director for North East & Scotland for CityFibre said: “The demand for fast, reliable broadband is growing exponentially with many employees still working from home and more and more connected devices in our daily lives. Our current work is focussed on Newcastle, North Tyneside, Middlesbrough and Sunderland, then next year move on to Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland, Stockton, Gateshead and South Tyneside.”  

CityFibre works with local contractors IQA Elecnor based in Hebben and MAP Group in Stockton to construct the network. The full fibre network runs from dedicated fibre exchanges across the region using overhead telephone poles and underground ducts to link from its fibre network to individual premises. The project itself has created over 300 jobs both directly and in the supply chain. 

And the connectivity benefits will have a huge potential impact on the regional economy and business growth. Research by Regeneris commissioned by CityFibre for Newcastle shows over the next 15 years access to full fibre could unlock £22m in business productivity and innovation.  In addition, a further £22m could be driven from new start-ups and Smart City initiatives such as intelligent transport systems could add as much as £77m. 

Back to hub